Monday, April 25, 2011

surprisingly common

Sometimes, I forget how common I am and how typical I am due to the fact that I'm just removed from those who would be, on paper, my "peer group" (if, of course, you define "peers" as those with whom you have a lot in common).

I stumbled upon this link today showing the results of a survey of PC vs. Mac users. I am a Mac user. I looked at the list and thought, "Holy hell...this defines me without me even participating." Obviously not the entire list hit its mark, but things that I'd never thought as being definitional (is that a word) seemed to be pegging/labeling me.

For example, I found a book recently at the airport that seemed interesting titled Zeitun. The title struck me as the word is arabic and means "oil". The story was relatively well written even if overly dramatic and maudlin, but I enjoyed the quick read nonetheless. I didn't think it a particularly memorable piece of literature...but low and behold, "Mac people" like Zeitun.

What else? Apartment Therapy--a daily read for me--made the list. The Road, Dwell Magazine...even Hot Toddies, a drink my mom turned me onto to overcome a cold, made the list.

I freaked a little, that I'd be THAT predictable, but I guess none of us are really "original" in any sense of the word. And, I think computers make us feel even less so. Three decades ago, I could have developed a similar set of tastes and personal style and felt quite unique and individual without knowing that somewhere there was a subset of people living and liking the same things as I--only now they're easy to find on the internet because when I google my own tastes, I find their blogs and pages and networks and think, "oh man, I'm NOT original, some dude in Detroit already thought of it!"

As a corollary to what I wrote above, my friend Alex made a good point long ago to me when she was in college. She said that what one likes and those extraneous things don't really matter all that much and can, in fact, influence you negatively into forming a favorable impression of someone new. So, you meet someone new and think, "Oh, he likes X, Y and Z and doesn't like A, B and C, just like me! He must be good people..." Only to find out soon thereafter that said person is kind of a dick, always late and a backstabber.

Being in the military has helped me to overcome that by virtue of the fact that when you meet people, generally they're stripped of all those extraneous things and you judge them on their character. Then you throw a party and realize that people who like A, B and C and having drinks with people who like X, Y and Z and didn't even know J existed because they call it "pop" or "supper" where they're from...kind of a cool little dynamic if you ask me!


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