I managed to make an instant enemy a couple of weeks ago. I happened to be looking at a beautiful leather Fossil laptop bag; a bag I could never afford but couldn't help trying on. My friend walked past with a friend of his. I gushed about how much I loved the bag. His friend decided I was a pretentious knob who spends his life buying R2000 bags and condescending to everyone who doesn't own one.
Admittedly, I wouldn't normally bother myself with someone who makes judgements so quickly, but because that particular summary of my personality jars so startlingly with the kind of person I think I am, it got me thinking about the randomness of first impressions. The timing of when you meet someone really does determine what they think of you. If I were weeping that day, or eating at Spur, I would have seemed like an entirely different person.
The more I think about it, the more I think we are are just balls of constant change blaring through life. So the trick is to never take anything personally, because the conditions that form people's perceptions of you right now are transient, and relatively random. Timing isn't just the key to great jokes, great loves and great brands.
All there is, really, is timing.