You know how sometimes your mother or brother or friend or husband will frequently mention a colleague/acquaintance/sandwich artist with whom they converse with on a daily basis but you yourself have never met? And after enough passing references to this person, you begin to construct your own semi-unfounded, often stereotypical perception of what he or she might look like? Sometimes based on conversational description, sometimes not. Are ya with me?
And then occasionally, the informant will mention one physical characteristic that causes a metaphorical swarm of locusts to wreak havoc on your visual imagination? Case in point:
My husband is working on a project right now which requires him to meet on a weekly basis with City employees. There is one person in particular, a project manager who will remain nameless (however I will say that his name rhymes with the word jazz), who has come up in conversation several times, and I sense that my husband has a great deal of respect for the guy based on the pleasantry of his tone when he talks about him. "
"Wait...like, you mean one of those preppy pseudo-gangsta golf hats?"
Are you beginning to grasp the twisted image I was manifesting for [Rhymeswithjazz]? Civic employee by day, hoodrat by night...
I began telling my husband that I needed to meet this guy, if only to clear up my misperception. Afterall, a snapped golf hat is in and of itself a perfectly innocent garment. Why should I associate it with an image of a badass rapper dude who, incidently, also wears dollar-sign bling around his neck in my evolving characterization?
Come on, Sarah. Snap out of it (pun intended). The guy is a suit. He sits at a desk in a municipal building. I highly doubt he loads the bypass tray in the photocopier one minute, and the next he's lip-syncing to Akon while he drives home in his lowered irridescent purple truck with the bed permanently covered, 'cause this dude ain't haulin no two by fours anytime soon. (Says something about my confidence in my husband's taste in trucks, doesn't it?) Not to say that gangstas don't have stuffy office jobs. Fo shizzle.
Because I guess he could be like one of these guys:
Parenthetically, if you have not seen the movie Office Space, leave this blog now and never come back. KIDDING!!! but seriously....
Anyway, then my sister-in-law came for a visit. And I told her of this whole snappy-hat saga and how I'm sure I will be shocked and chagrinned when the day comes that I finally get to meet the real [Rhymeswithjazz]
Then she met him.
She came home and exclaimed "I met [Rhymeswithjazz]
"Well? Am I right? Am I RIGHT?!?!? Is he hardcore?"
"Mmmm....not really....I don't know."
Exasperated, and in an attempt at an iota of clarification, I finally had to draw a caricature of this phantom man who haunts my conscience. I have been told I missed the mark. Behold:
Do you get why I was dumbstruck when my husband mentioned that [Rhymeswithjazz]
Important note about this post: I have absolutely no issue with snappy hats, North Carolina jerseys, or even dollar sign bling. I also don't have a problem with lowered irridescent purple trucks, although I personally choose not to drive one. And hey, there was even an Akon song played at my wedding (albeit on an impromptu party bus). This post is simply a commentary on how we all sometimes imagine people a certain way, and it turns out they are nothing like we expected. Even if we should have known better, Shorty.