Saturday, February 28, 2009

ENGL 200 Diagnostic Essay - Instructor: Abby Knoblauch

 (Egao No Genki)

ENGL 200 Diagnostic Essay

Abby Knoblauch

February 2009

I do not remember my successful persuasions as well as the failed ones so much because it is human nature to remember failures more. When I tried to persuade goes back to a situation involving a Jessi Linder. Back in March of ’03, during a “Blue Ribbon” assembly involving 6th graders, I was there to watch my sister, while Jessi and her family was there to watch her brother. Three months previous to that, she said that they got over some kind of situation and think I am okay now, but I wanted to test to see if she hadn’t said this under any kind of duress.

I tried to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Linder, but they kept walking away from me, pretending not to notice and act like something on the other side of the commons area was getting their attention. My gut told me they were purposefully trying to avoid me, so I thought that maybe she gave me what she said about her parents just so I would not stay preoccupied about their grudge anymore. Then I spotted their son Jake. I asked him how well he knows and thinks of my little sister, who was his classmate in some classes, and if he has heard anything about me from any of his family members since December. He thought Natasha was fine, and denied hearing anything about me. In the meanwhile, another sister stood behind him, arms crossed. Then Mrs. Linder grabbed him by his wrist and said, “Let’s go.” Her tone seemed urgent, and the first thought was she wanted every one of them to get away from me.

Knowing how long middle-aged adults hold their grudges, I knew it would have to take a lot to get back on their good side again. I was just some lanky high schooler, and the mistakes they make ought to be less culpable and more forgivable than the ones older students make.

Then 2005 rolled around, and I spotted Jessi in the library with her boyfriend Scott. We saw each other and went about our business. I gave her an email (Facebook was not as popular at K-State yet) and she replied. It read,


RE: Spotted a familiar person in the Library- was that you?

Hey Christian! I didn't know you remembered me. Yes, I was in the library playing cards. We were originally outside playing cards, but it got cold, so we moved inside. And yes, Alex and I have been over for a long time. I'm not sure what he's doing now, but last I heard he was done with training and was going to Japan.

Anyways, thanks for dropping me an e-mail. I hope you do well on your finals!


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 2:30 AM
Subject: Spotted a familiar person in the Library- was that you?

At approximately 2:10 AM in the Hale Library's 24-Hour Study Area, I was looking for a computer to work on, and while in my search, I saw two people playing cards at a table. One of them turned to look at me and I
thought, "She certainly looks familiar. That's Jessie, isn't it?"

I didn't wave because I'm the kind of person that waits for someone to wave at me first, unless I know them really, really well (as in have regular contact approximately once per week).

All the computers were in use so I had to go to Dickens Hall, right across the street.

If you were indeed the girl I saw at the 24-hour Study Area, what have you been up to? Evidently, gone are the days of Alex Barth! (What is he doing now?) It's great to see you again. Hopefully, your parents are still as nice as you said they were such a long time ago. (Are they?)The school year is getting close to a close so good luck on your
studies, especially for your finals.

Take care.


In the message I bolded (was not bolded in the actual email, of course), I alluded to her parents. I really wanted to ask if they are still as okay with me as she said they were, but I decided to be more careful than that. Unfortunately, she never answered that question so I still did not consider myself “out of the woods” with Mr. and Mrs. Linder.

We did not see each other again until the fateful 22nd of March 2007. I was at the checkout lane at Sam’s Club with my parents, and she and her parents suddenly appeared behind us, out of nowhere. I instantly recalled how the parents had a certain attitude about me and tried to avoid me four years earlier, and the fact that many middle-aged adults hold grudges that last for decades, and sometimes even to their graves! That is when I had reason to believe Mr. and Mrs. Linder still held a grudge, though I did not know for sure. My heart rate soared sky-high. I was wrestling inside whether to speak to them or not, but did not want to risk a vituperative tongue-lashing from her parents if they still in fact did hold a grudge. I knew there was no form of recourse – I did not know any mutual friend of Jessi’s parents, so I would not know anyone to go to for help if in case a verbal scourging or forms of slighting and disdaining came from them. 

