Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When You Don't Know What You Think You Know

Hurray! AW Blog Chain made it here! Looks like Terri in NYC went from travel to her journals from when she volunteered in India, and ended up relating an episode where she didn't know what she thought she knew about a man who helped her when she was lost.

Sounds like a good place to start.

Everyone starts off with first impressions. Some people, like my husband, are so accurate with their first impressions of other people that it makes me want to kick something.

"He's an asshole, Celina. Boot him out."

"I can't boot him out, Shannon; he's just sitting there drinking."

Fast forward to ten minutes later.

Shannon: "I told you to boot him out."

Celina: "How was I supposed to know he'd put a chair through the jukebox?"

So annoying. Here's my question: what happens if you don't know what you think you know? What if the assumptions you make about a person, a story, an entity, a governmental policy--what if those assumptions are wrong? Are you big enough to admit it?

I'm usually not. *shrug* Of course, maybe that's what I want you to think. I could be fibbing. *snerk* Okay, getting serious now.

I've been known to admit that I was wrong. I admitted I was wrong to my daughter when the only boyfriend she's ever had that I wasn't tempted to ram his head through drywall turned out to be a bigger jerk than the other assholes. I admitted I was wrong about a novel I wrote a long time ago--but that took distance and time before I was willing to trunk it. I think I even admitted to misquoting someone the other day online--I'd substituted an 'a' for a 'the.'

If I can do it, anyone can.

If, specifically, you're making assumption about people online--you're doing yourself an inservice. In this blog, for example, I let you know what I want you to know--no more, no less. You know nothing about the few redeeming qualities I have as a human being in real life unless I give you a glimpse in. I think it's probably safe to say that most of you reading this now don't know who I'm going to vote for for President, what I think of yesterday's oil reserve vote in the Senate, who I'm for in the Stanley Cup, or probably even what color my hair is, right?

You know what I want you to know; if I don't tell you, then you don't know squat. I've seen a lot of people make assumptions, one way or the other, about people they meet online. With one extreme, it's dangerous. With the other extreme, you look like a jerk. Try to keep some perspective.

And if you're calling someone names, attributing things to them publicly on a message board, you might be surprised to discover that you had no clue who you were talking to. Makes you look like an idiot.

Trust me.

And so the blog chain moves on. Next up is Rotating Bear.

Auria Cortes

Life in Scribbletown

Polyamory From the Inside Out

For the First Time

Family On Bikes

Writes in the City

Elf Killing and Other Hobbies

Rotating Bear

Fantastical Imagination

Asian Business

Spittin' (Out Words) Like a Llama

As Yet Untitled

Mad Scientist Matt's Lair