There is a quote from this book that I really like:"I deal with people like him a hundred times a day. They look at me and naturally assume I'm not as smart as they are. God help us. But think about it, it's a tremendous tactical advantage, not to mention personally liberating, to have others think I'm a dummy."
And I'm gonna tell you why I like it.
I don't hear very well. I mean, as in, I don't hear, at all, without my hearing aids. In 24 years of dealing with this, I've come to embrace my ability to silence the world, and I've started to talk a bit about my hearing loss and other issues online, like at my blog Hearing Sparks
. But just coming to accept it does not mean that the difficulties stop.
In this book, Marcelo, with his unique way of looking at the world and processing what he sees and hears, is often regarded as slow or stupid by the people around him. His quiet and pensive ways do not fit in well with the people he encounters, who want things to move faster, want to be able to make jokes at rapid speed and not wait for someone to catch up. The quote above is not from Marcelo but from a Mexican-American lawyer he encounters during his summer working at his father's law firm. The lawyer, though he does not have any processing difficulties, faces the same kinds of issues that Marcelo has to deal with, for different reasons. Other people in the book encounter the same thing or even deprecate their own mental faculties.
I started to say I don't encounter this kind of thing as often as Marcelo does in his book, but the fact is that it comes close. Some of it is in my mind. Like Marcelo, but for different reasons, I have to take conversations a bit slower, and my mind is constantly working to fill in the gaps of words and even entire phrases I missed. I am never quite sure if I have the tone of an interaction right, and I always feel as though I am two steps behind, even though if I do understand the words, I can process them as naturally as anyone else. Certain things Marcelo thought during the book resonated with me, and made me think about the multitude of ways people can come to the same thoughts no matter how varied their backgrounds.
I've never thought about it the same way the lawyer does in the quote above. It never actually occurred to me that people's opinions can be used to my own tactical advantage. It is a neat way of looking at it. Really, this quote is just one of many insightful thoughts scattered about the book. It's full of thoughtful stuff.