Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So, I've been doing some surprising soul-searching lately.  Well, maybe not soul, exactly, since I've been thinking over my past behavior and having it suddenly appear to me in a completely different light -- but there isn't the term "behavior-thinking-over" or even anything that resembles it, is there?
Okay.  I know I've mentioned one of my colleagues in my new job, who is 23, and feels very top-of-her-game all the time.  Has always viewed herself as the smartest person in the room, with the best singing voice, and the most beautiful hair.  And although I can see this very clearly, I have still felt kindly toward her, and sort of amusedly tolerant of this childishness.

Well, yesterday, she was looking over an e-mail that I had drafted to explain a situation to our boss.  This was at her instruction, by the way.  "Type up an e-mail explaining that to Honor, and let me read it before you send it," said this 23-year-old girl to me.  So I did.  And she came over and read it, and taking the mouse, removed about six of my commas.  And then said, "Okay -- go ahead and send that."

So -- since I know, and have always known, that I know more about grammar and usage and sentence structure than anyone in the average room -- some notable exceptions, of course! ( and I'm being humorous, in case I haven't made that clear) -- this momentarily stunned me.  Not just that she would think that was acceptable behavior, but that she should be so sure that she knew more about how many commas were appropriate in the e-mail, than I did, that she would remove the (to her eye) superfluous ones without a by-your-leave.

And then I began to think.  Do you suppose that the times I have corrected someone 's document for them, (almost always at their request, although sometimes without their knowledge, and once, that I can think of immediately, against their will) without ever apologizing for it, since I know what the paragraph ought to look like, and I feel certain that they want it to look as good as I do; do you suppose that this unapologetic attitude of mine  has been as offensive to them, as this casually superior young woman was to me?

Can't be!

Can it?

This doesn't make me feel any the less offended by her behavior, which I still find stunning -- but it does make me feel less certain of mine.  And not just of my behavior -- but of my view of the world.

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