Some­times I get the feel­ing that peo­ple just don’t read me right… or maybe I don’t read them. It seems to me that peo­ple feel okay say­ing incred­i­bly rude things to me– things that they don’t expect to come out as rude, how­ev­er when it hap­pens they seem com­plete­ly sur­prised by their choice of words. I don’t get it.

For exam­ple, when I was work­ing at an inter­net ser­vices firm last year, upon shak­ing a clien­t’s hand, he remarked some­thing like “Jesus, what are you, still in col­lege? This looks like the B‑team. You look 18.” To which his part­ner remarked, “more like 14, Jim”. Nice to meet you two, I’ll be the per­son you’ll be speak­ing with on a dai­ly basis for the next 4 months. I mean, I was wear­ing an expen­sive brand-name suit and I even part­ed my hair which is some­thing I nev­er ever do. I thought I looked the part.

Now, this week­end, I final­ly met Kate, some­one I’ve known online from time to time. She was vis­it­ing from dc with her sis­ter, so pres, dan­no and I met them for cof­fee. The whole thing was weird before we even got there for rea­sons that I real­ly don’t want to get into. And so we met, and sat and pro­ceed­ed to chat for about an hour. Now, admit­ted­ly I was a bit with­drawn most­ly due to my mood ear­li­er that day and to those unmen­tion­able fac­tors, so I was quite hap­py lis­ten­ing to the two of them car­ry on– they were very enter­tain­ing and I remem­ber think­ing that it felt good to final­ly put this inter­net friend into real time and space– it felt very good.

And then, some­where near the end when we were wrap­ping every­thing up, Kate summed me up with one word: pos­er. or poseur, as I’m sure she’d put it. I don’t remem­ber how it hap­pened– but I’m sure that I react­ed bad­ly. It hurt. It was one of those stu­pid things that I’m sure she wish­es she had­n’t let slip out.

And so anoth­er slag has been added to my psy­che. I think my girl­friend sees my reac­tion to inci­dents like this as para­noid and noth­ing more, but maybe that’s her job to be unre­lent­ing­ly sup­port­ive… I don’t think it would do much good if she agreed with me. Still, I’d be dead-sur­prised if some­one that she knew were to tell her unso­licit­ed that she’s a pos­er, or some­thing equal­ly as low. It just isn’t done. I’m the most judg­men­tal per­son on the plan­et, and I can’t imag­ine say­ing such a thing in a semi-seri­ous tone. Yet, I must give off some kind of vibe that screams “tell me what you real­ly think of me…”

What to make of it? The answer that always qui­ets my mind is to say fuck it. I can’t waste my time wor­ry­ing about it, whether it’s true or not. I’ll have to give peo­ple the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

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