Thursday, January 31, 2008

Objects are closer than they appear

The other day Cowboy got a rude shock. He was all dressed up in his geek menace look, nice button down, spiffy tie--you know, doing the corporate thing, when a person he'd known for a long time, but rarely saw--er, saw him.

Over the course of seven years, people change. But, the funny thing about memories is that your mental image freezes at the time of your last interaction. If someone looks a certain way and you don't see them again, to you--they always look that way.

The other guy expected Cowboy to be all ratted out in steel toes and blacks. And ninety percent of the time, he is--but the paunch wasn't there. SEALS are good for that. Cowboy's lost weight, and I'm just waiting for the day he bounces a penny off his abs. (lol, he'll probably show me...) Hell, I've changed. Not as young as I used to be, shorter hair. Shorter in general. I think my attitude shrank. You can only keep up the macho for so long...

But Cowboy was insulted at being perceived to be part of the mainstream. I can't figure it out. I have a couple of suits I use when I want to fit in--you know, returning stuff, and going places. Sometimes protective coloration is good.

Fake it until you make it. That's why the rich always dress so badly.

5 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

I had a conversation with a nephew in law about protective coloration about a decade ago that changed his life. I'm not sure if it was for the better, and I hadn't intended to put my foot in it. He was complaining that his girlfriend thought he was an intentional social outcast, and he couldn't figure out why. I said it was because he was wearing poet shirts with Guatemalan pants, a combination that actually looked pretty good. I had to stop and explain visual prejudice and protective coloration to him. I finished by saying I admired his rebel spirit and didn't think he should change. A few months later, the next time I saw him, he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and had cut his hair. Oh, and the girlfriend? He married her.

jodi said...

lol--that's so funny. The great thing about writers is that we can usually figure out motivation and get people to do stuff our way...

Unhinged said...

LOVE the last two sentences. Spot on! LOL.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Yep, my protective coloring has ALWAYS been in place.
Outwardly, overweight mommy with two kids and a mortgage.
Inside, geeky, non fiction reading, dog hating rebel. LOL.
I've got them ALL fooled though. MuhahahahahahahaW!

jodi said...

yes, Jen. You did have me fooled. When I picture you, I think of Mandy from the grim Adventures. lol, no clue why.