Years on, the pattern remains the same.
When people meet me, they overestimate my intelligence and sophistication and think I’m some sort of god, even though I continually say that I’m not. They think I’m being overly modest. But I can get shit done and figure shit out, so I get on with it and generally do.
Over time, despite all objective evidence, they come to think I’m some sort of credulous buffoon that can’t keep two thoughts straight in his head. Then, when I say that I’m not, they feel a misplaced pity—poor, unsophisticated lump, he doesn’t realize just how clueless he is!
Then long after they dismiss and disengage, they are shocked when they meet me again to realize that I’m not the idiot they thought I was at the end. Gosh, you actually are pretty smart, and you’re getting things done in life, and you know all this stuff about me that I didn’t think you’d ever figured out. I’d sort of written you off as a derp.
This is, like, the interaction cycle of my life. I still can’t figure out why it’s so. Is it because I’m not superficial and admit that everyone has t-shirts with holes in them and armpits that smell sometimes? Is it because I’m friendly? I mean, I’ve written books and held good jobs and done television and have a Ph.D, I can’t be an idiot, and I can’t be imperceptive or clueless about people. At the same time, I’m not Albert Einstein, my books are just books, my television is a few interviews, not my own talk show, and I’m not a world-famous professor.
I’m reasonably successful in some ways, less successful in others, probably smarter than most, and about as empathetic and socially skilled as an average person. Yet peoples’ opinions of me over time swing from wildly overinflated to wildly underestimative. Rarely do they just plain see me for who, and what, I am.
Frustrating, not so much as-what-it-is but because of the repeated cycle and my inability to figure it out.