Saturday, May 31, 2008


About fifteen minutes after I woke up this morning there was a knock on my door. I thought I had heard my landlord's voice earlier so perhaps there was some emergency he was going around to warn the tenants about. I open the door and did not see my landlord. "I take it you are the king of this castle?" It was some kid who I would guess might be 16 or so. He was incredibly obnoxious. He kept bouncing around telling me I can help him get enough points to win a thousand bucks to go towards a trip to some mystery location. He wouldn't say where at first, but he gave me a hint: "You can't drink the water but you don't want to down the worm if you know what I mean." He confused my flat affect with ignorance as I told him to cut to the chase. But no, he wanted me to read the question written in the red box on the card he was carrying around. As I closed the door on him, he thanked me in a way that tried to make it seem like I was the asshole in the dialogue. That kid was lucky that I was already awake, because if he had woken me up he would be trying to avoid sucking up the worm with his straw.

What astounded me about the whole interaction was the extreme level of confidence demonstrated by this kid. I'm not envious, as this little exercise shows that there is an upper limit where too much confidence makes you really annoying, but I am aware that the highest level of confidence I have ever demonstrated has certainly paled in comparison. Yes, there have been instances where I have demonstrated cajones, but those were more in response to some sort of adrenaline rush or some other breaking point. I visualize confidence as sauntering, not barging in guns blazing.

One of my pet peeves when I talk to people about my job is the initial response that I get 90% of the time. "I'm the manager at a bowling center." "Oh, I suck at bowling." Usually this conversation takes place in singles chat rooms (shut up) and it certainly takes the flirtiness out of the situation. I realize that they might think they are being self-deprecating, but that would be like me responding to a guy saying "I'm in real estate" with "Oh, I suck at selling houses." To me, it's a confidence issue. I would be much more comfortable with a guy that said "I don't like bowling" than someone who immediately discounts their abilities.

It's a bit strange talking about this topic. I felt so confident leaving high school and Oberlin did a fantastic job of destroying any and all confidence I had built up in myself. It is only recently that I have finally felt like I have been coming into my own. I've been out of school for 3 years: that's a long time. Don't worry: at this pace I will be like that kid when I'm in my seventies. I'm fairly confident in that estimation.

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