Personal Taste

In one form or another, overall, personal taste is acquired through influence and choice. It truly is amazing as the years go by how we develop our own personal favorite items and subjects. As we well know, taste can greatly differ from person to person…yet, realistically, is it an accident how we arrive at the things we want to see, hear, and do?

Fashion, hobbies, electronics, the arts, and even our occupations are affected by what we choose on a day to day basis. Just about everything is open to the voice of opinion. Personal taste is supposed to be freedom of thought…we freely choose what it is that we want and need. The scenario looks wonderful on paper, until mankind gets a hold of it and starts to mold and sculpt to a given person’s viewpoint. For example, can you believe that an individual could enjoy both the music of Led Zeppelin and the Partridge Family? I kid you not….I remember waiting on line in a record store growing up and seeing this long-haired hip looking guy go up to the counter and buy both albums. The clerk behind the counter did a double take, and this is where influence started to have its affect. Because it was not cool to like the Partridge Family, but totally cool, ultra-cool, to enjoy Led Zeppelin, the guy buying the records, when seeing the reaction on the clerk’s face, replied, “Hey man, don’t you know I’m only getting the Partridge Family for my kid sister?” Years later, when I went back to my old neighborhood, I ran into the guy who still lived down the block from my house…I reminded him of the incident, and he said to me, “Jennifer, in all honesty, I loved the Partridge Family, but I couldn’t, to save my life, tell anyone!” Same rules apply across the board…movies, cars, vacation spots…it matters what people think about our choices and personal tastes. Unfortunately what’s “cool” matters.

Let’s raise the bar a little. Three ladies go into a showroom to see the latest model Jaguar. One likes it in blue…one prefers red…while the other likes green. They all agree that it is a great car, so each one purchases the automobile, with the color of choice. Over coffee a week later, they start to have a full blown discussion of whose color is the best. They all have the same car, but the color now has become the new standard of excellence. As the weeks roll past, everything on the car is scrutinized inside and out…and each lady starts to incorporate into their car their own personal tastes…new radios, new radial tires…..hey, one even applies a clever bumper sticker…each person trying to make their car stand out as the best, while all along they’re driving the same car. Personal taste totally changed their perception.

Is it any wonder why this world is so hard to figure out sometimes? Why so many have such a hard time getting along? My house is better than your house, my kids are smarter than your kids, and why not throw in, my religion is better than your religion? At this point we have hit the motherlode of the world’s problems. You see, if I am willing to die for my religion, and you are willing to die for yours, and we have a disagreement, guess what? we both die!!

Personal taste is a wonderful form of individuality…as long as we keep it within reason, and respect someone else whose taste may differ. What are the chances of two people agreeing on everything? Practically zero. Multiply that by a few billion, and you get one confusing square dance. If everyone at the dance makes up their own steps without any regard to a basic standard, then chaos reigns, and everyone gets stepped on.

We don’t always have to agree….but we do have to respect our differences. There is Life and there is Law. It’s what’s in-between where we can get lost. Passion isn’t perfect…and neither are we.

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2005 Jennifer Avalon

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