Of perceived snobbery and painful shyness

Had it not been for my sister’s comment about what people at school (we both attended the same university in college) told her when they found out I was her brother, I would not have known.

It always went (in Hiligaynon): “Utol mo? Suplado man to!”

Suplado. Aloof. Snob.

Things that, up until she told me, were the farthest from how I saw myself. I mean I knew I was tipping toward the more intense side of introversion as early as high school, but to actually think of myself as a snob did not really occur to me. I always attributed that aspect of myself to shyness and the conscious effort to avoid people for fear of saying something stupid or unknowingly offend someone with what I’d probably say or do.


So it was more like avoidance instead of not acknowledging someone’s presence because of some weird sense of defiance or veiled hostility. I always thought aloofness and snobbery were always attributed to another form of elitism that positions the offender to a higher pedestal than the supposed “victim” of the snobbery.

Maybe it’s the way my face is arranged. I admittedly do have sharp features that doesn’t help when I’m not smiling. I even have such bad eyesight that I can’t recognize a face a foot from mine without help from corrective lenses. So on days when I accidentally sit on my glasses, a lot of the people I meet in the hallways who gave a nod of acknowledgment or smile were sure to get an icy non-response from me. Add that factor to my already soiled reputation and you’d have a pretty solid case readily accepted by the courts.

Facebook inquiries to my former classmates and colleagues corroborated that observation. Which I found to be very unbelievable because I do enjoy talking and interacting with people who come up to me and start a conversation. I can’t start random conversations with strangers the way my father and my sister do with no effort, but that does not mean I hate people.

So there, the world is unfair and there’s your proof that whatever self-image you always thought you projected to the outside world is not necessarily what people see.

I even reminded someone of Oscar The Grouch.

Now that, classic.

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