I had no idea why I could not spot them first beforehand; if I had, then I would have told my parents that I would be browsing around Target (next to Sam’s) and briskly pace-walk out of there before the Linders saw me!

I was in the most precarious situation in a long time. I decided to feel “better safe than sorry” and go to the pizza counter when my parents told me to pick the pizza up when it was ready. I then got on my smartphone, and typed this message on Facebook’s mobile version:

Did we just see each other?

March 22 at 5:38pm

I think I just saw you at the Sam's Club, did I? It probably was you, or I wouldn't even be messaging you from this smartphone at Sams Club right now. I wanted to introduce myself & talk to your mother but I was trying to figure out what to say, to make sure I said everything right, and to make sure it would end on a good note. I guess I took too long because you & she already left. I was thinking about making amends personally with your mother about 2002 but wasn't sure if she forgot, remembered, or remembered but put it completely behind her (i.e. forgiven me.) I therefore wondered if bringing it up would've "reopened old wounds" so to speak, so that's why I hesitated. Did any of you talk about me, and has she really forgiven (or forgotten about) me? In any case, the (Egao No Genki) now is a much different person from the (Egao No Genki) of 2002, so I'm hoping she's considered that. Hope to hear from you soon.

I made my message look as careful and considered as I possibly could. I thought since she was a good, amicable friend in high school, she would be at least as amicable as she was back then, if not more. I did not get a response, and had assumed she may have been busy with lots of things at home and at school, so she might not have had time to get on Facebook at all. However, her status update (that SAME NIGHT) said she was “enjoying the rain.” Therefore, if she updated her status that night, she MUST HAVE seen my letter. She was still my Friend on Facebook, so I did not think it turned her off in any way.

Then shortly after Easter, I saw I had one less friend on the friend count. I checked each person I have sent messages to previously to see if any message sent caused them to take me off. (This was before I got the “Friends Tracker” application, which tells me immediately who took me off, so I had to spend over a minute to investigate.) Then I saw that Jessi took me off the list. I had absolutely no idea how that letter could cause her to take me off the list. I also thought, “If she read my message that same night, which HAD to be the case as indicated by updating her status that night, then why did she take TWO WHOLE WEEKS to decide to take me off the list? Why not right when she saw my message?”

Later that month, I passed her and her fiancé Scott on campus while I rode my bike to class. I would have talked to them and ask about this, but I was late to my Public Speaking I class so I could not. They were talking to each other so they passed me as if they did not notice me (or possibly pretended not to.)

In the summer, when I was helping Mom with the yard work, she asked me why I looked so withdrawn. After I used the restroom, I told her about Jessi, the time at Sam’s Club, and this message. About the message and her taking me off her friends list, she said, “You made her uncomfortable.” 

I do not often trust Mom’s advice because she is sometimes wrong; she being a Korean immigrant, Mom might not know about American trends and social norms as well as American women do. In fact, I recalled when she told me to dress a certain way in middle school before going to a skating rink. My fashion that night turned out to be a big FLOP – no girl wanted to be seen with me and some boys called me a loser and queer. I decided to lean on my own knowledge of American teen fashion the next time I went, and the kids there treated me with more respect that time. This is why I did not believe Mom anytime she told me what I thought sounded too awful to be true. (I go off the assumption that, “If something sounds too awful to be true, it had better be!” Yes, if anyone wonders, it derives from “If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”)

Later, I visited my old hometown of Chapman to see my old high school counselor again. She was not at home at the time so I left a note and was about to leave when she and a friend pulled up to the driveway. I was so glad I caught her just before I left. I asked her to refresh my memory about the situation with Jessi’s family in high school. She said the newsletter Jessi made for a class that I made copies of and passed around to a few friends made me seem like a threat. I asked if since that was just me acting like a high schooler, if any reasonable person would not still hold it against me when I have clearly matured in the several years since then. She agreed. Then I told her about the time at Sam’s Club. My former counselor plagiarized Mom: “You made her uncomfortable.” I did not point out that Mom also said this because I knew how nowhere that would go. I told her of a plan to send a mutual friend after her if I could not solve her problem myself and my former counselor did not object.

