Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life is like an elevator -- it has its ups and downs

You may be smart, funny or an intoxicating combination of both. You may be one of the most interesting people alive (like that guy in the Dos Equios commercials). Unfortunately, a stranger -- who is only looking at you -- will not know just how amazing you are.

We all know the phrase "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Unlike other well-known sayings, such as: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree", "Go fly a kite", or "How can you walk in those shoes?" "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" is an expression I can get behind.

Anyone who thinks what they wear does not matter is kidding themselves. Of course, there are some individuals who truly do not care what others think about them. To these people, I say "good for you." However, I'm fairly certain that even these people have dressed up for an interview and perhaps a date or two. People who care about how they are perceived by coworkers, friends, family and even strangers, recognize that outward appearances are a huge part of day-to-day life. Shallow? Perhaps. True? Definitely.

You may be thinking to yourself: "Why the hell is she writing about this? Does she have some degree in Sociology I don't know about?" Both good questions. I'm writing about this because: 1) it is true; and 2) I think people at work are on to me and have stopped saying stuff for me to make fun of.

However, when I was leaving the office this evening, a woman on the elevator with me said, "Hi, I rode up with you this morning. I recognized your really cute jacket." She did not say, "I recognized your aptitude for abscure theme songs," or "I recognized your ability to make great braciola." And why would she? She has no way of knowing that I can tenderize cube steak while singing the song from Mr. Belvedre. No, this woman spent less than 30 seconds in an elevator with me, but remembered what she saw -- my jacket.

I know we all have similar stories. Complete strangers complimenting us on our hair, our smile, our shoes, our blouse -- superficial things. Someone needs to know you on a personal level before they can compliment you on your vast knowledge about the former Soviet republics or ability to quote Atticus Finch's closing statement from "To Kill a Mockingbird" (neither of which I have by the way).

But a wise person once said, "Streaks on the china, never mattered before, who cares. When you dropped kicked your jacket, as you came through the door, no one glared. But sometimes things get turned around and no one’s spared. All hands look out below. There’s a change in the status quo. Gonna need all the help that we can get. According to our new arrival, life is more than mere survival. We just might live the good life yet."

Appearances. They are a huge part of our lives. Mr. Belvedere gets it. I get it. Do you get it?

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