Earlier this week (Monday) on my way into the Microeconomics class, a student (who was hoping to get a late admission) thought that I was the professor, rather than the student that I actually am.
Personally, I find such inicidents alarming. They might be amusing if it wasn't for the frequency that such inicidents occur in my world. Considering how often I am mistaken for places that I don't, or for being an expert in a subject that I barely understand, I occasionally find myself wondering why it happens.
My latest theory is that I suspect that I carry the air of authority around with me. I would blame it on age, except that it has been happening for years; there is also the fact that I come across much younger than I really am. It is definitely not my Adeptship, for it was happening long before I took my Inner Order oath.
It probably wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for one thing. I know how much I don't actually know.
Realistically, I realize that the experts of various fields can not know everything about their area of expertise. Just a quick glance through the pages of an older textbook while comparing it to a newer textbook reveals how much the experts had it wrong. For a good laugh, do the comparsion with a text that is a hundred years old.
So obvivously, it is more of a personal problem of belief rather than one of actual substance. My own belief is that I am the last person that should be an authority. This belief rises its ugly head everytime I recieve an email from someone asking me a question about why something is done the way it is. It also acts up twice a year when the lodge decides to leave me in my current office. There is also that annoying part of it grinding its teeth whenever someone I admire (call them mentors and teachers, loyal friends and people who know where their towel is at) treat me as if someday I will end up teaching others. Or remind me that much of what I am currently doing makes me a de facto authority.
At my age (forty-two as of tomorrow), you would think that my self-image would have caught up with my experience. After all, I have been a lodge officer constantly since the start of 1998, besides serving a couple of years in Hathoor Temple. And there is that whole business of management and being a writer.
But then again, my thought is that maybe it is a good thing that I have a hard time considering myself an authority. Many of the worst experts are those who consider all their opinions true and absolute. This type of expert either has never learned or has forgotten how to say "I don't know"; something that I say at least once a day.
If I am lucky and the lodge is smart, the instant I consider myself an infalliable expert (aka authority), they will remove me from office. Cross your fingers for both of our sakes.