Hi, My Name Is Mark

No, really its still Lucy. But I'm feeling more and more like Mark. As in, "Oh look, there's an easy mark. I bet she can be conned into all kinds of things! Lets give it a try."

I've been thinking for some time about posting a piece on perception, mulling it over and over. Not getting it quite right or smooth enough for posting. Yet, I find myself unable to avoid it any longer. Especially since I'll be house-blogging shortly.

There are a few things I've noticed about how people percieve me:

(1) They often confuse nice with stupid, or they confuse nice with easily-intimidated. Now, in a position of security, I yield to neither peer pressure nor reverse psychology. This REALLY confuses my parents who raised me under the confused delusion that nice-polite (which was safer) was spineless. Trying to break me was like trying to snap a wet noodle!

(2) They seem to think that my entire life has been exactly like it is now. It is beyond them to imagine that either I or my circumstances might have changed over the decades. According to this mis-perception, I have always been happy and secure while living the American Dream. Much too perfectly perfect to have any understanding of any bad thing. Because I don't wear victimhood on my wrist like a shiny bracelet, people assume I've never been a victim of anything. NOTE: I used the past-tense of that verb because I don't think of victimhood as being an ongoing situaiton. For example, "You were a victim of a mugging last week" is correct instead of "You are a victim of a mugging last week".

(3) They don't grasp the scope of personality. Sure, I allow myself to be a fluffy-bunny. Its a luxery that I can afford. That doesn't mean I'm not capable of being ... a non-fluffy bunny. What's the opposite of a fluffy-bunny? Maybe a sarcastic-tiger. Because I can SO be that. I just try to not be that in front of the children.

Apparently, all these mis-perceptions about me lead contractors to make questionable decisions. And, heaven forbid, to actually argue with me. A few even argue with my husband, like he's gonna side with them over me! I still laugh over that! Oh, oh! Or trying to manipulate poor-simple-Lucy into agreeing with them. Like the contractor that messed up the stucco over the garage door. My husband wanted it fixed, the contractor wanted him to learn to live with it. Finally the contractor turned to me and said "I think it looks ok, don't you?" To which I mused out loud while looking over his shoulder "I wonder what it would take to move that stairwell?" He looked at me in speechless horror, then quickly agreed with my husband that he'd get it fixed, and suddenly discovered that he had to be going along. LOL!

(4) I almost forgot ... its not just contractors that are making me feel like Mark. Its friends and aquaintances too. They're just a little more subtle. Its interesting (although I suppose logical) to note that if someone lives in a middle-class neighborhood that they are middle-class, and that if someone builds a big house they are well-to-do. The ideas of how upper-class and middle-class behave are different. I see it in the way my friends treat me. We live in a decidedly middle-class neighborhood now (while the house is being built). People expect us to act one way, and make all kinds of assumptions. Its becoming more and more obvious that we're about to move into the new house. Which is big. HUGE. Very big. However, its also very simple and plain by design. But people are starting to make assumptions about me based on where I live.

They assume we have more money than we do, they assume we must therefore spend money like water, they assume that I don't have to be a good shopper. They're confused about me driving a low-end minivan. They keep asking "Why don't you get a Town-n-Country with a DVD player and heated seats?". NOTE: I have nothing against any of y'al having a great van with bells-n-whistles, I just need to drive my van until we need to replace it. (They are REALLY confused that I don't want a DVD player because my kids already spend too much time face-to-monitor) Why don't you buy "this" or "that" or "this AND that"?

And its not that I"m against spending money, I just prefer to spend it on things that I need or REALLY want. With any luck, things on sale. And with a coupon code. And free shipping :)


*murmuring in agreement*

In following your example, I think I'll post on my blog, rather than take up 10 pages of comment space on yours!

Leni | 08/03/2006 - 10:32 PM

Right there with ya!

Well, there's no mini-van, but we drive our cars into the ground. And our decidedly middle-class home was purchased six years ago when it cost much less than it would today. It's all about perception. ;-)

knighton | 08/03/2006 - 10:56 PM
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