Tuesday, July 22, 2003

In an effort to rid myself of the mean streak of misanthropy that has been growing (choose your own cliche: like a cancer! like a virus! like a weed!) over the last 9 months of near-solitude, I'm forcing myself to attend a, oh what are we calling it, a gathering tomorrow. I realize I've done jack squat to meet new people or make huge sweeping circles of friends, instead contenting myself with sitting in the corner of the bar with a book, muttering about how "bad Saul Bellow is better than obnoxious conversation anyday," ignoring the overt attempts at fellow patrons to alleviate my conspicuous solitude "Oh! How's your quiche?" "Fine."

Independence is a fine trait, but I think it can be taken too far, and I believe that is precisely where I have taken it. So tomorrow begins Day 1 of my new self-help course entitled Intro to Schmoozing. This "gathering" is sponsored by the Eurasia center, and will therefore feature specials on vodka, vodka martinis, and Eurotrash. Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be loving mankind. Right. So then I won't mention how I figured the cheap vodka should be a fine balm for the pain of forced, awkward conversations with jet-setting Eurotrash? Social skills, my dear, social skills!

I read in the helpful guide "Women for Hire" [not about prostitution], that when you are looking for a job, you should advertise that fact from the rooftops, because you never know who can help you out. Mention it to people in the checkout line at the grocery! it suggests. Mention it when you're waiting in line for the bathroom! Say it to the person next to you on the subway! So there's my problem. I've seen those people, those people that follow that advice. And I (oh, fuck the nice thing) hate those people! Acting like a blabber-mouthed twit can't possibly be a prerequisite toward good job-having, can it? I have a very strong feeling that anybody who would respond well to such a routine, would not be a person I'd be happy working with. But I imagine that people are equally uninclined to go to bat for a sullen, smug, self-satisfied neophyte who thinks she's too good to play the game. Unless of course, it's an older man, who will go to great lengths to advance the career of a skirt he's just met, however sullen. That's a story for another time, I think.

Really, I don't hate people. I adore the rush of a busy sidewalk, and the look of a park dotted with picnic blankets and bike riders. I even love the unwashed masses of the subway. From the infirm to the intern, there is always excellent people-watching in the city, and it's one of my favorite pasttimes. I just don't like talking to any of them. That's all.


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