Sunday, June 22, 2008

negative first impressions

She looked around and saw that she was one of the first people to arrive so, she walked up to someone who was standing alone and introduced herself. Being exceptionally comfortable meeting new people, a couple who had met her before walked over and stood next to her. She introduced them to her new friend. As the four of them were talking pleasantly about their past experiences, he walked into the room. She immediately had a negative reaction to his presence. This surprised her because she usually like everyone she ever met, at least at first.

She knew to fight her feelings and opened up the little circle so that he could bring his overbearing presence even closer to her unsuspecting and shy friends. He was two feet taller than she was but, her demeanor was calm and tantalizingly collected. The others couldn't think of a response to his flamenco introduction so, she quickly re-directed everyone's attention to the quietest person in the group who had been telling a story about their favorite math professor in the 9th grade. She wondered if everyone else had the same feeling that she did or if she was being attacked by some sort of ridiculous first impression.

She didn't usually dislike people when she first met them. What was it about him that caught her off guard and created such an immediate dislike? She walked across the room and ended up standing in the corner with him. She quickly calculated how important it would be to try and find out if her first impression was entirely mistaken. She decided to ask him a polite question,"Where do you work?"
"I'm a spy," he answered making up a response that was meant to be funny but caused her to dislike his style with more intensity.

She gave him a half-hearted smile and decided to try to play along, "Who are you spying for?" she asked ironically.

He gave her a demeaning look and said, "If I told you I'd have to kill you" and kept awkwardly silent.

She wasn't amused but, wasn't going to give up. "Ok," she said in a slightly irritated tone, "what do you in your free time?"
He let go of the game and gave her some basic information about his job. She had to keep asking him questions and he kept avoiding them. Suddenly, she asked herself what she was doing because this person had no desire to talk to her and even deep down in the kindest side of her heart she couldn't figure out why she would want to talk to him.

A gorgeous girl from California walked up looking for a glass and his attention was immediately re-directed and focused on her. She realized that even though she had experienced a small amount of genuine interest in this person's story, he had never cared, even for a moment in her simple and slightly uninteresting life. This was when she frantically started looking for a way out of this most un-pleasant conversation. California girl wasn't interested in talking and walked away as soon as she found the glass she was looking for. She understood that there was no need for a gentle ending to the conversation so she also turned around and walked away.

She couldn't describe why this person had given her such a negative impression other than the fact that he seemed to be completely amused with himself in a way that wasn't amusing at all for everyone else. She was amazed at the way that he gave her such discomfort. She too was capable of disliking someone the first time they met and even do her best to arrange ways to not encounter him again if she could avoid it. What a sign of solidarity with the pathetic side of the human race!

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke