Aug 7, 2006

You learn to expect things. Sometimes, and more to the point, you learn to not expect things. it's a unique brand of presumptiousness that leads to habitual interpretations and a some interesting surprises. And ofcourse, assumptions. And you know what they say about assumptions.

At it's most base leve, I have this reaction. I've commented on it before, like when I see a ludicrously obvious sign or hear a direction that too explicitly states what I feel is implicit. When someone states the obvious, one might say. My reaction is somewhere between amusment that anyone needs to be told to not take a U-turn on a one way bridge, or frustation that someone, somewhere along the way, has deliberately misunderstood the no smoking sign by lighting something..else...on fire, thus leading to a no CIGARATTE SMOKING sign. You get it. Some things, you'd like to think, don't require direction, signage, clarifiction. Somewhere between respect and a functional IQ these realities can be sussed out on their own. Which is to say, when I see a stupid sign, I assume that something even dumber has led up to it's posting.

But it goes...deeper. Every once in a while someone asks me a question or clarifies a behavior that leads me to a similar conclusion: that someone, somewhere along the way, was non-plussed by behavior that I barely take note of. Like when someone asks if I mind if they share this very large bench with me. Or when my boss apologizes for not including me in meeting I clearly have no interest or use for. Or...more personal things.

And the thing is: sometimes, really, it's sad, because we've come to this.

Now here is the real kicker. the place in which I suddenly realize I am wrong wrong wrong, which is good for me. which I need.
Understand: I'm fairly easy going and don't tend to assume personal affront. More to the point I worked in mental health for a while and the general presumption that it's not all about me has really been...driven in, But, suddenly, I realize, that this... has led to a certain callousness, a certain snobbery in this arena. He apologizes for not saving me a seat and I think 'crap, do his other friends care when he doesn't save a seat in a half full theater" and I miss the point. She tells me she normally would have called to confirm and I assure her thats silly and I miss the point. They wait for me find my keys and to open the door and I am surprised that people still do that and I miss the point. He asks if I mind if he goes and says hello to a friend and I think "crap, I can be left alone" and I miss the point. The point in which they are being courteous. The point in which they are,in fact, exhibiting a far too rare courtesy. The point in which they might be telling me that it's not so much that they altered their behavior to acommodate the sensitive, so much as they bothered to become sensitive themselves. And the real I miss is the point in which maybe I should question the last time I saved someone a seat or called to confirm or waited from someone to open their door or apologized for leaving my friend, alone, with a drink, and without the slightest concern or clarification that they are alright with this behavior.

I'd like to formally apologize to Miss Manners and my mother. And to thank you. You. You know who you are.

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