June 12th, 2007 arrived and I was at the Recreation Complex on the northern part of K-State. While I was minding my own business exercising, I saw Jessi and Scott pace walking down a track on the other side. Eventually, I walked toward one end of a building to use a treadmill. When I turned right to use it, out of the corner of my eye, Jessi jerked her head to her left. She and Scott were looking at me the whole time and waited for me to see them before she jerked her head. I had no idea what it meant, but my gut feeling told me it was not anything good. Then I went back upstairs to find them. They were not at their exercise stations anymore. I then turned back to the room from which I came, when I saw Jessi and Scott walking toward me on the track they were circling minutes earlier, Jessi looking down. Then they headed to the locker rooms and were not seen again.

It was made clear that she wasn’t going to let me reason with her, so I asked Larry Amer, a friend I knew for four years who was mutual friends with Jessi on Facebook, how he knew her. He beat around the bush on the message. Here is how it went:

(Egao No Genki)

June 12 at 8:16pm

So, how's summer been? What have you been up to?

But anyway, what I need to ask you is, how do you know Jessi Linder? How often do you speak with her? I suppose if you know her well enough, I'll tell you why I asked.

-(Egao No)


Larry Amer

June 12 at 10:05pm

I know her...i speak to her and her fiance. I actually just sent her a message yesterday...why?


(Egao No Genki)

June 12 at 11:03pm

Ok great. I guess whenever we see each other in person next time, I'll talk about it. Are you still in town this summer?


Larry Amer

June 13 at 4:06am

yes....but why were you curious whether or not i know her....that just seems kind of you know her?


(Egao No Genki)

June 13 at 6:02am

I knew her from middle & high school. When I looked through her list of mutual friends, you were one of the most promising connections since we both know Jacob Engle, Holland, Mike Spare, and other great people, as well as having known each other since about the '03-'04 year in Navs.

I waited until I could meet with him in person on the Sunday before the first day of classes in August. After his church service, we both went up and talked while up on the way to the Union. He said he knew Jessi from the residence halls, and that he was their photographer for their engagement photos. I told him all I could about her and the situation, and asked him to have her say why she took me off the friends list, what her parents thought of me these days, and if it is at all possible to convince her to be my friend on Facebook again. I was sure of Larry – he had more friends on Facebook than I did, so I had reason to believe he had more charisma and could smooth things over with people better. The fact that we have been friends for four years, and that he is an amicable guy, helped convince me that he was the guy for the task. So after over 30 minutes of talking, I told him that I had faith in his abilities, and that in case he failed, I would go to Kyle Baack, who was friends with her fiancé and get his help in smoothing things over. Moreover, that if Kyle Baack failed, I would get Amanda Lindahl, who knew Jessi for a long time, to have her help smooth things over between Jessi and me.

At the end, Larry said, “I don’t know if I have that much influence with her,” and said something I forgot right after. I told him to go speak to her face-to-face at her apartment, and I do not know if he did or how he contacted her. This was when I successfully persuaded someone to do something I requested him to do, and I requested Larry to persuade Jessi to do something I failed to persuade her to do, and change her mind from earlier. Later that same night, he gave me this message:

Larry Amer

August 19 at 11:52pm

She wanted me to tell you this.

Please just tell him that I am not mad at him for anything he has done to me (or believes he has done to me) or my family. My family isn't mad at him either.

She said she just feels a little uncomfortable...because you worry about it too much. She said she is not mad nor has she been....she just needs some space right now.

I had assumed that since she is not mad, she felt far better than I thought she felt. From the “needing space” part, I went under the presumption that if I waited a few months for her to cool down about the issue, I could talk to her again, so I decided to wait. I did not read too much into the message, because Larry made it sound like he really improved the situation between us. That is what also made me feel relieved for the 16 days my mind was at peace. Unfortunately, those were the last 16 days I ever felt enough abundance of inner peace.

