Long nails. Too long almost to type in my data on her computer. A facial expression only possible if all nerves are either numb or dead.
I see a lot of receptionists during a day. Most of them are friendly. This one is cold. She looks at me like am a lower life form. What I don’t realize is how unfriendly and insecure I come accross myself.
I meet her often and the pattern is always the same. We have to deal with each other and it’s nuisance for both of us.
In my mind she’s some arrogant bitch who can only risk losing the elasticity of her face by smiling at macho guys. Some gal who doesn’t care about anything except shopping, manicures, tanning salons, being seen sipping lattés and her instagram account.
Everything changes when one day I spot a German book on her desk.
I would normally never talk to her, but I’m so curious about languages, languages trigger something in me, they always have, that the question simply escapes me:
‘Are you learning German?’
I swear her face lit up like an American sky on the fourth of July.
She instantly changed into a warm, friendly lady. She sounded smart. She had a degree in international relationships. She wanted to live and work in Germany for a while. She complimented me on my Slovak and asked what Slovak students were like.
I never saw her again, those business centers where I teach have lots of receptionists, and I forgot to ask her name. I was too surprised to see the arrogant bitch turn into an engaging conversationalist.
Of course, the arrogant bitch only ever existed in my mind. Cobbled together from I don’t know which kind of experiences. Which trauma lurks underneath I do not know, but I see arrogant bitches everywhere. Oh and men I usually categorize as dumb beer guzzling brutes. So you can imagine I am quite limited when it comes to approaching people in every day life. Unless I’m at reception, where I will pretend to be sociable, just to not feel awkward.
This nameless woman told me that a connection is hidden behind our prejudices. And you don’t find out until you break through them. In my case it was that German book. Without that trigger I would have kept treating her as that human nuisance, that annoying little administrative hurdle I had to pass to get to my student. I regret not being more spontaneous, and being so walled off by my prejudices, which are a translation of my hatred towards the world. My hatred used to make sense, these days it’s mostly just a reflex, a cramp. I don’t really know why I hate people so much. But I have a theory. Which am not going to share here, because people complain my posts are too long.
Kill your prejudices before they become your jailors.