During the finals week, I was standing at the bus stop on campus. A woman approached me and said, “I’m sorry, could you help me? Would you happen to know when the graduation ceremony is going to be?”
“I’m going to be there, so I know for sure,” I replied. “It’s on Saturday, at 1 pm.”
“Oh, you are graduating already?” the woman asked with a smile.
I’m used to this kind of thing, so I explained, “I’m a professor.”
“A professor?” the woman exclaimed. “You look like you are barely twenty!”
“No,” I smiled. “I’m 36.”
“That is incredible!” the woman said. “Oh, I know why you look so young. You must be a farm girl. I’m right, aren’t I? You were born on a farm?”
“No, actually I’m a big city girl,” I said.
“Unbelievable!” the woman said. “The way you look and you accent made me think you had to be from a farm in Oklahoma!”
I know I look well-fed but Oklahoma? A farm? Not that there is anything wrong in being from a farm in Oklahoma, of course, but it isn’t the first time I feel completely misjudged by the world. I see myself as tortured, dark, gloomy, unsociable, and Bohemian, while everybody else perceives me as a cheerful, ultra-sociable, networking Oklahoma farm girl.
P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was holding a dozen and a half eggs in a box in my hands as this conversation unfolded. I buy organic eggs from a guy at work and I was taking them home that day. Maybe seeing me with eggs in my hands made the woman think of farms.