A Moment in My Life – Friday, April 30, 2021
In the opening scene of this week’s “Kung Fu” CW series, Evan alerts Nicky that her new friend, Henry, has a long rap sheet and juvie record. Nicky refused to either believe or listen to Evan’s report. He rattled on until she hung up. Too late—Nicky’s mind filled with doubt. It’s like when the judge orders the jury to disregard something. You know it’s too late. Once said, you can’t un-hear it. Before Evan’s call, Nicky was falling for Henry, but they’ve been busy solving the mystery at hand that they know little about each other. They haven’t forged the bond to learn each other’s character yet. It didn’t help that Henry stole an artifact from the house they broke into earlier, and she witnessed him secretly handing it over to a thief. Nicky felt betrayed and lied to compounded with his record; she confronted him. After a heated exchange, where Henry tried to explain, Nicky stifled him, realizing that his past was none of her business. Henry insisted. In the end, Nicky’s first impression of Henry prevailed over the circumstantial evidence that wasn’t what it seemed.
A few days ago, I met an acquaintance, let’s say, Sam, on a FB group where I enjoyed the friendly banter between us. From the name Sam used on the FB account, I imagined I was chatting with a female until a mutual friend, I’ll call him Andy, advised me that I was talking to a guy. Wow, my eyes opened! Not that gender mattered, but it would be nice to know which gender I was talking with. It took me by surprise that I had mistaken Sam for a girl. I appreciated the clarification. I don’t think I needed the additional information that Andy privy me to about Sam. Since I was in a state of surprise, I hung onto every word Andy shared about Sam, which replayed in my mind whenever I encountered Sam’s online name on the screen. As I got off the initial surprise, I realized that I was reviving Andy’s opinion of Sam in my mind, and that was wrong. It’s unfair to Sam and me that I was basing Sam’s character on Andy’s idea instead of my first-hand experience. Realizing this, I wiped the slate clean, and I am disregarding what I heard (I will try my darndest.) and get to know Sam better and decide for myself who Sam is. I shouldn’t assume that Sam is who Andy says he is. They formed a friendship based upon their shared experiences that shaped Andy’s opinion—unique to them.
I know the value of being misrepresented without a voice. A little backstory, I’ve always been a clean freak who likes a place for everything and everything in its place to the extent that I would get up early every Saturday morning when I was a teen and clean the house before my family woke up. One caveat, I hated cleaning toilets. My seven years younger sister, Susie, hated cleaning the house but didn’t mind the toilet. I thought I had the perfect plan when I offered her a deal. If she cleaned the one toilet, I would clean the whole house. She jumped at that deal so quick; I didn’t remember the handshake. A few decades later, most of my family relocated to San Diego while I remained in the bay area. My family and extended family were tight since they saw each other often. I was like a stranger visiting annually, if that much. When I visited, I felt like a stranger with all eyes scrutinizing me. Everybody was too polite to say anything, but being hypersensitive, I felt something was going on. I could see it in their eyes that they were thinking something about me and not favorably. Eventually, I heard a story going around through the grapevine that I was a mean you know what who used to force my little sister to clean toilets. What? I was flabbergasted and wished someone would have said it to my face so that I could’ve recanted the story with the truth.
Since I’ve been on the receiving side of being misrepresented, I vow to give everybody the benefit of a doubt. I’ll spend time getting to know people for myself and form my own opinion. Everybody has his or her own story that only they know. People tend to too quickly jump to conclusions before they get the whole story, which is sad and unfair because it’s not always what it seems.