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Perception

Sometimes it happens that your perception of a person changes based on a spontaneous moment.

While in grad school, I was an intern at Houghton Mifflin. After I graduated, the internship turned into a job. I worked in textbook production, scheduling rounds of proofs and attending design meetings. (In fact, I worked on the California Reading and California Math books that my kids now use at school!)

Anyway, I worked with a designer named Fred. (I also worked with a designer named Bert, short for Albert. Designer names. Huh.) I liked Fred, though he had a bit of a reputation as being difficult. But he was really good at his job, and I honestly think he maybe was bi-polar too.

In any case, I don’t think Fred had any feelings about me one way or another. There’s a chance he didn’t even know who I was. But one day as I was bringing something somewhere (which was a large part of my job, that and boxing things up to mail), Fred walked over to where I was and he was singing. It was “I Like Life” from Scrooge, which is a movie I grew up watching every Christmas. So Fred came over to where I was standing—it seems I was near the mailboxes—and he was singing, “I like life, life likes me . . .” And without even thinking about it, I sang, “Life and I almost always agree.”

Fred looked at me with this big grin on his face. He didn’t say anything, but I think I’d surprised him. And after that, he was always really nice to me. I learned all about his rescued greyhounds and was there for him the day one of them died. A bond had been formed—just a work bond; we didn’t hang out or anything, but still . . . One moment of honest response from me—a response that, had I thought about it before doing it, I’d have been too embarrassed to go through with it (and the lesson there is to be authentic and not think too hard)—had apparently changed Fred’s perception of me. Enough to let me in a little. Though once I left Houghton Mifflin, we lost touch. Some (many) relationships are only passing, only grounded in the common soil of work or school. Once you transplant, or they do, there is nothing left.

I don’t know what made me think of this today. Though I do still think of Fred whenever I watch Scrooge now!

Anyway, good walk this morning with cooler temps:

1. “Angry” by Matchbox Twenty
2. “Daylight” by Maroon 5
3. “Things You Said” by Rob Thomas
4. “You Won’t Feel a Thing” by The Script
5. “Your Wildest Dreams” by Moody Blues
6. “Please Don’t Ask Me” by Gin Blossoms
7. “Don’t Cross the River” by America

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Writer/Screenwriter

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