Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nonsense of self

I snapped this photo of myself 11 years ago at a Club Med in Martinique. I may or may not have been slightly toasted. I doubt it though. Booze cost an arm and a leg and you had to pay for it with beads to surly bartenders who only spoke French. So getting a drink was a challenge (except at dinner when you could have all the wine you wanted...Club Meds are run by the French after all).

But I digress. The photo reminds me that I didn't really have a realistic image of myself even then. For one, I used to think people liked me. And I used to think I was incredibly clever (especially when I was toasted). Now that I am older and have become a daddy, I have more time to reflect on what kind of person I am and was. And like the photo above, it isn't really a pretty picture.

Oh, I don't think I am a terrible person. Maybe it is age or maybe it is being a father, but I just keep getting glimpses of myself through other people's eyes in my mind and it makes me cringe every time.

I am a sarcastic person. I have always been a sarcastic person. I used to think it was part of my charm. Now I think it is one of the leading reason I don't have any real close friends. I attribute my sarcasm to growing up with two older brothers. I truly believe that their way of letting me know how much they loved me was by calling me stupid at every opportunity. So I came to believe that insults were a way of expressing affection. In retrospect, not everyone appreciates that berating them is my way of telling them that I care.

Coming across as a curmudgeon is a hard habit to break. I've grown to expect that people expect it from me. But then it has also great affected my credibility when I try to be nice. So I try to keep my charitable acts and acts of kindness anonymous.

This leads me back to my lack of friends. Stepping out of myself, I can understand this. I sit there listening to this jaded, cynical man jabber on in a paranoid fashion about the latest injustice at work and the stupidity of mankind and I too want to retreat to my happy place. Viewed in this way, I really bring myself down and I can only guess how it affects other people.

I am also an impatient man. I don't suffer fools lightly. This is a curse because fools are all around me. I want to throttle people who can't figure out how to use a cash machine without methodically reading all of the instructions. Who in this day and age hasn't used a cash machine? It is not rocket science. And don't get me started about people in grocery store lines. Don't write a check. No one writes a check in this day and age. And don't engage the checker in small talk when there are 40 people in line behind you.

See what I mean?

For the longest time I really did think I was a witty and clever fellow. No one could say anything to me without some clever response. Then I started realizing how annoyed I was when some jerk would say the same clever thing to me over and over. I knew this one guy who always said, "Why, am I coming apart" when someone asked if they could "join him." Funny the first time. Mind numbingly annoying the tenth or eleventh time.

God don't let me be one of those guys who asks if the flowers are for me when he sees someone with a bouquet walking down the street.

Introspection sucks.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Sucks to be you! Thank God I'll never be like that...oh, wait...

Time said...

Yes, young Scrooge. Mankind should be our business, but we seldom attend to it. So tonight you will be visited by three spirits.

Good luck with them :)

Karen said...

Crikey now you've got me worried Tim. I happen to think you are very funny but maybe that's because my sense of humour lends itself to a lot of sarcasm too. I also don't have many friends....OMG....I think I could be you!!! Sorry, just a little joke to lighten the atmosphere...

No-one is harder on us than we are on ourselves. I don't know if you've realised this Tim but you are becoming a lot more open than you used to be and that can only be a good thing in my humble opinion.

If it makes you feel any better, the things that you mentioned that annoy you, annoy the crap out of me too so you have a kindred spirit here.

Hayden said...

whew. you can set that scourge aside now.

still, I appreciate what you are saying. Sounds like you've turned a corner (they say parenthood does that) and are seeing the world - and yourself - through fresh eyes. For the record, I am amused by most of your rantings - yep, you're funny - but time has a way of changing perspective.

For me, that would be like the one about casually chatting with strangers. ;-)

A moment of shared humanity.... no matter how humble.

R. said...

I've only used a cash machine once, years ago. The only reason I remember is because K. won't let me forget. It was before we got married - I accidentally ran a curb while pulling away from the machine resulting in a two inch gash torn out of the sidewall of her tire.

If I ever use a cash machine again I'll be sure to read the instructions carefully. While using a cash machine isn't rocket science it can be unintuitive because there is no standard interface.

I also use checks. Sometimes my mind wanders and I make a mistake and have to void out the check I'm working on and start another.

I also chat with my cashiers. If they're cute and a woman I'll check out their backsides as they run my check through the printer.

And if a middle age man behind me in line has a heart attack (in spite of all the pills and diets he's on) I won't be able to help very effectively because I prefer not to carry a cell phone.

Time said...

You are a Pisces. You can't help yourself. But thanks for always being supportive.

That is the cool thing about the Web community. We come together out of choice. Thanks for thinking I am funny. But then again you like clowns, too :(

I tend to think you are just a contrarian by nature. What will you do when checks go the way of 8-tracks and black and white televisions?

Karen said...

We are a breed of our own Tim, that's for sure.

K. said...

What will you do when checks go the way of 8-tracks and black and white televisions?

Please. He'll do the same thing he does now and have me pay. :P

Steve said...

As we get older we do tend to reflect.

Reflect, off our fading hair lines. Reflect every time we pass a mirror.
My point being.......errrr
On reflection I'm not sure!

Steve said...

You ever notice how women allways have a conversation in the MIDDLE of aisleways?

BlazngScarlet said...

I don't think you're THAT much of a sarcastic curmudgeon.
Then again, I have been told a few (MANY) times that I too am far too sarcastic and jaded.
Usually bitch follows that as I'm not sure if a woman CAN be a curmudgeon (????).

I prefer to think of myself as having a wicked sense of humor.
But I guess sarcastic, jaded bitch works too.