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Ali Has A Superiority Complex

3 Feb

I wasn’t able to admit until very recently that I have a bit of a superiority complex.  Not that I think I’m better than absolutely everyone, but when I decide that someone has done something significantly “less than”, I tend to hop onto my high-horse very quickly -we’re talking John Wayne moves.  (I think John Wayne had moves when he got on a horse?  I guess I wouldn’t know since I think most Westerns are boring as hell.)  I could probably chalk this attitude up to being the oldest child on both sides of my family and being given more praise than any normal person should have (can’t thank you enough for it though, loving relations!).

Most of the time my disdain for the ineptitude of others stems from a lot of the general public not being aware of proper manners or social mores.  These are things people should just be aware of, but sadly, not everyone is born with innate hyper-awareness.  My opinion?: They freakin’ should be, the mouth-breathing cretins.  If people fail to know or act on certain accepted rules of human interaction I either A) Want to maim them in some creative way (i.e., plucking their eyeball out with a fork, sucking the blood from their face, etc.), or B) Worry that they’ll eventually drown in their own spit.  Here are some of the social faux pas and dunce moves that really get me (with examples, of course):

#1 Coarse Conversationalists – We’ve all been the subject of a put-down or worse, a backhanded compliment.  However, I feel that it is almost worse for both parties when the Put-Downer is unaware of just what they are saying to the Put-Downee.  A great example came a couple weeks ago from one of my very first students.  It was the first day of classes, and the professor I assist had just completed her lecture.  A few of the students approached me to let me know that they had to go sit in on other classes they wanted to get into, and that they might not be at the recitation that I lead.  Being the “cool teacher” I am, I let them know I was fine with it -until one girl approached me with her story.  She told her spiel about wanting to get into a Psychology class that was at the same time as the recitation, but she also told me that she might not get in, meaning she would show up for class the following week.  I wished her luck, but immediately wanted to rescind it when she said, “We won’t really be doing anything in recitation today anyway, will we?”  Ummm excuse me, Little Miss Teen Beat?  What I wanted to tell her was, “Oh yes, of course I would have class just to waste your precious time.  I was planning on sitting silently while staring at all of you for 5o minutes!” but I also wanted to say, “I guess your crack whore mother didn’t teach you proper manners, did she?”  (I don’t take well to being insulted in any capacity)  Though I was dumbfounded, I know that the girl probably wasn’t even aware of how rude her question was.  So these things often go.  Unfortunately for this girl, she ended up in my class.  I’ll make a marginal effort not to hold it against her.

#2 Ignorance Enablers – It never ceases to amaze me the things that people will admit they do not know.  Some may see this as a great act of honesty, whereas I can’t help but feel embarrassed and ashamed on behalf of the person since they obviously aren’t feeling it for themselves.  Another side to this whole issue is that these same people often refuse to use very simple channels to rid themselves of their ignorance.  I ran into this problem this week while working in my job as a writing tutor.  On this particular day I was tutoring a girl who wanted help with a journalism assignment.  She was a nice young lady, but a bit, erm, dense, if you will?  She wanted assistance reviewing an article about how employers view the millennial generation as “entitled”; this article was of particular interest to her since she is a part of this generation . . . but she sadly had no idea what the word “entitled” meant.  Yes I know -I was shocked and appalled too.  Even worse was when I offered to show her how to get to Merriam-Webster online, but she let me know that she would “figure it out later”.  This was as we were trying to finish her paper.  She also consistently spelled the term “millennial” wrong, though it was written correctly in the article roughly 5,000 times.  Since the article was sitting right next to her this meant, basically, that she was just refusing to turn her head slightly to the left.  If the crop of humans just a few years younger than myself is really that lazy, I hope I’m dead by 46.

#3 Story Interrupters – This incident doesn’t happen weekly, or even monthly, but when it does happen it never ceases to irk me immensely.  You’ve all probably noted my love of telling stories (if you haven’t, I hope you’re not one of the people I’m writing about in this post).  Though I love telling stories in this blog, nothing beats a live retelling of Ali lore.  I get to use my arms, hands, facial expressions, voice inflections and impersonations . . . Truly, it is a sight to behold.  Looks something like this:

Usually I don't have a flame coming out of my head. Usually.

So imagine the murderous rage I feel when someone cuts in with their own retelling and STEALS MY STORY THUNDER!!  The worst thing is that often these story seizers are people who weren’t even involved with my tale, but have heard it before (Just because you know the story doesn’t mean you get to tell it. You should be bawling and thankful at the privilege of getting to hear it again.)  Of course, since the people who know my stories are some of my nearest and dearest, I don’t quite feel so murderous.  However, it does leave me miffed and a bit sulky.  I still love these folks a ton, but let’s just set a rule: don’t interrupt Ali when she’s telling her stories.  Also, to those general interrupters of everyday conversation: the next time I hear you interrupting, I am not afraid to flick or bop you on the nose like a dog that crapped on the carpet.  Embarrassing, right?  If you don’t realize that you are embarrassing yourself with this rudeness, allow me to assist you.  No one wants to have snot potentially jarred out of their nose during daily conversation.

