Jewels of Elul, a way that helps you think about the past year had an article about first impression. Here it is, go read it.
My first impressions are usually so far off, that unless I get one that makes me think I am in immediate danger, I have started to ignore them. The biggest case for this is when I met my sister.
I was a freshman in college. Still trying to figure where I fit in. I basically followed my roommate around like a puppy. I liked her--then. The fact that she asked how I hid my horns or if I filed them down in all seriousness seemed funny to me. She was an Asian woman from Iowa, and had never seen a Jew before. I followed her to the taking of a picture of the whole freshman class. I met two guys--one of which would become my husband. Later that week, the upperclassmen came back.
Our next door neighbors were happy sophomores. One small and thin as a rail. One large and beautiful. Built like a female linebacker with a thick southern accent--she scared me. My roommate blew her off--not interested. I followed her again as we were both rushing the sororities.
I don't know what the sororities were looking for that year in 1989. I just know I didn't have it.
My roommate got a bid and ran off to join her new "sisters". Most of the people who I hung out with at that point got bids and I was alone in our room on a Friday night.
I sat on my bed and cried and cried. I heard the people next door come in--laughing and having fun. Then I heard their stereo go on playing Billy Joel's You're Only Human. It was just the song I wanted to hear. Then I heard one of my favorite songs in life--Sometimes A Fantasy. I got off of my bed and opened the door to make it louder. It still wasn't loud enough. I debated for about five minutes whether or not to knock on the door of my next door neighbor's.
I won't bother them, I thought. I'll just knock and ask them to turn the music up.
I knocked on the door.
The thin one opened the door. There were three people in a circle on the floor with poker chips. A short and attractive guy with dark hair, dark eyes, and an amazing Austrailian accent. A tall blonde guy with a comforting and familiar New York accent. And her.
She was lying face down on the floor, propped up on her elbows. She (and several others) were wearing an APhiO T-shirt. She smiled up at me. It welcomed me in.
I walked in and said that I liked Billy Joel and could they turn it up. I was invited to stay.
"I don't know how to play poker," I said. Everyone cheered. People moved over and I was welcomed. I was introduced around the room. I shook hands all around, but when I touched this woman's hand I swear I felt a jolt.
Years later, we discussed it and she said she had felt one too.
"It said, 'Oh, There you are.'"
I don't remember much of that evening. I remember laughing like I hadn't laughed before. I remember winning and losing many hands of poker. I remember talking about where I had come from. I remember understanding, soul deep understanding, from a stranger--no--a old friend who I had just met.
I remember the woman knocking on my door the next morning to see if I wanted to go with her to breakfast. That was it. From that day to this one I have my person. She's the one who shoved me to go out with D. I introduced her to her husband. She is my daughter's godmother and the mother of my goddaughter.
She is my sister.
My first impressions were dismissive--and how wrong they were.