I admit it. I am prone to making snap judgements about people, and sometimes I hang onto them for quite a while. (I have a friend who is much more open and receptive, and she just shakes her head at me, to no avail.) Usually when people are a bit uppity, or are in love with the sound of their voice, or...there's a myriad of reasons why I will squint my eyes and determine they are worthy of only my snarky, gossipy comments...And like most women, I will crouch down and wait---for days or weeks or months---for a juicy tidbit about them, which proves I was correct about them.
There have been occasions when I am in a group of writers, and looking around, I wonder what kind of writers they are. I observe the way they carry themselves, I listen to the jokes they make, I examine what they do while other writers are sharing, and I speculate. And invariably, with writers, I am always wrong.
Because of course they open their mouths and make some incredibly on-the-mark comment about a colleague's piece, or they read from their own work, and it blows me over. And just like I am the first one to admit that the only way I could make it as an exotic dancer was if people paid me to put my clothes back on, I am also the first to admit that my initial determination was wrong.
I once worked with a student in our creative writing camp. He came on the first day of camp with bright orange hair (as orange as the skin of a tangerine) and a hoodie pulled up, which covered most of his face. I was inwardly groaning over the prospect of working for three weeks with this young man.
But he was gifted. And I would have missed out on his gifts if I had stuck with my initial judgement and continued to mentally dismiss him.
Young boys who look like they are gang members...Women who look like they are ditzy bobbleheads...People who look like they're right out of a Ma and Pa Kettle movie...All they have to do is speak a few words, and your misconceptions come tumbling down on top of you.