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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Forgive me, but I judge.

I hate the Myers-Briggs test. I have a distain for both corporate and touchy-feely things and the test somehow manages to achieve both. I’ve been forced to take it in the workplace and in graduate school. While my personality apparently changed between the times I took it (though I strongly believe it was the moods I was in when I took it that influenced the way I answered the questions), the J for Judgment was consistent.

I judge food. I hate food trends, and was particularly appalled by the wrap craze that has thankfully come and gone. The syrup-infused, calorie-laden, milkshake-like drinks at Starbucks send shivers down both my spine and taste buds. I think sweet bagels (with fruit, chocolate chips, or berries) are just wrong. Anyone who knows me well has probably heard my monologue on muffins on numerous occasions. I harbor a special hatred for muffins from COSTCO. These stale monstrosities are no substitute for breakfast and I won’t eat them no matter how hungry I am.

Of course my judgment extends further than food. I judge books. In the early ‘90’s, when I worked as a bookseller, I played a little game with myself and tried to figure out what books customers would buy, just based on my first impression of them. I have to say my predictions were often right. I learned to spot little giveaway clues. Women carrying ethnic bags liked Barbara Kingsolver. Another group easy to spot were those in search of The Celestine Prophecy.

I am suspicious of best sellers, though not always above reading them. Yes, I confess I read The DaVinci Code. It’s the perfect plane book. I took the cover off so that someone like me wouldn’t spot me reading it. I am similarly judgmental of Oprah’s book club books. I recognize she has done a great thing and got people reading who otherwise might not. But I don’t want to read the same books as other people! When she switched over to classics, I couldn’t help but notice all the books were ones I’d read in high school.

I don’t really have a problem with my judgment of things like food and books. It’s not really hurting anyone and it’s kind of funny. But I am trying to be more mindful of the judgments I make about people. I’ve been hurt by snap judgments people have made about me and I don’t really want to pass this on to other people. I also love changing my mind about people I’ve initially disliked.

The other week, I had dinner with L & E. We lived together a couple of lifetimes ago and to be honest, L. and I didn’t have the best relationship. We were living in an apartment too small for four people, and we weren’t really old enough to have figured out that we could actually talk about some of the issues between us.

I’ve run into L. & E. several times in the past few years and it’s been great to discover that anything difficult between us is well in the past. We finally made a real plan, so we could actually catch up on the past 15 years.

L. is a great cook and made an insanely high-fat dinner, pasta with sausage, cream and parmesan. I ate butter on my bread and I even had gelato. The evening merited it. We had one of those symphonic conversations you can only have with people you have either just met or haven’t talked to in years.

Then I said something catty about someone we both know and I was immediately embarrassed. I didn’t want to present myself this way, when things were still new between us.

I started to apologize, but L. interrupted me, telling me that if a person finds herself at a point in her life where she is not judgmental of anything or anyone, a part of her has died.

L., I am so sorry we wasted our time judging each other in the past. I had no idea how much we had in common.




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