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You did what?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a school librarian and I understand that my profession has a certain image associated with it. But I’ve been known to do things that are unexpected or somewhat out of character. For example, I curse creatively. Truly. I don’t do it often, but when I do, it’s like poetry.  Another thing I do?  I tend to find the perverse in something totally innocent.  There are times when I’ll be in a conversation with someone and a comment will have me giggling, because a double-entendre sent my mind right to the gutter. So, surprising people is nothing new. But I had a funny situation pop up the other day when I was in the main office chatting with my principal and his secretary.

We were all at a retirement dinner the night before, and I was happy because I’ve lost some weight recently and people really noticed. That brought the conversation around to healthy eating and I mentioned that when I turn 50, I want to complete a 5K.

Then somehow, we circled around to what I did to mark my 40th birthday.

“Oh, I got a tattoo.”

No lie. I did.

My principal looked at his secretary and grinned. “Amazing what you find out about people when you talk to them, isn’t it?”

Now, I wasn’t worried about shocking anyone because I’ve worked in this building for three years and the only people who knew I had a tattoo were people I’d told. I’m not ashamed if it in any way. The image was designed by a close friend (it’s beautiful) and is located on the back of my right shoulder. It’s easy to cover and very discreet, which is how I wanted it. No one knows I have one unless I say something. But the whole exchange had me thinking about relationships and how things have changed over the years.

My principal’s comment is very true. We live in a world that’s all about quick messages and superficial information, but when you take the time to talk and engage with others, you find out things you didn’t expect. I enjoy conversation and I’ve learned a lot about people because I’ve taken the time to talk, to ask questions, to engage. I never get tired of being surprised and I like developing the kinds of bonds that only form when you get below the surface.

Has there been a time when you totally shocked someone? Or did you find out something about a friend that surprised you? Throwing off pre-conceived notions is fun for me—even if it’s only for a moment.