Miss Perceptions

I do it - everybody does it. You meet someone and think you get a sense for who that person is or what he/she is about.

Lately I've been made aware of perceptions others have of me. In some cases it's a result of a temporary, casual experience. In others, they've seen all sides, without filter, and they're still off base.

The former makes perfect sense, but the latter is puzzling. I'm guessing it comes down to seeing what you want to see or holding on to old ideas instead of being open to seeing the truth.

One example: I have a friend I've known for years - many, many years. He seems convinced that I only have a good time if I'm soused. Every time we get together he encourages me to drink and drink heavily. He wants me to take a cab so I can drain the bar without worry.

The funny thing about this - the few times we were out with friends many years ago, HE was the one in his cups almost every time. One night he was so blotto he couldn't support his own body weight - he was falling into his plate. We poured him into a cab, gave the cabbie $40 and sent him on his way and went back to finish dinner.

I keep telling him that I don't really enjoy drinking in that way. I have, but I was in college. These days I enjoy maintaining my composure and not puking in a dorm room sink. But in his mind, I'm not fun unless I'm drunk. How flattering!

Another example: Sometimes people assume I'm an idiot. Sometimes I am, but I try to keep that under wraps. I blame the boobs. When people see boobs, they don't see a brain. It certainly isn't in my shirt.

They give it away when they talk to me slowly and repeat things over and over again even after I've said "I understand" (repeatedly) and explain back to them what they just told me. I'm no rocket surgeon, but I can grasp basic concepts. I even know how to put on pants all by myself.

Then there's family. The parents who will forever see adult offspring as children. Seems like a universal issue. But sometimes that lens needs to come off. It's getting tiresome. I may not know who they are through and through either, but I don't act like I do and make assumptions that might make them feel like idiots. At least I try not to.

Do we ever really know anybody?