You Must Have Me Confused With Someone Else

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 2 June, 2010 at

In recent times, I have had several opportunities for insight into how other people see me. And they are all wrong.

The first was last year, when for a brief period, I was regularly interacting with an ex-girlfriend again. In conversation with a third party, she mentioned an opportunity years prior which, according to her, I had dismissed with a moping, “I dunno… I dun wanna.” Which even at the time, I had to admit, I could see that happening. Yet I was troubled. I can see now how my non-confrontational nature, coupled with my general tendency toward vagueness and privacy could easily result in poorly articulated reasons for declining something, but that does not mean that I do not have them. Realizing of course that one should always take criticism from an ex with a grain of salt, I was still saddened that she should think me so shallow all this time.

I have also become reacquainted with one of my junior high math teachers, in a different context, later in life. He was recently relating his impression of me as a student as, “I know I’m the smartest guy in the room, and I’ve got the system figured out so that I can get by with the least amount of work.” I admit that I am a path-of-least-resistance kind of guy, and his interpretation might have accurately described my behavior, but nothing like those thoughts ever crossed my mind. For one thing, a good friend of my who is way smarter than me was also in that class. More importantly, I did not then, nor have I since had any “system” specifically figured out; I am really just lazy.

Another friend has repeatedly suggested that I possess a photographic memory, and recently gone so far as to accuse me of “pretending NOT to have a photographic memory, when [I] really do.” I do not quite understand why. I occasionally remember details quite clearly. There are other details that I routinely can not remember at all: names, where I parked, the location of my cell phone or my glasses case, the current day of the week… Perhaps I am just not understanding what a “photographic memory” is, and those things that I can never remember are simply not “visual” enough for me. Yet, my understanding of a photographic memory is that you can recall details in your head as vividly as if you were actually seeing them at that moment. I definitely do not have that. Some things happen to stick in my mind more clearly than others. Is that not how everyone’s memory works? Or do we want to consider the connection between memory and autism? No, we do not.

Finally, last week a friend declared that my philosophy toward life had become “defeatist”, and how that was “not like [me].” Really? Because I feel that I know myself fairly well, and I think it sounds a whole lot like me.

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