First impressions (are often wrong)

The first time I waited on an older red-haired lady at work, I hated her.  She was fussy and impatient.  I saw her talking to my manager afterward and assumed she was complaining about me.  I thought she was a real bitch, and wrote her off in my head.

The next time I waited on her she was polite but cool towards me.  I responded in kind.  It went like that for several encounters.  Then one time she greeted me a little less coldly.  I thought to myself that maybe she just was having a bad day the first time I met her.  I tried to be a little more attentive.  She seemed to get it.

Then she was talking to someone else about voting.  (It was near election time last year.)  The conversation had turned to how expensive everthing is getting and she said that she’s on social security since she’s retired and how it’s hard to get by on that.  She ended up saying to vote Democratic so we don’t lose any more.  Since I’m progressive, I was in total agreement.  I let her know I agreed and the next time I saw her we made more friendly conversation.  Since then, we’ve had many more good conversations, including our dislike of antibacterial products and how they aren’t good for you.  A person needs to be exposed to germs to keep your immune system strong.  Plus, those products help create drug resistant super germs.  I commented that it’s all the marketing by companies trying to sell more antibacterial products that’s creating a society of germophobes.  She enthusiastically endorsed my observation.

So, now, whenever I wait on her, I know I’ll have an interesting conversation, if there’s time.  (We get pretty busy at ye olde dollar shop.)  I don’t know if I’d get tired of her if we hung out, but she went from a dreaded customer to a pleasant “regular”.

It makes me wonder how much we miss out on in life when we stick to our snap judgements and treat first impressions as absolutely accurate assessments of a person, written in stone, never to be reconsidered.

What if you met your potential soulmate when you were both having an off moment?  If fate allowed another meeting, as it well might, if you’re meant to be soulmates, would you be open to a fresh start?  A new encounter not based on a single previous meeting?

Of course, I’m not saying to disregard your instincts or intuition.  They often serve to protect you.  If you distrust someone, there may be reason.  I’m just saying that sometimes, this busy, varied, modern life sometimes leads to crossed signals, missed opportunities, and needless animosity.

Don’t throw caution to the wind, but do remain open to your fellow humans for at least two encounters.  You never know what might happen.

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Leaving office

For the past several years, I’ve been president of a group called Allentown Film Crew.  We aren’t a film appreciation group.  We actually make short films.  On average, two of them a year.

The group was started about 7 years ago through meetup.com.  There was a hiatus after the first two projects that lasted about a year and a half.  Another original member and myself got it going again, kind of by accident.  We planned on having some kind of reunion event, but scheduling something on a weekend wasn’t working, so we just met on our old Tuesday night and the rest is history.  It was at least six months before we decided we needed officers.  I was elected president.   I didn’t really do a lot until one of the co-leaders left.  At that point, I held the group together and we produced a film, the only one that year.

Now, I’m in the last few weeks of my tenure.  I announced to the group that I was stepping down as president toward the end of this month (Sept.).  Don’t worry, there was no scandal or any shady dealings.  The reasons I cited in my email to the other three members of the leadership team were to free up time for other interests and looking for a better job.  Also, I stated to them that I simply didn’t want to do it anymore, and therefore, couldn’t do it justice.

When I subsequently announced to the rest of the group at our meeting August 26th, one of the more outspoken members immediately asked why.  I gave similar reasons.  Later that night, I found myself asking why don’t I want to do it?  I mean, I don’t, and that’s the main reason for my decision when it comes down to it.  But why don’t I want to?

It’s been good for me in that it has helped me build leadership skills, get more organized, network and the like.  (I still have plenty of room for improvement in all those areas.)  I also facilitated the meetings and have gotten much more comfortable talking in front of a group.

While the group has grown a lot and I had no small part in that, I can’t say that I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to, so that’s not a reason for shedding the mantle of leadership.   It’s definitely not a people problem.  It’s a great bunch of people.  I haven’t lost interest in film or writing.  At least, no more than anything else when I’m feeling low on energy or depressed.  Ok, there’s part of it.  The thing is, I’m always glad I went to a meeting, even if I didn’t feel like it beforehand.  So, of course, I’m staying involved, just not as president.

 

(CONT.)  Didn’t finish my draft.  It’s now Tuesday, October 14.

We had the first group meeting that I wasn’t president tonight.  I still wound up facilitating due to the new president being unable to get there by the start time because of her work schedule.  So, it wasn’t a lot different at this point.  It did give me a chance to reflect and I feel that I’ve made the right decision.  Trisha, the new prez, has a lot more energy and enthusiasm than I have.  I guess it is largely due to depression, after all.  I suppress it, but it’s there.  Part of that is being alone, no significant other.  That’s a topic for another post.

Some of Trisha’s ideas are similar to my own.  The difference is, she will follow through on them.  So, I’m happy to pass the reigns while staying involved in a group that makes films.  That was a long time aspiration of mine and I’m doing it.  Not professionally, albeit, but I’m in it.  I’m not sitting home nights that I don’t work, feeling sorry for myself or watching the idiot box, and Allentown Film Crew is going strong, largely thanks to me (during the aforementioned critical time).

So this post comes to an end, not as the perfect Hollywood happy ending, but as the more real indie style mixed happy ending.  I’m at peace with the degree of accomplishment I achieved, though not what I’d hoped, and I’m still part of something pretty special and unique.

Allentown Film Crew