Recently, I had a moment where I thought someone couldn’t possibly be for real and I was about to use his face to sharpen my claws . . . and then he responded with disarming sincerity. It’s wonderful when that happens.
Sincerity—not honesty but the good-faith attempt to be honest, which seems far more powerful and important—is like a force of nature. It’s a technique of relating to other people and to oneself that supersedes all the usual forms of vanity, deceit, coercion, and betrayal we regularly inflict on each other just to make it through the day.
It’s something I tend to forget, since the vast majority of people I deal with are usually cynical, conniving, lost souls. My economic survival often means, as a freelancer, staying one step ahead of them and being prepared for the worst they have to offer. I’ve been burned in most ways you might imagine and in some ways you might not. And, because it is necessary to be a student of human nature, I usually walk away, saying, “Fool me once . . . ”
But people can surprise you. When they do, it’s worth noting—not only because it’s rare, but because sincerity is like water in the desert. You don’t know when you’ll see it again but, for the moment, it’s a relief.