My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Not Bad, You Just Don't Like It

I've overheard more than one occasion tableside discussion at my work which followed some variation on the following theme: the server presents a wine, describing its characteristics and qualities. The patron then tries it, only to exclaim that the wine is terrible and that she absolutely hates it.
Hours later, the server who helped her quips back: It's not bad, you just don't like it.
Now, there are a lot of factors to consider in judging the quality of a wine, and I'll admit to being quite ignorant of most of them. That said, I know when I like a wine and when I don't, even if I can't really articulate why. But I also realize that palates differ, and it isn't for me to judge something harshly just because it doesn't agree with my tongue.
It reminds me how much we slap judgments on everything in our lives. Granted, there's a certain amount of processing and filtering we must perform in order to take the incredible amount of data we receive on a daily basis and make some sense of it. But it's one thing to observe the world we live in, and another to say it's this, that or the other. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. What the fuck do we know anyway?
I've found myself guilty of this in the form of thinking about a girl. Forgetting for a moment the basic premise than any boy will generally lose his hard-earned sense of reason and logic when musing about a girl he likes; I have spent substantial amounts of time thinking, nay, overthinking various moments and memories until I've worked myself into a neurotic frenzy over what was probably nothing in the first place. Why did she do this? What does that mean? And will it all end in tears? And so on and so forth, ad nauseum. While I consider myself reasonably intelligent and level-headed, things like this make me question: am I so different from the woman at the bar snarling at a perfectly good bottle of wine?
There are an infinite variety of people, thoughts, ideas, expressions, and everything else you can imagine. Just because something is strange to us doesn't mean it's bad. But it's not even that. I think it's foolish to hastily attach value judgments to things, certainly; for how can you know what a thing is with only a cursory glance? Oftentimes the best things reveal themselves only reluctantly, and over time. You just need to give them room to make themselves at home, maybe have a glass of wine or two, and eventually, you might come to see what they really are. What really gets me, though, is the knowledge that beyond simple ignorance, closing our doors to new and different things is terribly limiting. Isn't that the way we grow? It scares me to open myself up to the possibility of letting myself be changed by life, instead of manning the controls with an iron fist all the time.
But if it's scary, it must be worth trying.

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