you’re not fit to talk to

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. A friend recently told me about a high school classmate of ours. When asked why he hadn’t bother to keep in contact with any of his former schoolmates, he claimed, in so many words, that they were too boring to be worth his time.

Now, this isn’t as enraging as that other time another high school classmate of mine posted a reprehensible Republican screed on her blog about how people who performed poorly in school had only themselves to blame (because obviously, her own success was not in any way influenced by the fact that she had two nurturing parents, a roof over her head, and money to spend on necessities like food and boxes of test prep manuals), but it still riles me, because in his dismissal he waves away a lot of worthy people, in preference for people who are “more cultured”, “more witty”, or “more fun”.

On one hand, who can blame him? I understand this point of view. People have limited amounts of time; best to spend what’s left of it smoking exotic herbs and fashioning post-modern sculptures out of wire hangers and laundry lint on the rooftop of your friend’s friend’s friend’s midtown chateau (read: subletted ratbox). I often feel like I don’t share similar interests with many of my high school friends. I am sure I have dismissed acquaintances in college because they seemed like shallow or boring people. I am even more sure that I have avoided people because they seemed uncool.

On the other, I can’t take how snotty he sounds.

Yeah, this guy was a quick talker. Funny. He was reasonably good at putting together videos that stunned you into submission with showy explosions and amped up vid effects. Are people more interesting in New York? Certainly there seems to be a higher agglomeration of creative types in NYC. But that’s no reason to argue that your entire high school honors class was full of little gray mouse people who you aren’t ever going to speak to again because they don’t understand your sparkling references to that one foreign film that was made in 1961 and only screened to like 500 moviegoers before the only remaining copy was destroyed by a freak fire. I’ve been guilty of this oversimplification myself (it’s in large part an ego-boosting ploy: hey, suckers! look how far I’ve come! aren’t I so much better than you all?), but the assumption that it rests on is essentially untenable and utterly untrue. People are more than their summed quips. They’re more than their degrees or career choices. People move on from high school; acquire hobbies, passions, political views. Some work in hard, gritty vocations, serving – or hoping to serve – those less fortunate than themselves. Some enroll in master’s or doctorate programs to study the subjects that kindle their imaginations. Others dedicate themselves to religion, or accounting. Does that make them any less worthy as people? Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance firm all his life. You can pry his luscious plums from my cold, dead fingers.

Many of my friends are not culturally refined. Nor did they go to FancypantsU. That does not make them any less warm, loving, funny, or kind. Everyone is capable of surprising depth. And I think most everyone is worth getting to know, if they will let you in.

How quick people are to dismiss you if you are not attractive, witty, or rich.

2. A weird position to be in: wanting to read more of a long piece of fiction, searching for additional parts of it on all of your folders and flashdrives, being unable to find any more of this piece of fiction, thinking that it ought to climax in a spectacular and sustained conflagration of tension, misery and hard pummeling sex, and feeling vaguely cheated that it won’t.

The problem being that I am the sole author of this piece of fiction and that I am too lazy to a) correct its myriad problems, and b) see it all the way to the end.

Sigh. Maybe in 2014.

3. Loathsome link of the day.

These people sound like they rip pages from Ayn Rand’s novels to eat.


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