Chapter 20 : It Wasn't Personal, But It Was
June 3, 1999

Itís the assumptions that kill you in the end, you know. Mainly, itís the assumption that other people are somewhat like yourself, or that they understand where you are coming from. That expression of Ďbeing on the same pageí is something that should be paid attention to more often than not.

People have different sensibilities, differing realms of varying importance. What you may feel is harmless banter may end up as offending someone else to the highest degree, regardless of the fact that they seemed to have led you there.

It would be so much easier to talk about a specific instance, but this isnít about specific incidents. This is about perceptions, and the fact that perception is the rule over reality. What was truly intended is forever lost in the perception that envelops it. Regardless of apologies and explanations, the perception taints the end product. That perception was reality for a time being, and for that perception to be completely wiped clean calls for someone to not only admit to themselves they were wrong, but to convince themselves that they had no reason to perceive the hereto hypothetical Ďincidentí as anything but what the deliverer intended it.

This is where the crux of the matter lays. If the receiving party perceived something, then there must have been reason for it, whether something was intentionally obscure or an unintentional undercurrent rode along with the message. Or, in the case of sarcasm, the message overrode the sarcasm. So, in this light, the sender is in the wrong.

But see, the problem I have with this, is that even if the sender realizes the mistake, and apologies follow, there is no way to reverse the perception. It remains because it was there, even if the intention was not. Not only is the message tainted, but the messenger as well. Damage done, opportunities lost, relationships left in tatters.

Sense and sensibilities you could blame, but the truth lays in the fact that each person views the world in a slightly different vein. The orange glow of the sun as it sets over the azure blue sea has a bit more of a red tint to it for someone other than you. For someone else, it is a touch more yellow. Unless you both understand the otherís perception, you will be left arguing over the red and yellow tints of the sun with no resolution (no pun intended). You both perceive your own reality, and although you can appreciate and understand each otherís worlds, there is no way for you to live in them.

Such is the way of the world.

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