Thursday, January 30, 2003

Living up to one's own personal standards...

For me, this is pretty easy. Frankly, I have very few standards. I did want to prove to myself what a genius I am...And I suppose I thought I could prove this if every day I managed to write something earth shattering and profound...something that never stooped to convey the minutiae of everyday life.

Yet, I discovered by this very process that I am not a genius. By never trying to be a genius I could always imagine that I was one, were I to try. Alas, I did try a teeny-tiny bit and the results were not as I'd hoped..

I thought at the very least...if no essays of great profundity were forthcoming I would at least hit upon some amazing aphorisms that would boggle the mind...

Like: 'The furniture of the mind is not for sitting on."

For some reason I assumed my mind had an inexhaustible store of aphorisms just waiting to rise to the surface.

It doesn't.

Trying. Trying is bad. It's so much better just to have potential.

I won't ridicule those who concern themselves with minutiae. I now see why they might.

Humiliating yourself can be good to the extent it can make you humble. And/or bitter.

I don't know where these delusions of grandeur came from: I suppose it is obvious that I am not that bright. I set things on fire often, I fall down for no apparent reason, I cannot find my keys most days. I had hopes though.

My topic for today therefore I went to the movies. I movie-hopped. First I saw 'Catch Me If You Can.' Then I snuck into 'Adaptation.' It was one of those lucky moments when the theaters are right next to each other. That rarely happens. Usually there has to be a secret bathroom sneak in type deal or some skulking in the theater hallways. When I was a child, it was so easy--the whole 'one kid pays, all the other kids sneak in through the exit.' Sometimes we wouldn't bother with the 'one kid pays' and simply wait for people to leave and grab the door before it closed. They've made it all so much more difficult now. At the very least, you have to pay...I feel sorry for kids now.

When I was a kid we could shoplift like nobody's business. It was before the days of electronic sensors. I am so sad for the kids who can only snag a candy bar here and there. I used to take bathing suits, whole wardrobes full of clothing, necklaces, makeup, toys, you name it.

(Oh wait--that reminds me...I shoplifted a lipgloss yesterday. By accident...really. But it brought back memories.)

I was 'caught' going from one movie to the other but only by this old lady who was also theater hopping. She said 'you too, huh?' I said...'Are we the only ones in here?' and shamefully ran to the front.' She looked familiar actually. I hope I don't know her from somewhere.

Although they are few and far between, I still have personal standards. I realized today I have one rule which I almost never break. As might or might not be obvious from what I write here, I am highly secretive. In a rather peculiar way. I appear to tell everyone everything but in fact this is all a front for hiding most things. (El chico still hasn't caught on to the whole 'secretive' way of life but he is slowly learning.) Because of this perhaps I have this one rule which I rarely if ever violate: I never 'ask questions.'

Do you know what I mean? There is this whole form of conversation that involves 'asking questions.' So if someone is having relationship trouble and you know then you do that stupid thing of saying 'So how's it going with X?' If they are in school you say "So, what are you going to do when you graduate?" I despise this conversational form. Today, I got to put my principles into practice. I have a co-worker who seemed like a sort of shy guy who never had a girlfriend but not only does he have a very cute girlfriend but he also has an ex-wife. Clearly, there's an interesting to tale to tell which I could easily elicit with the right sort of interrogation. But that is beneath me. He might even want me to do it--He threw me a few suggestions...little things about the ex-wife. I admit I have been curious but I refrained from the 'follow up.'

The 'follow up.' That I also hate. If you say "Then I dropped out of school because I had a nervous breakdown" they want to know "What did you do after that?" If you say "My husband cheated on me" they say things like "How did you work it out?"

Yech. Terry Gross. Yech.

So I did no follow up. E.g., he says "I had enough money to finish school because when my wife and I divorced she bought out my half of the condo..." I say--"hey, that's great." Then he says "Yeah, she was very shrewd and now it is worth 3 times what we paid for it..." Then he goes on to tell me all about how she always said she never wanted a rich guy but in fact that was exactly what she probably wanted all along.

He even said: "She used to say she didn't want a many who ran around but wanted a man who was loyal but I think that it was just those type of men she liked. You know, there are some women who really go for those caddish men. Who sleep with lots of women. They seem powerful to them."

All I said was: "I know, isn't that weird?" I admit, not finding out who did what to whom when he drops these little hints takes a bit of willpower.

Of course, perhaps it is easy to follow this rule....I'm sure I will find out the whole story eventually.


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