On September 4, I checked Facebook to see if anything changed about Jessi. Then I could not find her on the search listings. I suspected immediately that she blocked me, so I logged onto a second account that nobody knew about, and when I searched again, there she was, on the top of the listing! The rest of the night, I felt like a family member just died.

I tried to get some counseling in ECS but an on-call counselor blew me off, claiming that it was “unethical” to serve someone who was already with Pawnee. That is when I failed to persuade somebody again; I failed to persuade a counselor to help me with the worst betrayal I have had in years. She made a report saying that I “mumbled,” which I believe is the professional metaphor for “I was completely tuned out from what he was telling me.” Her report’s notes did not mention my new betrayal, nor even made the slightest allusion to it. I did not want to go to Pawnee because they are not affiliated with the University, so they could not call in university students to mediate issues between each other. A Dorinda Lambert, one of the directors at ECS, was the one who ordered the counselor to blow me off. She has held a particular deep-seated dislike towards me since 2003. I was just being myself toward her then, and she does not seem to think that I have matured and developed myself since then, and will not shake her bad memory. Therefore Dorinda has made legitimate-sounding excuses to prevent me from getting help at ECS even though as a tuition-payer, I am entitled to their services, client of Pawnee or not. If they do not want to give me services, all they have to do is discount my tuition for the difference earmarked for ECS, and I promise not to speak of this again. I went to Pawnee as they made me, and predictably, that did not do me a bit of good.

I was going to send Kyle Baack after Scott, so after I told him about the situation and that sending Larry Amer failed, I told him only to go after Scott when I give him permission, and he respected that. My gut feeling told me not to, so I never gave permission. The last week of October came around, and when I searched for Scott again to see if he publicized his friends list by now (so I could learn what other mutual friends he has,) he did not show up again so I went through the same second account routine that I did when I looked for Jessi. He showed up again so I knew he blocked me too. Kyle denied ever going to Scott so I learned the theory that “time heals all wounds” was so false that nothing could be further from the truth. Something kept festering enough that even Scott, someone whom I have never talked to before, would block me too. Blocking on Facebook must be the greatest act of contempt I have ever gotten in recent memory. 

Now the face-to-face encounters with Jessi after September 4 were:

  1. I was riding my bike to the tutoring center early in October when Jessi was rolling a suitcase with a group of other friends or classmates. She was staring at me a mean, contemptuous stare. I was starting to think that maybe Larry did something more nefarious than he said he did. That he hated me inside, was friendly outside, and intended to ruin things more severely. To this day, I do not know how their meeting really went.

  2. Toward the end of October, I was getting out of the elevator on the ground floor of the Union. I saw two girls sitting on the steps to the exit. One of them hid her face behind her hair. Her pose while doing that looked rather awkward, and like she was purposefully hiding her face. Her hair was the same color and length as Jessi so I had a hunch she was probably Jessi behind her hair. How did she know it was I BEFORE she saw me appear from around the wall? Anyway, when I got on my bike, I passed the entrance again to see if she stopped hiding behind her hair yet and she still hid. To have the patience to hide behind her hair for so long would probably require so much contempt of anyone she hides from, so it was probable she was Jessi.

  3. On about the second week of November, I was walking toward a side exit in the Union cafeteria food court when I noticed Jessi staring at me. When I made eye contact, she swiftly lowered her head about half a second later. I thought, “Why won’t the passage of time ever heal anything anymore?” Whereas I previously pondered whether Larry’s influence was actually so weak, it only made things worse between Jessi and me, this got very evident.

  4. On the third or last week of January 2008, when I was folding my receipt at the front of Wal-Mart, I heard a faint whisper of “Christian…” coming from behind me. I took 10 seconds to slowly turn around, and there was Jessi again, with her hoodie up, shifting her eyes fast left and right. I thought, “Why does she HAVE TO let me know she’s here if she hates me so much? I gave her enough time to turn away and pretend not to notice me when I would not have been able to see her. Why did she not do that? Why does she have to keep rubbing it in and remind me just how much she holds me in contempt??”

