Have you ever had people say things to you — and I’m talking nice things here — that made you see yourself as someone other than the person you think you are? It always amazes when I see myself from somebody else’s perspective since usually the image does not jive at all with the image I have of myself. I mean, it sort of makes you wonder if the private you — the one that mostly lives inside your head — and the public you — the one that goes to work and the grocery store and PTA meetings — have anything in common whatsoever. This past week I had three people say things to me/ask me questions that threw me for a loop: 1) The person who cuts and styles my hair told me, “You’re always so sweet and cheerful when you come in. It just makes me day,” when really I think of myself as crabby and grumpy, especially when I have to spend $$$ just to make my hair look presentable; 2) the person working in the dressing rooms at my favorite discount-clothing store asked me if I knew where to find a purse with a clasp closure for a Christmas present, when I really think of myself as someone who can barely find her own purse and get outside the door with two matching shoes; and 3) a person in local-theater circles and I were chatting at a local coffee shop about the struggles of writing and what to do when you hit a wall and I said that caffeine always helps and this person said that (insert name of illegal drug) helps, too, and then sort of paused as if waiting for me to suggest we go get some. So in the space of three days, I’ve been identified as sweet, stylish and a drug user — when really I’m just a grouchy un-put-together coffee fiend. Sigh.