What's the best way react when you're scrutinized and found lacking?
I once read an article about famous Hollywood types who feel compelled throw around their celebrity to get their way. "Do you know who I am?" Apparently that question opens doors, gives them discounts, offers a way out of legal situations, etc. Those people had learned how to get what they want by throwing the weight of their fame in the faces of anyone opposing their desire. That's too bad. I've always been an Acts 10:34 gal, treating everyone equally. After all, if it's good enough for God, it's good enough for me. If you're wondering, here's the verse: Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism." I've never dropped the do-you-know-who-I-am line (ha! As if . . .), but I did have an awkward moment once when someone was trying to figure out who I was.
I had been invited to a private study group that meets in Denver. The event that day was a field trip to a local cultural site. After the presentation, refreshments were served. I knew practically no one there. A middle-aged woman came up to me, and we introduced ourselves. "Now who are you?" she asked. The question caught me off guard since I'd just introduced myself. Not knowing what to say, I smiled and repeated my name. "We've never met, have we?" she asked. "No." "Well, who are you?" I explained that I was invited to the event as a guest of the group's coordinator. The lady nodded. "Still . . ." She looked me up and down. "You must be someone's daughter, right?" At this point I was growing uncomfortable with the scrutiny. She obviously didn't think I had the qualifications to be among that revered group. She cocked her head, and I could see the wheels turning as she tried to figure out how I landed in her world. "Yes." I shrugged. "I am someone's daughter." I took a sip of my lemonade, put down my glass, and walked away. Clearly, she thought I didn't belong in that gathering. That happened about 20+ years ago, and I still recall the feeling of being pushed out by the cool/mean girl. I wish I'd had a snappy retort. But more importantly I remember how it felt to have someone scrutinize me and finds me lacking. I vowed I'd never treat a stranger that way. In the long run, that moment of discomfort was a good thing. It helped me to grow and understand how important it is to treat everyone respectfully. I've become that person who welcomes new people into a group or saves a seat for someone who's coming to a writers' event for the first time.
So, sometimes bad situations can produce good results. But, I'm sure you know that.