I was sitting in a local café, the natural habitat of a writer, enjoying a cappuccino. The tables were close together, a pretty common feature in cafes these days. This afforded me the opportunity to hear every word that the two young women at the table next to me were saying.
One of the women, a golden, glowing creature, was wearing a top with lines of blue polka dots on a white background. And her friend took it upon herself to give Polka-Dot, as I’ll call her for handy reference, some fashion advice.
‘Don’t take this the wrong way now,’ she said, lowering her voice and leaning forward, ‘but that top looks a bit childish on you.’
Why did she say that?
Did she really intend to steer Polka-Dot onto the path of fashion righteousness?
Was she feeling a certain smugness inside, at the thought that her fashion sense might be superior to Polka-Dot’s?
Or did she want to dim Polka-Dot’s lightbulb?
I believe there are certain people who prefer to keep their lightbulbs dim. In other words, they prefer to attract as little attention as possible. Which is fine, until they try to dim other people’s lightbulbs.
When they are in the company of a person who glows, as Polka-Dot did, they try to take away that lustre, so that they can then feel more comfortable. And they will often do it in kind, well-intentioned tones. It’s a force so deep inside them that they may not be aware of it, a dancing devil that wants to keep them and everyone else in the dark.
What Did Polka-Dot Think?
Polka-Dot seemed willing to consider that her friend’s intentions were good.
‘Yeah, I suppose,’ she said, smiling ruefully. ‘Think I got dressed with my eyes closed this morning.’
The conversational current moved the two friends past the danger zone, words tumbling out of their mouths, interspersed with frequent ripples of laughter. But every now and then, Polka-Dot looked dubiously at her top. And I felt sure that whatever her friend’s intentions, Poka-Dot had not left the house that morning thinking her top looked childish. Her friend had succeeded in dimming Polka-Dot’s lightbulb