I was talking to someone the other day that made the statement that he hates speaking with people who have that “deer caught in the headlights” look. I have the look a lot lately when talking with people. This particular person is one of them. (In fact, he thought he was being sly and insulting me without me realizing what he was trying to do.) For some time, I had been questioning my intelligence. Actually, I have said that as I get older that I get dumber and have believed it. Recently, I am feeling that is not the full story. Perhaps, that is not the story at all.
Ninety percent of the time, I find people whom I am speaking with deserve either a civil and intelligent challenging retort or the deer caught in the headlights response. Since half the time the deserved is a person who has some authority, and I do believe in choosing one’s battles, I opt for the latter.
Granted, having a “superior” or colleague mistake your far-off wandering eyes toward the nearest ray of light as stupidity may not be a smart move; often times, we — the completely sane, clever, scholarly, and thinking people — don’t realize we are even doing it. Or, as in some of my cases, we are battling a need to give the “WTF” look, which never goes over well. So the compromise is this.
Realizing this has restored some self-dignity. A week ago, I would not have been strong enough to admit that the reason why I am baffled when speaking with some people on certain topics or when speaking with specific people at all is because they are actually baffling. I would have felt as if I was covering up for some deficiency of my own. I readily admit that I have my issues but no longer will I lie to myself about this one on those occasions where the person that I am speaking with or listening to is spewing some form of bullshit or is completely batshit.
To my fellow deer-caught-in-the-headlight gazers — and I know that you are out there — I implore you too to release yourself from this self-flagellation and recognize that your blank stares in the distance are not all the time due to a loss of proper brain functioning, diminished intelligence, boredom, or ADHD. The problem could be the person in front of you.