I have a special gift. I mean, I have plenty of special gifts, don’t get me wrong. I make excellent apple pie. I can speed-read. I can pull apart a laptop, and I know how to build computers.
But I think the most interesting thing I can do is make people who don’t know me even a little bit dislike me. I don’t even have to work at cultivating the disdain of co-workers, in-laws, friends of friends, boyfriends/husbands of friends, bosses, subordinates, cashiers, and even the postal carrier, who insists on honking her horn from the time she turns into my driveway until the time she stops her truck, all so as to give me plenty of notice that there is a package coming our way, because GOD FORBID she actually have to get out of her car and walk up onto our porch. While my baby is screaming, since she USED TO BE ASLEEP until the screeching 20-second honk. Seriously. Once, she sat in her truck and honked the horn while I put my 2 week old in a sling, eased my post-surgical self off the couch, disconnected the breast pump, and hobbled outside to get my MANILLA ENVELOPE of mail.
But this post is not about the mail carrier. This post is about my unfailing talent for pissing people off. Perhaps it’s because I sound like a know-it-all. Perhaps that’s because I am, especially in a restaurant. But whatever. I prefer to think that people generally dislike me because I make no effort to find common ground. I suppose my philosophy is that if we don’t have common ground naturally, then why would we be talking at all? Here’s here my philosophy fails me: in places like the local steak restaurant in a town of 14 thousand people. If only I made a little effort, I say to myself as I’m ducking out the door each night. If only I could bring myself to get in on the whole “oh my god! That lip-gloss is SO CUTE! You TOTALLY have a base tan now; you should really be lying out for like, an hour a day! Isn’t the new pantry cook SO HOT! If I were 10 years younger… OMG did you see her put her boob RIGHT UP AGAINST his ARM! GIRL! “
Instead, I corrected someone who made a wrong movie reference, and I told on whoever put the envelope in the butt-can and stunk up the parking lot with burning paper, and pledged my allegiance to the Lakers in a bar where EVERYONE KNOWS THE LAKERS SUCK.
Oh, it’s not just work, and it’s not just THIS work. You know what? I’m like the Lakers, actually. You either love me or you hate me. There is no in between, and if you hate me, that’s only because you don’t understand me. Everyone who hates the Lakers says Kobe is a ball hog. They just don’t understand that Kobe’s not so much a hog as a savior. Kobe makes shots when there are no shots to be made, and he makes shots when the guys are having a hard time getting the job done. He’s not arrogant; he’s efficient. People just don’t understand the Lakers; if they did, how could they hate? I mean, you can hate Kobe for being an asshole all you want, but you can’t call him a grandstander, and you can’t call him a ball hog. Someone has to throw the man the ball, and they keep fucking doing it! What’s he supposed to do, throw it back and be like “no, no, man! You can DO IT!”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how often I’ve been blindsided by someone’s obvious dislike and sometimes even hatred- how perplexed I’ve felt, working my mind into overdrive going over every thing I’ve ever said to whoever and whoever, and never coming up with an answer. Here’s what I’ve come up with: nothing. Some people say I’m standoffish. Some people say I’m cold. Some people say I’m just bitchy. But none of those people are in my day to day, and so the thing is-I don’t care enough to make it different. Plus, making it different usually involves the aforementioned ice-breaking bonding talk, and – well, I’m just not into it. Maybe as I get older, people will begin to see me at enigmatic and mysterious, quiet and contemplative instead of bitchy and snobbish.
Lucky for you, Internet: I do all my small talking to you. Don’t’ you feel blessed? And did you SEE that chick’s makeup! Oh MY GOD! If I wear makeup like that when I’m old, like 35? Shoot me.