It dawned on me recently, there are a couple facets of who I am, that likely cause me to be counted as a snobbish individual.
The funny thing is, nothing I can imagine, could be further from reality.
I won’t say that other people tend to scare or intimidate me much these days. On the other hand, I recognize there are many people, who’ve managed to accomplish things I’ll be very lucky to ever replicate.
A day or two ago, I sat in my local tire shop, finally able to have a couple of new tires, put on my vehicle.
The ones that were on my little car, were in such bad shape, the fellow doing the replacement, indicated he was surprised I was still able to drive on them.
While I stood, watching the people involved in making the switch work—no simple task, since lug nuts were essentially frozen onto studs—I saw a man wearing grease-stained, somewhat dirty clothes, standing nearby.
I initially assumed he was part of the staff, since he looked a great deal like the folks there.
I turns out he wasn’t (though he’d not too long since, left that company’s employ), but he was a mechanic.
He struck up a conversation with me, and we talked about a number of current political and social issues.
He was pretty well informed, and that’s certainly true where things relating to his family were concerned.
He’d recently had to make some hard financial decisions, regarding taking money now, or socking it into a retirement account. We talked about what he had done and frankly, I was more than a little impressed.
This man, who probably spent more time worrying about things related to his trade, than just about anything else, had chosen a solid path I don’t believe a large number of people, who work in industries like software development, would have done so well with.
It’s not the case by any means, I’m talking this man, or any plying his trade down, by the way. Most of the mechanics I’ve met in the course of my life are decent, hard working individuals. We may not always agree on social issues, but I tend to differ on such things with people in many diverse professions.
The more we spoke, the more we connected on a variety of things.
I learned from him, and he from me.
This is just a single example of the type of relationship I prefer to have, as a general rule.
Not long ago, I worked at a building where there were a couple of security staff members, who spent a great deal of time in the lobby. I struck up a reasonable relationship with one such fellow.
He was a black man of a similar age to myself. He wasn’t highly educated as far as I was able to tell. Even so, he was a relatively smart individual. We had many a pleasant discussion, when he and I crossed paths.
The main person responsible for maintenance at that building, was a white man, maybe just a little younger than me. We too, discussed things periodically. Yet again, we may have had our differences, but we got on just fine.
I can tell you about any number of similar experiences. They involve janitors, garbage collectors, mail men and women, mechanics, store workers, teachers, and so many more.
Here’s the funny thing, I have a hard time thinking of a single person who I’ve gotten to know, who would likely apply a word like snob to me.
So why might it seem to those who maybe don’t know me, that I’m such a person?
I’m quiet. I’m reserved. I’m somewhat a private person. I dress in more or less traditional ways, and have no tattoos or piercings. And to top things off, I’m strongly opinionated. The funny thing? When it comes to those considerations about which I have strong viewpoints, I’m seldom wrong.
There are a few reasons this is the case.
The first of these is simple, and could be viewed as somewhat sad, depending on your way of looking at things. Put simply, I’m getting old. That means I’ve amassed a degree of experience on a variety of subjects—some of which, I care very little about, others I consider to be of great importance. This makes it so I speak from a position of knowledge much of the time.
The second, is that when I deal with many things, I take the time to learn a lot about them, so I won’t be inclined to speak from a place of a lack of knowledge. Experience is great, but sometimes understanding requires doing your homework.
Finally, I make it a practice to speak about things that matter to me—things I know a good deal about.
The sad truth is, being the person I am, seems to make it so people are prone to label me in ways that are in no sense, indicative of the person who lives inside my skin.
When we talk about things I know, I still try to listen to what others have to say. In fact, as a rule, I attempt to put them first, in conversation.
That’s not because I want the last word. It’s because I know it’s possible I may learn something new, by listening to them speak. In the end, things often work out in predictable ways. They speak, I attend. I work to internalize what they’ve said, but often, their statements are things I’ve long since considered. Even so, when I reply, I try to make it so what I’m saying, is not odious to them.
The point of all of this though, is that many look at me—particularly the external me—and assume I’m going to be snobby, or high-minded. In fact, most people, asked what they think I do for a living, assume I’m a teacher.
My final message in this piece is this. Just because someone looks unapproachable, doesn’t mean the person is who you assume them to be. That individual looks snobbish or uppity? Talk to them and find out whether or not that’s true, before making your judgment. You may be surprised at who lives in that flesh house. It’s also true you may be correct. That said, you’ll never know without testing the water.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.