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What They Say About Assumptions

Today I was thinking about when John and I first met. We had traded messages online a bit and decided to have an initial meeting at a local restaurant. In hindsight I wish I could remember the details of our first meeting more clearly. What exactly did we talk about, what were my initial reactions toward him, etc. I would love to reflect on those reactions now with some distance of time, but they elude me. However there are two instances from that first meeting that I remember quite clearly; the first of which illustrates that one shouldn’t make assumptions about age.

We first met outside the restaurant. When we went in we had to wait quite a while for a table. I the meantime we started talking about ourselves. I remember telling John about the masters program I had just finished and my academic background. After being seated, we continued talking about things like jobs, families, and other interests. It was clear to me early on that John was smart, well educated, and a serious minded person. Eventually the topic of conversation turned to film. I told him that my interests tended toward dramas and independent film. He told me he liked dramas also, along with foreign films and documentaries. Then he took me a little off guard by asking me what I had thought of the movie Borat. I had seen it for the first time pretty recently and found it pretty funny, but I immediately second guessed responding honestly. With his serious demeanor and at his age it didn’t occur to me that John would have reacted positively to the film; after all their had been so much controversy over people taking offense to the movie. I just imagined that he may have really hated the movie and found it sophomoric and that if I admitted to liking it too vehemently that it would reflect poorly on myself.

I resisted my urge to out-and-out dismiss the movie, but I also tempered my praise of the film. But, to my surprise John responded by saying how much he loved the movie. His face lit up when he talked about particular parts he liked. I was astounded, relieved, and impressed. I had met someone that was mature and intellectually curious but was capable of not always taking things too seriously. The man had a sense of humor. That little bit of trivia about John, that he loved Borat, actually became a little endearing trait that stood out. In a small way I think I was a little ashamed that I had assumed that John was “too old” for that type of movie. And in making such an assumption I easily could have become insincere in an attempt to impress him.

The rest of the dinner and conversation went relatively well. We parted ways in the restaurant parking lot. As the evening ended I wasn’t completely sure what to make of the meeting. John seemed nice, I found him attractive, we had some things in common, but throughout the conversation I found it difficult to read him, to know how he was reacting to me. That brings us to the second thing that happened that night that I can remember quite clearly. As I was heading away from the restaurant, reflecting on what had just happened, my phone rang. Before I was even out of the parking lot John was calling me. He was heading out of town for a week and he wanted me to give him my e-mail address so we could make plans while he was away to get together when he returned. After the call I was giddy with confidence and excitement. That call simultaneously signaled John’s interest in me and solidified my interest in him.

That night I met a man that I found could impress and surprise me. Thanks to my own little snafu over making assumptions I’ve tried not to take anything else for granted when it came to John. And so, I’ve gotten to see the world and learn about new things from his point of view. It is a vivid life he leads and I’ve been fortunate to get to take part in it.