We judge others instantly by their clothes, their cars, their appearance, their race, their education, their social status. The list is endless. What gets me is that most people decide who another person is before they have even spoken to them. What's even worse is that these same people decide who someone else is, and don't even know who they are themselves.
There was a sargeant at a desk. I knew he was a sergeant because I recognized the marks on his uniform, and I knew it was a desk because it's always a desk. There's always someone at a desk, except when it's a table that functions as a desk. YOu sit behind a desk, and everyone knows you're supposed to be there, and that you're doing something that involves your brain. It's an odd, special kind of importance. I think everyone should get a desk; you can sit behind it when you feel like you don't matter.
We had been assured by our elders that intelligence was a family trait. All my kin and forebears were people of substantial or remarkable intellect, thought somehow none of them had prospered in the world. Too bookish, my grandmother said with tart pride, and Lucille and I read constantly to forestall criticism, anticipating failure. If my family were not as intelligent as we were pleased to pretend, this was an innocent deception, for it was a matter of indifference to everybody whether we were intelligent or not. People always interpreted our slightly formal manner and our quiet tastes as a sign that we wished to stay a little apart. This was a matter of indifference, also, and we had our wish.
Humans are animals and like all animals we leave tracks as we walk: signs of passage made in snow, sand, mud, grass, dew, earth or moss.. We easily forget that we are track-markers, through, because most of our journeys now occur on asphalt and concrete--and these are substances not easily impressed.