Tuesday, July 8, 2008
As I become older I think that parts of my personality that were so fundamental to who I was between the age of 10 and 21, have begun to change. I was voted "Most Polite" my senior year of high school. What a load of crap. It's the "she's nice, but not the funniest, smartest, cutest or most athletic, so we'll give her polite" award. That's fine. I took it. I have to mention that my brother was voted "Best from Behind." Ass. I'm the one who got the budunkadunk in the family.
Anyway, I digress. I think I was always perceived as kind and smart in school, and for many years it was because I was just too damn shy to show my real personality or share my true opinions. I broke out of that in late high school. Since, I've been trying to find a happy medium between telling it like it is without being irrational or subjective and keeping things to myself- appearing to be more shy and "nice." However, lately, and likely due to some recent stress and boredom with work and school, I've noticed that it's been harder to find this balance, and I've been more outwardly mean. Or at least I feel like I have been. Waking up in the morning and feeling like you're just not a nice person, is just not a nice feeling. It doesn't happen often and usually occurs after moments like the one I had last week. It had been a long, gruelingly slow day at work. I had gone to the gym and needed to pick up groceries before heading home. Disgusting, sweaty, hungry, tired and now overburdened by groceries spilling out of my bag as I had refused to use a paper or plastic bag from the store (sometimes Green is such a bitch), I exited into the humidity.
I live in a busy part of town and often there are people standing idly on the corner trying to get signatures for this or that. I could see this young guy with a clip board had spotted me as soon as I left the store. Usually, if I have time, I'll humor the people and hear at least what they are protesting or rallying for before I give them a smiling, "No, thank you," and walk by. This kid started talking to me before I was within earshot, and the fact that his lips were moving and he was pulling the pen out for me to sign some freaking petition as he could see me muling up the street with groceries shoved into every pocket and beyond - was I supposed to sign with my feet, good sir?- it really flippin irritated me. Still, I gave a superficial smile that I thought might have kindly read, "Please, leave me the hell alone or I will gladly shove my apples up your ass." He continued to murmur and when I got closer I heard something like, "Jalike dasum males?"
I smiled and shook my head as I got closer, assuming he asked if I could sign his clip bored, and no, I wasn't going to. He stopped in his tracks, and asked again as I approached, "Jalike dasum males?!"
I smiled and shook my head and was finally close enough to hear what he said as I passed and he shouted, "You don't like baby whales?!"
Who knows what people think of me when I sit on the T, when I go through the grocery store, run down the block, eat gum off the street. At that moment I couldn't have cared less, and it didn't seem like anyone cared either. Part of living in a city is becoming oblivious to most of what's going on around you, but at the same time hyper aware of your environment. The ebb and flow of actively ignoring, but taking note of situations is something you have to learn to master here. It makes me a bit sad. It's made me a bit cold. That kid made me want to wear the T-shirt my father designed for me for my UVM orientation, "Nuke the gay baby sperm whales."
One day, I'll be nice again.