Have you ever been reluctant to tell someone, or even comment on a particular situation because the mere uttering of those words might make it appear as though you think yourself superior to others? Like at a restaurant, when ordering wine you don’t speak up about the menu’s offerings because the person across the table will likely make some idiot remark about how “stuck up” you are. Why is that? Why does a more complex understanding of some subject matters perpetuate that kind of response from others? And why, for that matter, should anyone care?
When a plumber talks plumbing, no one tells him he’s acting high and mighty. When a tenured teacher talks curriculum standards, no one tells her she doesn’t have a clue or that she’s patronizing. When a painter tells you what sheens are better suited for your home’s interior walls, you don’t hale him the pompous painter. But, when a friend, a co-worker, an acquaintance, when they pipe up about wine, more often than not people accuse them of arrogance. And sometimes, in a self-effacing sort of way, the “arrogant” one learns to keep their mouth shut and sadly falls victim to Imposter Syndrome – and quite frankly, that simply isn’t fair. (NOTE – “Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved” – not what I thought it was either!)
I know someone who grew up in a town that’s geography lends itself to winter sports – and he, like so many of his friends growing up, started skiing about the same time he could walk … not all that long ago he made a comment about the skiing – or lack there of – in the South and I heard someone else tell him he grew up more privileged that most. Thing is, that’s simply not true – because everyone skied there. Had the person thought a bit more perhaps they would have realized that the privileged ones were more likely to have learned to surf and scuba dive than ski.
As for wine, I grew up in wine country – arguably surrounded by some of the best wineries in the county – and while some people might find my knowledge disdainful, it is knowledge – and for that, I am unapologetic … especially to the fella that called me a wine snob at the dinner table a few weeks ago. Drink to that!