June 25, 2012

What you see is what you get?

Perception is reality… or is it? It is clichĂ©, but “don’t judge a book by its cover” is one adage we should all remember and practice. For example, this morning I walked into my office wearing what could be considered a suit jacket. While I normally dress professionally, once you bring a jacket into the mix there is a certain level of formality that raises eyebrows and a few friends whisper: “do you have an interview?” No, actually, I just really despise the blast of A/C that hits my desk about 11:30am.

This past weekend my twinster and I had the very rare opportunity to spend the day together. We relished the chance and headed to a course neither of us had ever played called “Deep Cliff”, in Cupertino, CA. This is an executive 18-hole, par 60, course and was just our size. We were pretty excited about this round and held our breath hoping to be able to play as a pair and not a foursome and it was our lucky day as the starter sent us off alone. He did pull us aside before sending us off asking that we be extra careful about pace of play and I had the feeling that he felt like he was talking to his daughters (which is sweet on the one hand, but annoying on the other). Why would he assume that we would slow play? I mean seriously, why?

I teed off first and hooked my shot right into the trees. I hadn’t hit a bucket, was totally tight and not even a little bit upset. I figured I would just carry on. However the starter decided to give me a swing correction right there on the first tee in front of God and the foursomes behind us. OMG are you kidding me? To make matters worse, when my sis stepped up and addressed her ball, this same man interrupted what was the beginning of her back swing to tell her that her line was off. Of course she then proceeded to hit her ball directly into the trees near mine. Ugh.

We practically ran down the fairway because, these few well intended comments made us feel like we were unworthy to be there, totally suck at golf and were about to ruin the entire round for anyone teeing off after us from that moment forward. The most annoying thing was that he never even gave us a chance, instead judging us by some unknown criteria. The last time I checked, we were dressed appropriately, had all the right gear, paid our greens fees and stood quietly at the tee box. That, right there, is all he needed to know about our golf games.

Deb and I got to the second tee box (where we were stuck waiting for the group ahead of us) and had a chance to re-group. We decided that we weren’t going to keep score and we also discussed that it was completely uncool of that starter to offer corrections and to assume that we would somehow play slowly. We agreed that we were just here to enjoy the day together and play a little golf. No pressure. From there we felt better and moved on.

Deb and I were having a great time on the front nine. We both played “well enough” and were lighthearted to the point that we didn’t even mind that we had to wait at every tee box. That’s right: every single tee box, we sat, we waited, we stretched, we prayed the beverage cart would come (but didn't until much later), but most of all, we just waited. Where was the starter and his warnings for this foursome? They really should have let us play through, it was totally the right thing to do, but since we’d decided to just enjoy the day we relaxed… and then we made the turn.

We ordered lunch from the call box at the 8th green and since we were walking knew we couldn’t take turns driving/eating, and instead came up with a little plan that made sense. So we finished up at 9 and ran into the cafĂ© to grab our lunch and get to #10. Our food was ready and we ordered beverages. I was literally standing at the counter eating as fast as I could while my sis paid. I walked to the condiment station and finished cramming my food in my mouth while Deb ran to the ladies room. It was at this moment that some guy from the course walked (hurriedly) up to me and asked if we planned to continue the round. I said well yes we just grabbed our food, my sis is in the ladies and we are going. He said we had to get to #10 right away or else lose our turn. Deb came back from the ladies and as we took off running for the tee box she crammed her food in her mouth. And then… we waited. A group was at the tee… and there was no one behind us... and we waited. Can you say acid indigestion? We were miffed to say the very least but kept saying that we were determined not to let it get us down.

I will never understand why we received such treatment, it really was appalling. I imagine if we’d walked in and been aloof and barely cracked a smile we may have been taken more seriously, but the blonde bubbly thing (x2) is apparently not something these people were used to and therefore perceived as not being serious. The most ironic thing is that when it comes to golf, both Deb and I are as serious as a heart attack whereas from what we saw both ahead of and behind us that day, the sentiment isn’t shared.

The reality is: things are not usually as they appear. Sometimes we see our ball land perfectly on the green and from where we stand it looks like it is 6 inches from the hole and we beam. Once we walk up and realize it’s more like 6 feet, we aren’t as happy, but for the few minutes that we thought we almost aced it, we experience happiness. That happiness is real, even if it is only based upon your perception of the situation at that exact moment.

Don’t judge a book by its cover and for pity’s sake: NEVER let the blonde hair fool ya.

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