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“I was never ever frightened / By the murderer on our block. / He nurtured orchids and raised hamsters. / The neighborhood is still in shock.”

Jimmy Buffett, in “Vampires, Mummies, and the Holy Ghost,” reminds us of something we often forget: facades can be misleading. And frequently, we accept what we see for face value.

The more I get to know a new friend, the more lurking mysteries come out. I think this is probably true for everyone we meet. But this particular friend [Pith] still makes me laugh: my initial (and most regular) impression of her is a reserved, pensive, intelligent woman who is kind, caring, and polite and well-poised to be the next chair of a board of directors of a major organization. Juxtapose this with waist-length black hair, Metallica t-shirts, and goth make-up … or a diamond-stud nose ring. Yes, they describe the same woman. Someone who I had accepted as “quiet” has an inner streak that I am (bit by bit) getting glimpses of.

Likewise, this weekend, Pith and I met a strange dichotomy: the party-animal man (complete with tie around his head), participating in grabass and grabboob without care… and leaving his 7th Grade Science Teacher persona in the middle school closet with the beakers and microscopes.

I think everyone has a little surprise hidden, however. Some may not be as glaringly shocking as the teacher, or Pith (as she continues to be to me), but how many people are really a WYSIWYG anymore?

What about me stuns people? I find my life relatively mundane and fairly commonplace. After all, it’s “just my life” and “I’m just me,” right?

And what about other people? How often are you taken aback when your set notion about somebody gets dumped on its head? I think we take comfort in “defining” people and trying to pin them to something or someway.

But doesn’t this only limit us in knowing these people? Some quirks may not be for others to know, but I would wager that if you look deeper, most everyone you know has another dimension of which you are unaware. Who knows? Maybe someone in your neighborhood raises hamsters?

~M

Retro re-post of the day: Physical Attractions.

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3 thoughts on “The One You Never Suspect (or, Looks Deceive)

  1. I just opened a few browsers to do my blog rounds (which I’ve been slacking on) when I got to yours. Funny, I’ve been thinking a lot about the woman I used to be, the woman I think I am, and the woman others see. People are surprising aren’t they? We think we’re boring or a certain way and someone expresses what they think of you and you’re shocked, hurt, or flattered. Great post as always.

    • Welcome back! Wouldn’t be interesting to see ourselves as others view us? I think we might be surprised… or as you note, shocked, hurt, or even flattered! It also makes me relook at people, often.

      • Thanks M! It would definitely be interesting to see through the eyes of another person for a day, or even to hear what they think about us.

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