I am a fairly intelligent woman; not to toot my own horn (eh, who am I kidding, HONK) I was the valedictorian of my high school, did fairly well in college once I realized it wasn’t the smartest idea to stay up all night drinking, and still keep up on current events, read, and do generally nerdy things for fun. I like researching things. I make pie charts and find it enjoyable. I collect obscure grammar rules like shiny river stones. I have a necklace of an antique semicolon typewriter key.
But there are certain things that I cannot wrap my head around. I don’t know if it’s my adult onset ADD (which, listen, IS A THING! A friend informs me it is ACTUALLY A THING! I have been joking that I have this but it’s a real, live thing, not something I made up to explain why I can’t pay attention in boring office meetings! So of course now that I know it’s real I’m convinced I have it, like every obscure disease in the world. I’m very often most likely dying of whatever I’ve heard of most recently, if you haven’t guessed) or the way my brain is wired or that these things are deathly boring or what, but there are certain topics that can guarantee my eyes will glaze over and I will go into a boredom coma faster than my nephew will move onto the next toy in his gigantic Smaug-like pile of Christmas presents every December.
Ok, listen. I am the most uncoordinated person alive, as discussed many times in the past. I had to take (I am not kidding about this) remedial skipping in kindergarten. When I was in kindergarten, I would try to skip in gym class, and I kept falling down. My mother became concerned (and, seriously, wouldn’t you? That’s a little alarming. I mean, who can’t skip?) and brought me to the pediatrician. The diagnosis was (I wish I was joking about this) too much cartilage. He showed her that I was way too bendy and then bent parts of me (like my nose and my thumbs) at weird angles. He then told her I would most likely always be extremely clumsy, even when I solidified (which I have, so don’t go thinking I’m all limber, because nope), and so I got a DOCTOR’S NOTE THAT SAID I WAS EXEMPT FROM SKIPPING. No joke. So while the other kids skipped gaily in a circle around the gym, I was told to plod in a small circle in the middle of the gym. I think you can see that I’ve always been small-bus special.
I can’t do sports. I’m not good at them. I don’t understand the rules of them, and I am afraid of the ball that always seems to be rushing at my head/face/soft unprotected places/glasses. The only sports I was good at in school were volleyball (I don’t understand this, either, but I was so good at this! It’s confusing) and badminton, sort of. So the idea of watching sports on television confuses and bores me.
The only sports I can sort of get behind – I mean, I don’t want to WATCH them, or anything, but I don’t hate them – are basketball and baseball. Basketball because I used to watch it with my father as a kid, I kind of understand the rules, and I love betting on the NCAA tournament every year. Baseball because it’s the American pastime and it seems noble and I love the movie Field of Dreams.
I hate football with the fiery passion of a million suns because if a show is scheduled to run from 4-7 and it runs late, it is making my entire evening of television-watching run late and that is ANNOYING.
MOST POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS
I say “most” because there are some political discussions I really like. Who’s going to be voted into office next. (Voting is one of my favorite things to do, ever. I would vote every DAY if I could. It makes me feel important. I know it probably matters not at all, but I feel like I have a voice when I vote. And I miss the old voting machines, which made voting a ritual. These new bubble sheets are kind of a letdown. I feel like I’m taking an unscored standardized test.) Anything having to do with people (equal rights, marriage equality, things of that nature.) How a bill becomes a law. However, take, for example, this “debt ceiling” thing that’s going on right now. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS. I know. This makes me irresponsible and a bad American. Here’s the thing. We, as Americans, we can’t do anything about this, right? Our elected officials are taking care of this (supposedly) for us? And I suppose it affects us, but the economy already sucks so hard that I can barely afford groceries or a full tank of gas, so what, is it getting worse? How much worse? Am I going to have to start prostituting myself to buy laundry detergent? Because if that’s the case I think I’m going to have really dirty clothes. I’d be the worst prostitute ever. “You want me to do WHAT? You want to put that WHERE? That’s disgusting. I’m too tired to deal with your nonsense. Go home to your wife, you sicko perv.” And there’s so much hate from all sides of the political arena right now. It’s exhausting. I mean, I have a side, I’ve picked my side, but I don’t want to fight about it all the time, you know? Debt ceiling. Start talking to me about the debt ceiling and I’m going to find something I desperately have to do elsewhere, like categorize and list my magazine collection, or something. SO BORED. And then I feel guilty about being bored. But seriously, I DON’T CARE.
I don’t have enough. Ever. And when people start talking about investments and 401(k)s and the latest cool thing they bought and retirement and whatnot I zone out. Because listen. I’m going to be working until I drop dead. I get that annual social security statement and I open the envelope and a little whiff of canned laughter drifts out at me. I’m going to be that ancient Walmart greeter you feel bad for when you’re running in to pick up tampons and she looks so confused and you think, aw, she must really love working! NO. She made BAD LIFE CHOICES and her jobs didn’t pay enough and she has to work until she drops dead at her post but not in a good, chivalrous, fantasy-realm sort of way, in a sad, pathetic, I’m-wearing-a-polyester-apron-with-my-name-on-it-and-why-won’t-I-die-faster way. I don’t want to hear about investments. They are out of the realm of my understanding and also they depress me.
