Friday, March 01, 2013

Misanthrope?

I am one who is easily irritated---surprise! :) But I don't think I HATE "humanity"... I find certain segments of EVERY type of people annoying (and I find myself annoying at times), sure: hipsters hanging around outside my apartment building at all hours, aggressive homeless people, smug/dumb Texas office ladies, loud "gangstas" on buses, smug/aggressive frat boys... OK, so there's a long list! But I don't hate HUMANITY, dammit! :)

Today at work, they needed the small, dark, totally undecorated office I'd been placed in as a temp so they could print discs, make bound notebooks, etc. So I was moved to the much-bigger (and with windows) office of a regular lady who's out of town (visiting NYC!).

After about an hour in her office, I found myself wishing for the small, dark, blank space again. "WHAT is it that is getting on my nerves in here so much?" I was wondering. I mean, there was a wall of windows, and plants, and colorful decorations...much livelier than where I'd been stationed, for sure.

One thing was the fact that the table with the computer was facing AWAY FROM the windows. "This isn't where I would have put it," I harrumphed. I kept having to look over my shoulder to see the sky! And then I noticed that there were (unnecessarily) FIVE tables crowding the whole place: A main desk (not used for work, just holding knick-knacks and the phone); the computer desk; a table with reference books and random (non-work-related) junk on it; and two smaller tables with nothing but knick-knacks/photos. It was claustrophobic, not just inefficient...

And while I was working on the computer, I kept looking up to see...MY FACE! There was a mirror hung on the wall just to the right of the computer. Why would somebody want to keep checking themselves out all day long?!

The woman whose office I'm in is 65-ish, and apparently a local actress, according to my boss AND the clippings all over the office. I've been here about a week now and have never been officially introduced to her (she was out the day I started; then, a couple of days later, the NYC trip). But my boss has been raving to me: "Oh, you'll LOVE _____ ! She's quite a character!" And, yesterday: "You look quite dramatic today [I was simply wearing all black]--- _____ would love your outfit!"

From the clippings posted, the lady has been active in local theater since 1985 or so, garnering a couple of "Best Austin Actress" acclamations from the weekly paper (most recently in the mid-90s). The few play publicity photos around the office were for things I wouldn't particularly have wanted to see. And that mirror on the wall behind the computer led me to explore a sneaking suspicion: That there might just be too many photos of HERSELF in here! Just for kicks, I decided to count... 14 photos of HERSELF in one small office! The next most was of her daughter (maybe 7), then 3 or 4 of her grandkid and several with friends...

So this, strangely to me, is what got me to thinking about my own possible misanthropy. "Generic office ladies" have always gotten on my nerves, but here was a vibrant woman doing interesting things like performing and going to NYC in her free time (instead of just talking about what school function she'd just attended for the grandkids or what sick aunt she'd just visited, for example). So what was my damn PROBLEM?! ... The too-many photos of self, the plays that were local and insipid...And then also the various anti-George W cartoons posted everywhere (look, I disliked Bush because he was incompetent, and I never voted for him--or his father--in ANY election, Texas or nationwide, but...STILL overtly defining yourself by being anti-Bush...in 2013?!). And, yes, even all of the "OBAMA WINS" front pages of local papers from '08 and '12... It was all too "Austin-y" for me. Too much "Look at me, look at me! I was big with the weekly paper nearly 20 years ago, and I supported the first black President...TWICE! I'm SPECIAL!"

I dunno. Does she, to me, represent "me" in some way? Someone who obviously had bigger dreams at one point, but who 30 years later had to settle for displaying local clippings in order to get SOME recognition from someone/anyone, even office-mates?

In my defense, I've never schlepped my now-framed letter from Ted Hughes to any office I've ever worked in! Oh, but I do keep mentioning it HERE! But wait a sec: Even if I do continue to brag 16 years later about receiving a letter from Ted Hughes... IT WAS FROM FRIGGING TED HUGHES! The frigging Poet Laureate of England! It wasn't merely the local paper saying they liked my poems! (Which the same weekly paper lauding this woman actually HAS said on a couple of occasions; I used to edit a local poetry 'zine in the '90s! :) THOSE I don't display!) :)

My irritation at her (albeit second-hand) also made me think about the times I've hung out with (1) actors and (2) musicians in real life.

I've been to maybe 4 local cast parties in my life; in each case, the people from the show at the party were still obnoxiously EMOTING all over the place. (I've never had a personal relationship with an actor. Since I'm such a big Joan Crawford fan, I need to think honestly about how much I would have liked her in real life: She's both hot and intuitive onscreen, and I would have wanted to have had sex with her in real life... but admiring artistically and/or sexually doesn't mean "liking personally" or "being able to stand being around"...If I think 14 photos of oneself in an office are too much, wonder how many shots of herself Joan had around her house?)

Musicians, I've been around a lot more: lived next door to and hung out with, partied with during and after shows, etc. They're definitely fun/interesting ON THE SCENE, but sans surroundings, they're kind of plain and dull, little affect... But almost all I've known have also had an innate sense of humbleness, despite their freakish talent. An attractive quality. (The majority of actors, on the other hand, seem to have little ability to magically "channel" -- a very rare, shamanic quality, and the prime qualification for the job -- and instead just want to be seen and commented on. They miss the whole point of the craft. But they can fake it, unlike musicians, who have to actually be able to DO something.)

Writers, I still like after knowing some! :)

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