#4 Identity Teasers – Everyone has something about themselves or their heritage that they cannot stand to be teased about.  For some people it’s the already-touchy area of their religion, or perhaps a hobby they have, or a favorite sports team.  My personal area of sensitivity is my status as a Forever Iowa Girl.  While I am a very proud Iowan, like most people who move out of the state, I have had to defend my homeland like mad in the face of people who, frankly, often think they know a lot when they really know jack squat.  One of these people is my former boss, a transplant to Boulder who is originally from the east coast.  While I think he liked me as a worker (I pride myself on being a good employee even at the worst of jobs) this man would not give it a rest with the Iowa teasing.  He was also a big know-it-all, but he admitted to not knowing much about Iowa besides his opinion that only hillbilly farmers live there (obviously he didn’t see the Iowa Nice YouTube video).  For some reason, he didn’t see the irony in teasing me for something he was ignorant about.  While he made several unprofessional jabs at me (among his many, many unprofessional remarks at the office), the one that really sent me over the edge was when he called me out for calling soft drinks “pop”.  As we all know, there is often a popular name for soft drinks in all areas of the country, but I see no reason to tease about it.  However, he felt the need to tell me that my “Iowa was showing”, as if this was something to be ashamed of.  Oh how desperately I wanted to reply that his “Self-important East Coaster/Boulder hippie was showing” every time he made a loud, f-word infused rant of his opinion for the whole office to hear and wore his Birkenstock sandals (his feet -and especially his toenails -would probably make the most seasoned pedicurist pass out).  However, I feel I got my victory when this map began appearing on Facebook last week:

Care to notice what name for carbonated beverages most Coloradans use?  I’m sure he’s seen this since he did spend a majority of his office time on Facebook.  Not everyone can have the Iowa work ethic, suckah.

#5 Well-Meaning Mortification Machines – There are some people who are so unaware of themselves that I can’t feel embarrassed for them because I’m too busy being embarrassed for myself.  I haven’t encountered this type often, but of course I would run into one just last week while I was at the grocery store.  I had gone into Safeway to fully stock my kitchen and was helping one of the workers bag my plethora of food stuffs when the cashier, a middle-aged woman, gave me a meaningful look.  This conversation ensued:

Cashier Lady: *Points to man leaving the store* “That guy is so gross.”

Me: (Very awkward) “Oh? Um. Yeah?”

Cashier Lady: “He was STARING at your BUTT!  I just think that is SO disrespectful!!”  *Turns to lady in line behind me*  “Don’t you think so?  I mean, his eyes were just BORING into her!  What a creep!”

Lady in Line: “Oh I saw.” *To me*  “He was definitely staring at you, honey. Gross!”

The women continued their conversation about the evils of staring at someone’s bum without me, unaware that I was rendered completely silent out of titanic embarrassment.  I don’t feel this way often, and I just wished that neither of them had said anything.  What was that guy going to do?  While I didn’t appreciate the fact that maybe he was staring at a body part of mine that really isn’t much to look at in the first place, I would have handled it if I’d actually caught the guy.  I’m sure he was just your run-of-the-mill asshole, if indeed he was staring, but the point is: I really didn’t need to know.  Their pointing it out to me actually didn’t make me feel like I was empowered by the knowledge, but like I should feel horrible and degraded for a while for having been objectified.  Ultimately, they made me feel more like a piece of meat than he would have.  Perhaps it was an odd reaction, but I think Cashier Lady should have just glared at him for me and left it at that.  Sometimes it IS better to be happily unaware.

#6 Uncomfortable Confessors – Perhaps the most prevalent group of socially-unaware people are the Uncomfortable Confessors.  Who hasn’t had that person who volunteers any and all information from the state of their sex life to the last time they made a bowel movement?  While this has happened to me almost too many times to mention, a notable incident occurred this past summer while I was back in my hometown for a wedding.  I had been pre-warned by my mother that an old acquaintance of ours who would be at the wedding had recently gone through a divorce because her husband cheated on her.  Knowing that I would likely ask about her husband if I saw her, my mother wanted me to be prepared (she wants to protect her child from awkwardness, but sadly it follows me wherever I go).  Inevitably, I ran into this acquaintance at the reception, and in my preparedness, asked her what activities she was up to, what her kids were doing, etc.  Anything that didn’t directly touch the subject of her husband I felt was fair game.  This was all for naught, however, since she insisted on asking me if I had heard about her divorce (I can’t remember how I responded because I was probably too busy vomiting down the front of myself from awkwardness).  She went on to describe the details of said divorce, and any story she told thereafter was labeled as being “before” or “after” her husband “went crazy”.  I felt very sorry for her, but her extreme detail (which she shared within earshot of about half the town) left me feeling like I had walked in on someone in the bathroom.  This is definitely why I advocate having a great group of friends to share all of your dirty details with; it prevents you from sharing them with people you only see at your local community center every four years or so.

I’m sure many of you have plenty of stories about these unaware people who live among us.  Feel free to share them here if you do.  And for those of you who think I am as rude and/or blunt as the people I’ve described here, hear this: at least I know better.  And doesn’t that make all the difference?