Mine goes when I push the gas and stops when I push the brake. That’s the extent of my car knowledge. Oh, and I know where the windshield wiper fluid and gas go. I don’t know about makes and models and hemis and RPMs. It used to amuse my brother to no end when he’d ask, “What kind of car was it?” and I’d say, “A blue one,” and not only did I not know it was a Chevy Tahoe or whatever, IT WASN’T EVEN BLUE. I have the worst powers of observation. Does anyone remember that episode of The Facts of Life where they tested a classroom’s power of observation by having a man run in, steal someone’s purse, and run out, and then the class had to describe him, and no one got it right, they were all, “Tall? Short? Blonde? Scar across his face? Limp?” and he was none of those things? That’s me, only worse. I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN NOTICED SOMEONE HAD RUN IN. People often ask me things like, “Hey, didn’t you notice six months ago when I’d lost fifty pounds?” or “Hey, what’s different about me?” and my answers are “Nope” and “You’re here and earlier you weren’t?” People start talking about cars and the extent of my contribution to the conversation is “Sometimes the cars I’ve had didn’t work well? But the one I have now does. I like cars that work.” (Also I like red ones. Or maybe they’re not red. I honestly couldn’t tell you.)
I do not care about clothing. I don’t like shopping for it; I don’t like picking it out; it all looks weird on me because I have the oddest body shape you’ve ever seen in your life (like, in Cosmo, they’re all “your body shape is AN APPLE or A PEAR?” Mine is IN PLACES A WATERMELON and IN PLACES A PRICKLY PEAR and IN PLACES A STARFRUIT and I can tell you straight up there are no designers making clothes for that ideal); and it costs money I don’t have to buy it. Also, I don’t know what looks good together. I mean, I have a basic idea, but mostly I stick with some sort of non-offensive top and khakis, which work year-round. I don’t understand designers; I don’t understand fashion, as a rule. Also, fashion shows. I am confused about them. So, none of the clothes that people wear in those are ever for sale, right? Because no one wears, like, a floor-length fur poncho in real life. So why do they do them? To show off? Confusing.
MOST REALITY TELEVISION
I watch a few of these – I’m kind of embarrassingly addicted to VH1’s lineup of reality shows (side note – I was watching an old episode of Celebrity Rehab last night, and Leif Garrett, who will always make me laugh because of that Behind the Music about him where he confronted the friend he injured that one time and cried and cried, does anyone remember that? Yes, I know, I’m totally heartless – was shown walking through the hall cussing and they were bleeping it out and he was complaining about how he couldn’t deal with anyone and everyone was annoying him and then the voice over – the very foxy Dr. Drew, did you ever SEE him in a tight t-shirt? Rawr – said “coming down from heroin makes you very testy” and I thought, whoa, if a camera followed me around they’d see THE SAME BEHAVIOR AND I CAN’T EVEN BLAME HEROIN I JUST HATE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ANNOYS ME WHAT’S MY EXCUSE) and I like cooking reality shows and The Amazing Race and Project Runway and such (I know, you’d think not, because I don’t like fashion, but something about that show is very soothing to me.) But I don’t watch, or like, or understand, or want to discuss, Big Brother, any of those shows where someone’s going on a “journey” to find “the one,” any of those stupid dancing shows, any singing show, any of those shows about jobs like fishing or trucking, any of those horrendous trainwreck housewife shows, or anything about hoarding (I watched a few minutes of one of these once and had to take a shower NO THANK YOU.) I just don’t care. I know America loves them. And yay, America. But sooo bored, just thinking about them. And everyone always wants to discuss them with me! And everyone gets this sad-clown “what’s wrong with you?” face when I say I don’t like them! What? Why? I like scripted television, mostly. Is that wrong? To like stories people made up in their heads? Because listen, the stories I make up in my head trump my reality any day of the week. Would you all like to hear about the hour’s worth of photocopying I did this morning, or what I’m saying right now? What’s that? Neither? NO ONE’S MAKING YOU READ, CHUMP.
DISCUSSIONS WHERE YOU EXPECT A CERTAIN RESPONSE FROM ME
I don’t like being steered toward the response you want from me. This is most prevalent when you want me to give you a false compliment. I HATE GIVING THOSE. Here is an example. I…made this up. This is not about a real person. At all. Totally not.
Person who is not a real person at all: I am bad at singing.
PWINARPAA: Yeah. SO BAD AT IT.
Me: That’s too bad.
PWINARPAA: I mean, SOME people think that.
PWINARPAA: Yep. Some people say, “You are a bad singer!”
Me: Do they.
PWINARPAA: They do. They do say that. To me. About my singing.
Me: Look at that shiny thing I want to go to there.
The response this completely fictional person was fishing for was “No! You are not a bad singer! That person is a LIAR! Who SUCKS! Who would SAY THAT? ABOUT YOU?” And if this weren’t a completely fictional scenario, I’d tell you the person is the worst singer I’ve ever heard. But since it’s fictional, I mean, it’s all a moot point, right?
Listen. I can’t be bothered to prop up everyone’s egos I meet. I just can’t. It is EXHAUSTING. If you suck, part of you knows it already. Just keep quiet about it. Also, don’t compliments mean more when they aren’t prompted?
So sorry, people who’ve tried to discuss these things with me. Like I said, it could be a number of reasons why I can’t stay awake for them, or find that I have pressing business elsewhere when they come up. But here’s a rule of thumb – when a person tries, nicely, to change the subject about fifteen times, and you keep steering it back to the original one? You’re a conversation hog. And you’re annoying. And I’m either replaying a Buffy episode or the lyrics to Martha Wainwright’s Bloody Motherfucking Asshole on repeat in my head while I map out potential escape routes. My apologies. And I’m sorry to interrupt, but where’s the restroom, by the way? I’ll be right back.
(After I posted this and was wandering aimlessly around trying to avoid “working” at my “job” because “I am lazy” I realized that my lovely Mer, without my brain even realizing this, inspired this post. So I am kind of a thief. Apology sent into the blogosphere! In my defense, I didn’t fall asleep last night until late. I’d like to say it was because I had a super-hot gentleman caller or something but really I was discussing Community’s casting with friends online until the wee hours. Anyway. Her blog is well-written and always a must-read for me, so if you like things that are awesome, click on her link! She handled the topic in a classier fashion. As she handles most everything.)