City pride likes to lure its arrogant face in the strangest ways.
Today I was at The North Market, standing in line behind two big guys: 6'3, 300 pounds and scraggly hair 10 inches past the shoulder. They were wearing OSU Buckeyes shirts (naturally), they had tattoos up and down every arm, and they were wearing Cowboy hats. (Yes, cowboy hats.) In my mind I could hear my snarky little voice say, "These guys must be in for the fair".
The line was rather long, and I assumed the duo would take up all the cashier's time asking questions like, "Hair-o-cot Ferts? Is that how you say them things 'haricot verts' there?" But, to my bewilderment, it was nothing of the sort. One of the cowboys politely ordered the Portobello Salad, to which the cashier replied that they had sold out of that item. With such eager propriety, he then responded, "Oh, it's of no concern to me! Not at all! Instead, may I please have the Turchini Chicken? I'd also prefer onions over my shawarma, if that's alright. If it's not inconvenient, may I also have green tea with my meal please? And lastly, my good friend here would love to try your hummus--we hear it's just absolutely to die for!"
Wide-eyed. Astonished. Thunderstruck. I felt such a sense of humiliation, too. Here I am passing judgment on these two potbellied cowboys--you two must be lost and looking for the fair--and yet they turn out to be polite, knowledgeable and completely destructive towards stereotypes and conventions. I've never seen anything like it.
I ate on the outside patio, and when I saw them walk out to their car, they no doubt hopped into a large SUV, Built Ford Tough. I'm really not sure the lesson in this story, but I'm certainly walking away from it proud of my city for its ability to amalgamate the most bizarre unions in world. I'm also walking away learning not to be so quick to judge.