diffusion or confusion

The other night I had dinner with a group of people. Two of them had only met me once before. One of those two runs around in a former social circle of mine, the other does not. Despite the fact that when initially meeting them some time ago I had introduced myself as Jessica, and that’s what everyone around here calls me, the former referred to me as Jess in conversation.

It reminded me of the origin of Jess as part of my semi-public life.

There was a point in graduate school where I let on to my dissertation adviser that some people call me Jess by signing an email to her that way. Some time later I heard another faculty member call me Jess. It stood out like a sore thumb and tripped a switch in my head. I realized that these he’d been chattin’ it up with my dissertation adviser. I listened carefully over the next couple years (at Arizona, but also at conferences and on interviews) to figure out who was in the loop and who wasn’t and what forum the diffusion process was occurring in.

Of course it could all just be coincidence. I mean my son’s doctor calls me Jess. However, chances are the diffusion processes continues. To think it all started with the one time I signed my email shorthand.

2 thoughts on “diffusion or confusion”

  1. That’s true, Jeremy. I don’t mind, really. There is something about the way that people who are confident about it say it (versus those who are testing the waters, like the allergist). I think that I’m pretty good at figuring out who’s heard it before and who’s making it up.


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