Do you ever come across someone who just seems odd and rubs you the wrong way? Maybe they are gruff, their interpersonal skills lacking, table manners questionable, or they wear the most unfortunate 'animals of africa' neckties? I'm guilty of making snap judgments of people. If I encounter someone with the above characteristics, I gravitate *away* from them. And quickly. Especially if there are people around with whom I connect in a meaningful way (i.e. discovering someone else who also believes Lindsay Lohan definitely stole that necklace).
This week, several times, I did the dance many of us have done...circulating around the room to be closer to people you'd rather talk to. It's a delicate dance, ensuring nobody's feelings are hurt. This week I. Was. A. Pro. Close talker? Excuse me, I need to use the restroom. Your favorite adult cartoon show? I'm going to get another drink, you want anything?
But the week was long, and by today, I had lost steam. I sat in a chair, ambivalent to whoever might plop down beside me. African Tie. He asked me what was new, for the 50th time in the past few days. I'm not even sure how the conversation got started...but we started talking about evasion techniques in the woods, and he started telling me about some missions he went on back in his active duty Army days. As the story unfolded, I discovered he went on undercover missions in Bosnia, speaking Italian and finding war criminals, all without being 'made'. He helped catch a man who killed innocent women and children. He put his life at risk to bring men to justice, getting injured several times. He only stopped after countless missions, when an insider leaked his name to the press, and he had to be flown out and re-assigned. After our conversation, he asked me to mail out a dozen postcards for him. They were all for his children and grandchildren.
A lesson for me to learn and relearn: If you give people a chance, they just might impress you.