Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stuffed Shirts and Pompous Windbags

There’s a nasty-looking little Chinese restaurant in the East Village with a handwritten sign in the window—a dirty window, too—that says ‘our chef is very famous in London.’ But not in New York, or anywhere else outside of London.”

Great line, and great concept from Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children. It's one I'm coming to relate to more as the weeks go on. I've observed that certain members of human society thrive on sharing with me ad nauseum the details of their accomplishments a few years back as if its somehow relevant to me or my casual aquaintance with them. Sorry dearie, if you don't have a curriculum vitae, your experience with 1994 is probably not overly interesting or worth basking in your own reflected glory over. You could go make a CV and I'd be happier to read it since it would take less time than hearing about it from you over and over and over. Please get over yourself, or better yet go do something besides hoping we will all be impressed by your achievements that stopped rather abruptly fifteen or so years ago.

You certainly don't care to hear about what I was doing in the nineties, but I'd like to tell you if I thought it would spark you to retire to a hole somewhere and leave me out of the boring details. It's something like the way women decorate their homes with wedding pictures and dried flowers until they are mostly replaced with baby pictures, and those are eventually mostly changed out for graduation pictures and pictures of grandkids. Only your wedding flowers have shed their petals all over the floor and you have yet to vacuum them up!

While you prattle on about how wonderful you were back then, and we sit there smiling and nodding and squirming inwardly at your boasting we sometimes wonder what your reaction would be if we took the competitive bait. We weren't sitting around waiting for you to show up back then, we were busy. I know I was. One particularly event filled year for you was the year I spent taking 21 credits, working full-time and a second job to boot. I was competing for a pageant title, perfecting my interview skills, and working out for a couple of hours a day. Oh yeah, I also had a boyfriend turned murderous sadistic stalker to hide from in the midst of my highly predictable and punctual schedule. In that same sememster, I aced my instrumental performance juries, and turned out some of my best creative work to date. That was also the year I was recognized by Up With People for my extensive volunteeer work in libraries and schools. I'm sure you never heard me mention that though, I've been somewhat engaged since then with other things.

In the real world, no one really puts Eagle Scout on their resume, they've done something better by now, and it certainly isn't dinner conversation unless its with your own little Scouter. But wait...I know, your chef was famous in 1994.


Mary said...

Eagle Scouts are usless. In all honesty, I ask my eagle scout guy friends for help with things that they should have learned how to do in scouts, and they are no help whatsoever.

And then there are the guys that onle got it because their mom pretty much did all the work . . .

Anonymous said...

It is a ponderous thing to have to relive the glory days with those who have nothing moving forward in their lives.

I prefer to not have to listen to the litany of physical, emotional and mental health issues of family members who do not appreciate me for who I have become, because they prefer the old me who helped keep enabling strong, way back when.

I do have a deep interest in peoples lives, but I prefer to be part of the positive things they are doing, rather than the stagnant or negative things they are holding on to.

Can you tell I have a few "issues" to work through right now?! ;) I'm trying to be a good "adult" child to my parents, but one of them really needs others to have issues or, needs to have greater issues, so that they can be in the limelight.

Okay, I'll get back to my forward motion life here. Hope yours is going great today! :)