Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fascinating, fascinating me

Following a five-minute conversation today, a colleague told me I was fascinating, that I always had something unusual and interesting to talk about. I laughed and told her she'd obviously never had a long conversation with me!

Whether I am fascinating or not (I vote not) isn't the point.

It's so very hard to know how we look to others. We carefully create a facade, both in our looks and our behavior (and these days with our online personas), but we never really know if other people receive the signal that we think we're sending out. Then, on a day when we're not trying at all, we come across as fascinating.

Long, long ago, on the penultimate* day of a not-good marriage that had long been sucking dry all my time and energy, I went to a party. It was attended by friends but for one woman in a blue blouse who was a stranger to us all except the guy she was dating. Something was being discussed by the group, something that was apparently common knowledge, and I didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Ms. Blueblouse looked over her drink at me and said loudly, "You really don't get out much, do you?"

Had she thrown acid in my face, she couldn't have hurt me more. I was already in quite a perilous emotional state, had the self-esteem of a pencil nub, and didn't need a slim, smart-mouthed, pseudo-urbane tootsie calling me out on my limitations. I was a good person, kind and smart and entirely too patient, but all she saw was an unsophisticated hausfrau.

I've spent the last twenty years getting out, making sure I knew what was going on. Occasionally I'll tell myself that I showed her.

And today, having been perceived as fascinating for at least five minutes, I believe I've finally arrived.
*Warning! I know a handful of big words and occasionally use them.


Waveflux said...

The casual cruelty of people never fails to amaze me. That is the kind of encounter that stays with you and informs you, inaccurately, about yourself.

Console yourself with the certainty that Ms. Blueblouse will get what's coming to her, sooner or later, because karma is just that way.

Bitty said...

It's hard when you're young to see this kind of behavior as casual cruelty. The young see it as Truth.

Obviously she has stayed with me (like your generous Ms. $20 Bill), and she has been one of the people I've been "so there"-ing for lo these many years. She has served her purpose in my life.

I'm big on karma, too. I'm sure she got hers somewhere along the way.