The other day I saw a poster of a boat going through a huge wave and I thought: “Derek (my brother) loves photos of boats going through waves.” (Except that part in parentheses; that was for you. I didn’t have to remind myself who Derek is.)
Then I realized how stupid that thought was. Why did I think Derek loved shots of boats going through waves?
I remembered; Derek had a poster of a boat about to be swallowed by a wave when he was in college. But that hardly made him psycho about wave vs. boat posters, right? Why had I suddenly made wave vs. boat posters a core element of his personality? I’d practically imagined him combing Ebay every night for wave vs. boat pictures. People in conversations would casually mention boats and waves and he’d freak out, waving his arms like a Muppet, knocking over his coffee and screaming, “OMG I LOVE BOATS AND WAVES!” His wife, unable to find him, would stumble upon him in the bathtub, recreating scenes from The Perfect Storm. “Not again,” she moans.
Surely, Derek hardly ever thinks about boats being swallowed by waves.
Then I remembered my father offhanded mentioning “Amy loves the beach.” My husband, Mike, had laughed about it afterwards, because he knows I’m not a huge fan of the beach. I love being near a beach, I almost have to be. But I’m not a fan of laying on the beach, baking in the sun like some cowboy staked in the desert by banditos. I’m easily overheated. I’m a delicate flower. (my husband just laughed in his sleep as I typed that.)
Why did Dad think I’d spend all day on the beach if I could? Because I worked for SURFER Magazine and spent years on the beach taking photos and watching prepubescent boys tear up 2-foot east coast surf. And because I grew up in a beach town and I’ve always tried to live near the coast. He just assumed that means I love laying on the beach. I don’t. Not without a bar and an air conditioner a few steps away.
These events make me wonder:
How many things am I currently assuming about the people in my life that aren’t true?
How many conclusions do I jump to about people I meet, without having any real information?
What habits and behaviors do I exhibit that make new people assume things about me?
What do my friends and family already assume about me that is wrong?
It might be a fun (or horrifying) game to play. Write down five things you think are facts about someone in your life and let them read them. Best to not write things like “You can’t cook for shit” though, that won’t go over well. Then let them write five things about you.
How well do you know each other? Is it time to reevaluate?
Oh my god…
What do you people think you know about me???
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