First Impressions – February 22

Here’s something that doesn’t always work out for me: I make snap judgments when I meet people. I like to think I’m a good judge of character, but that really should be something you decide after a little bit of time, right? Not what you think in the first five minutes. It’s perhaps not my best quality.

So it’s a good reminder for me when I’m proven wrong (also, though, I hate being wrong). Here’s the most recent incident that brought me up short…

I was at the airport this week, and it was early, about 7:30 am. Not that that’s so early, but when you consider what time you have to get up to get to an airport and through the whole TSA thing, well, there you go. So that part’s all over and I’m waiting to board when two big groups of teenagers park themselves nearby, all passengers on my flight. Some are loud, some look slack-jawed and have arrived in pajama pants and slippers for the trip. What th’…? This sets off my crabby lady alarm, the one that might say things like, “You kids get your bikes off my lawn!” So now I’m unhappy both because they bug me, and because they make me feel old. Even though, in my heart, I am certain that I’m right to not like them. Now I don’t like them and I don’t like me.

Time to board, and of course I’m surrounded by teenagers, in front of me, behind me, and a girl next to me, who immediately falls asleep. So I forget to be unhappy for a while, because I love to fly, and I’m off on a nice trip. When she wakes up, we start to chat. “Where are you all off to?” I asked, thinking they were a team of some sort. A college had invited them all out for a group interview. Oh. Turns out, though, that my new friend was a senior already, so this was a bit of a lark. She had applied to 25 schools, and her first choice was Yale. She was a little bit worried because she was only #2 in the class, and she didn’t much like being #2.

Now it turns out she had applied to my alma mater, too (not Yale), and before I knew it I was so charmed by her I’d given her my card and offered to write a letter for her should she get waitlisted.

Who am I kidding? This girl won’t need me. And have I mentioned I am a mentor to a student at Columbia who as a community project is trying to add a new major to the curriculum and worked for Michelle Obama last summer? Shouldn’t I be learning things from her? Sure, I was totally sincere in offering to write a letter for my seatmate, and that’s a very nice good deed. But better than that good deed would be if I could remember to say this to myself every once in a while:

Who do you think you are?

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8 Responses to First Impressions – February 22

  1. Cathy says:

    The only thing that saves me is although I am ripe (58) I am saved by my sons 18 and 20. No, they are not adopted…they keep us young by the lack of their brain development ~. Seriously, it’s not baked until 25. When the crank wells up, find myself reaching back for one good deed…

  2. Darlene Roudebush says:

    When I was very young,a few houses down from my house was Mr. Zingery. Boy,was he a crab and we could not get away with anything without him coming out and yelling at us! I just could not understand why he was so mean. Flash forward to today…and I have become Mr Zingery!!!
    Whenever I hear a noise outside or the neighbor kids going by,I am up and checking it out. How have I become so crabby and only in my 50’s?! How much worse will I be in my 70’s?! And why I am so quick to judge the kids as doing something wrong?
    I also have judged those with tattoos…and those long dred-locks…I could go on,but I think I have damned myself enough. I have a big problem with snap judgements!

  3. Kathie Skye says:

    Guilty, so guilty. Several years ago, I was walking a short distance behind a little family. Dad was covered in tattoos and wore pants that hung halfway down his bum. Mama looked so young. Between the two walked a little boy about the age of two. I flippantly and self-righteously thought to myself, “Poor kid, what kind of future will he have…” It was about that time that Dad opened the restaurant door for his little family, then smiling, he waited the several seconds it took for me to also walk through the door. I said, “thank you,” of course, but what I really wanted to say was, “I am so, so sorry for being such a jerk.”

  4. ahh Erin,we are in fact trundling down the road to old lady-hood. In some ways I am eager for the old stage where one has no filter!! Anywho,I’m with you. As the Mom of 4 fab ‘young people’ I am immediately incensed when someone makes the snarky remark-“young people just are
    not ________” Fill in the blank (kind,careful,thoughtful,hardworking etc) And yet? I am cranky about the pj pants thing!!

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