  5. On the second week of February (February 10, 2008, I believe,) I was walking into Dillon’s on the east side of town and Jessi waited for me to make eye contact while staring at me. Then as soon as I saw her, she walked backwards with her cart. Her hair was cut shorter at this point, but her face still looked much like Jessi’s. Then I parked my cart on the other end of the aisle so I could pick some drinks. Then she started down my aisle and made her selections. As soon as she passed me, I finished my selection and followed about six-seven feet behind her to get to my cart. She acted natural, as if she did not know me at all. I presumed that if she had still held me in such deep contempt, she would start running away scared, but she calmly walked down the aisle as if she passed any regular guy. She acted better than I expected, so this could be a sign that her grudge toward me may be starting to dissolve! That was the last time I ever saw her.

Still, Jessi and Scott have me blocked on Facebook, and it still hurts me like an impalement in my side every day. I only ask that they both at least unblock me, as that would feel the equivalent of a surgeon carefully removing the source of my agony and healing the wound. The pair does not live in Manhattan anymore, so I cannot send another mutual friend after them. Therefore, my plan is to write them a letter and have a mutual friend personally deliver it to their home. They have since been married and moved to parts unknown, so I could not get it delivered myself, as I do not know their current address. That is why I will send it to a mutual friend first, with instructions to deliver it personally and be with them when they read it to make sure Jessi and Scott do not rip up the letter after only reading my name. I will also give my messenger two other copies just in case Jessi and Scott rip up the letter anyway before s/he could tell them to stop. 

I plan to give the letter to the mutual friend shortly before I board a flight out of the country, with instructions only to deliver it to Jessi and Scott as soon as I have left the United States. I plan to take this precaution in case they try to stir up a legal quagmire on me; they could not do such a thing to anyone outside of national jurisdiction. I have plans to serve in various causes and make a living outside the United States sometime after finishing college so this is when I will use this opportunity to my advantage. Included in this letter will be instructions to reply to me on Facebook, as it would be the most practical and cost-effective method available in that situation.

When I try to persuade them and change their mind through this planned letter, I will be sure to mention my Asperger Syndrome, and how during her training to become a secondary math teacher, she should have learned by now that Autism and related spectrum disorders are a fast growing epidemic among students today. (Now, about 1 in 150 children have varying forms of Autism.) More students with Autism Spectrum disorders are now entering mainstream classes, one of which Jessi would teach. I would hope that after she has taught a few such students that she would become more sympathetic to the plight of everyone with forms of Autism, including myself, and understand better why I was the way I was. 

From this newfound understanding, I sincerely hope she and Scott will learn to forgive me and dissolve their grudge towards me once and for all. I do not deserve their hurtful acts of contempt because what I was born with causes me to have certain traits and tendencies I cannot help. I still try to be friendly and amicable to anyone I meet, and hopefully the fact that I still try to be a great person despite my inherent adversities will be enough to win them back to being friends again (or at least enough to take me off their block lists, which is the least I ask.) The only fault was I did not let them know of my Asperger issue earlier, nor have the courage to at least try to talk to Jessi and her parents at Sams Club, otherwise things may have gone a far better route. I have also since learned that the way I dealt with the situation at Sam’s Club was called showing “insecurity.” I had not learned until months later that “insecurity” is a big turn-off to plenty of gals. If I had known of this term, how gals react to it, and how Jessi would react if I had opted not to talk to her and her parents at that checkout aisle, I would have made a different choice and probably talked to them. Sometimes, it is an immensely painful process to simply mature and gain situational life experiences.

My social & possibly emotional intelligence is currently no older than that of a 17-year-old from my estimates, but I still try really hard to progress beyond that. Some may even say I try too hard, but that sounds like a compliment to me because trying “too” hard may mean I am progressing faster. Through failures, including failures in persuading and changing minds, lay the groundwork and paths for successes. A failure may just be all that it takes to show me how to succeed better. On a side note, I plan to take COMM 525 (Persuasion) in order to negotiate better and be better able to mend more broken relationships.

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