Monday, May 22, 2006

Everything you think you know is wrong

I have a really bad habit of making snap judgements about people. It's not really anything I'm trying to, you know, CHANGE about myself or anything, but I'm at least aware of it.

Actually, a lot of the time, I'm right about people. The ones I write off immediately generally aren't worth my time. But every once in a while, I question myself.

There's this kid, M, in my daughter's class. I met his mom, C, a few months back. I asked her about piano lessons and tried to have a conversation with her. She made a few comments that were at best insensitive and quite possibly meant to be rude, I thought. General snobbiness followed -- slight snubs that I definitely noticed, but didn't really care about.

One day at the park, she asked me if my family wouldn't be more comfortable in a different part of town. I didn't really know what to make of the question, but I think her implication was that we weren't quite good enough to be in her neighborhood. A few days later, all the moms were out at the park -- we spend a lot of time there -- and I sat with a friend of mine on the bench. Now, my house backs up to the park, so frequently, people ask to use my bathroom. (It's a small neighborhood, and we all know each other.) The first time they use it, I walk them in and show them; after that, they ask and I just wave them towards the house. So, one of C's kids apparently needed a bathroom, and she walked past me to go knock on someone else's gate -- someone who wasn't out at the partk -- to use theirs. My friend and I then had an entire conversation about how C. will go to any lengths to avoid talking with us, and I was frankly glad to hear that I'm not the only person not worth her time.

A few weeks ago, I happened to be sitting next to C. on a park bench. I was watching D., and we had just come back from some test or other, and I was full of emotion and couldn't stop talking. I wound up telling her about his diagnosis. She's a school psychologist, and she actually made a few helpful comments.

On Saturday morning, she came up to me and told me that she had gotten ahold of the 2005 book of syndromes and she looked up D's diagnosis. She said that what she saw is that the kids who have it end up totally normal, with no special difficulties whatsoever. She told me that she was so happy when she read it, she was shaking -- and she cried while she told me.

I was stunned. I was astounded that she cared, that she was so moved, that she bothered to tell me -- I mean, I was really shocked. And I've been really examining my own behavior the past few days, because... well, because what does it say about me that I wrote this woman off as a snob not worth my time? Hello, kettle? This is the pot calling. Yeah.


Meira said...

Oh, I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm loving every post!

But this one . . . I love the idea that I could be wrong about every person I've decided is mean. I love the idea that they might secretly be rooting *for* me, only I can't see it. And I love the idea that someone is rooting for you.