May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007O hai. I r dying.
I think someone at work gave me a disease. I've been freezing to death for two whole days now, and my nose and throat feel sad. Maybe it's just PMS/allergies combo, though.
I hate being around stupid people who think they're smart.
Seriously as hell. I'm not trying to be mean, but it really grinds my patience to get stuck in a conversation with someone who thinks she's way smarter and more interesting than she really is. I say she because I see it happen a lot with women. Semi-pretty women, who probably at one time were told they were brilliant by some guy who wanted to sleep with them. Oh, and by their parents.
I'm a magnet for this sort of person, especially now that I've sold a book or two. This sort of person corners me and brings out her brightest, wittiest, cleverest conversational topic. Then goes on and on and on. And there's usually a thick underlayer of barely concealed resentment, right there in her voice. Like, "You think you're so smart because you're a writer, but listen to me. I'm just as smart as you, and I will prove it to you now with this monologue about celebrity fashion, my precocious childhood, and my quirky, enlightened religious beliefs! Take it, bitch!" And I feel like the teacher of a spoiled, bratty child, who never gets enough attention.
Really, it's not the stupidity that bothers me. People can't help being born un-smart, just like people can't help being born un-handsome. But un-smart people can still be interesting, and often are. Failing that, they can learn the golden lesson of staying quiet when they have nothing interesting to say.
Not these certain chicks who surround me, though. Nope. They are not smart, and they are not interesting, but you can not stop them. It is their God-given right to annoy the shit out of you with their endless babbling and self-complimentary anecdotes. Isn't it? It must be.
Some day I want to tell someone, "You aren't as smart as you think you are. I was listening to you to be polite, but now I'm going to walk away, because you're boring me."
What would happen then? Maybe the world would explode.
No... probably just my grandmother would fly down from heaven and slap my face, for being rude.
I know you know people like this. What do you say? Is there any way of changing them? Do you just avoid them?
That was mean. Let's say nice things now.
Well, the weather is nice, and I really hope we get off our butts and go to the beach this weekend. Me, my boyfriend, and the kids, I mean. It will be awesome. All we have to do is pack up a bunch of stuff, borrow some extra lawn chairs, put $50 of gas in the van, and drive for an hour. That's all. Woo hoo. I don't know why we don't just do it.
Whatever it is I think I see, becomes an embedded advertisment to me.
I'm getting tired of reading blogs and magazine articles that are filled with "subtle" product placement. You know what I mean? And that's all I see anymore, I guess because all media is owned by, like, two separate entities now.
I used to like In Touch magazine, because they always had interesting photo features. Like:
- "Out of these two celebrities wearing the same hideous designer gown, which one looks best?"
- "Look at this expensive outfit this actress is wearing. Now, we will show you clothes just like hers from Target and H&M."
- "Are these celebrities down-to-earth or diva-ish? This one is washing his car! This one is getting a parking ticket! This one is getting a face mask made of 24 karat gold!"
But now, everything in In Touch, and every other trashy magazine, is a freaking ad. It's like:
- "Pictures of celebrity hairdos, alongside pictures of the hair products we're getting paid to pitch this week."
- "Incessant coverage of a romantic relationship between two actors you never heard of, who, incidentally, are starring in a new movie that opens in theaters this weekend!!!"
- "Bulleted lists of alleged celebrity sightings in which every celebrity is holding a brand-name product or thoroughly enjoying their time at a chain restaurant or theme park."
It makes me not want to buy magazines anymore. [Sighing.]
One last, very petty, yet very important thing.
Back when everyone was first getting into Sudoku, I said aloud, to everyone who'd listen, "Sudoku has been in American crossword/puzzle mags for years and years, except they called it something less fancy than Sudoku. (Number Lines? Number Cubes? Something.) Furthermore, those aren't even the best number puzzles in the puzzle magazines. The best one is Cross Sums. Cross Sums rule my world, and people who love Sudoku are living pale, shitty imitations of my life."
So I went to CVS the other night and looked at the magazines, and next to the fifty-seven publications about Sudoku, there was something new entitled "KAKURO! (Cross Sums number puzzles)."
See, all you have to do is give a number puzzle an intriguing Japanese names, and then it will be famous.
Will I be doing Kakuro puzzles on the bus with you now? No, I won't, because I burned out on Cross Sums long ago. But I hope you number puzzle freaks enjoy them. Wait til you get to Trigons, which you might, when they change the name to Trikurasakas. 6:08 AM #
Comments:Number place, is I think what Sudoku was called 30 years ago when I would do them in my Grandfather's crossword puzzle magazines.
And, although I fancy myself smart, giving you this boring information, that has taken up space in my brain way too long (and that, Apparently, I've been just waiting for someone to bring up!), cross sums were way to hard for me, so you are smarter, and I now bow down and bask in the light of your greatness.
(See, it's not because you're a published author, but because you can do cross sums).
Also, logic puzzles were the best. I could not get enough of them.
I am a dork.
# posted by Amy : 10:55 AM
I'm suddenly worried that I'm not as smart as I think I am.
# posted by : 1:21 PM
Anon: I'm definitely not as smart as I think I am, and I'm the one complaining the loudest.
Amy: Logic problems ruled.
Here is how you'd know if you were one of the people described in this entry. You would have posted the following:
"Oh Gwen, that reminds me of this story I wanted to tell you about something funny that happened to me. The other day, I was doing a logic problem, and my boss walked up and said, 'Oh my god, Amy, I can't believe you're doing logic problems! You are, like, so smart!!! And I love your dress!' And I told him thanks, but I was embarrassed because I was doing the super-easy kind of logic problem that, like, *anybody* could do. Right? So, like, then, like, my boss was like, 'Oh my god, I should totally promote you and, like, give you a company car. Also, have you ever thought about writing a book?' And I was like, 'No, because I spend all my time helping people understand things about their lives that they can't understand on their own. I'm too busy to waste my time writing.' No offense, Gwen. I'm not saying your book was a waste of time, or that you only got a book deal because the publisher felt sorry for you. So then my boss wanted to know if I could do some stuff for him, probably because he's trying to get the CEO to notice how well I'm doing. And I'm, like, so embarrassed. I mean, how should I handle this? Has that ever happened to you -- that your boss thinks you're like, way too smart to be doing your job and he, like, won't stop saying stuff about it? Oh, it hasn't happened to you? Oh well, don't feel bad. At least you sold a book or whatever."
# posted by Gwen : 1:38 PM
Gwen, I feel you on this. I can't speak for you, but I suspect one reason these people bug me so much is because while I know I'm smart, I also am acutely aware of how dumb I am, too. I know there's a lot of shit I don't know, won't ever know, and can only hope to know well enough to want to know it. Those who have no concept of this - or who don't embrace it, but try to cover up for it - can really drag me down. I'm trying to avoid them, and instead surround myself with people who are smart and intellectually curious. I try to avoid those other types (staying away from places where I know social climbers will be thick on the ground helps), and when I do encounter them, make it as brief a conversation as possible. Also, humbling myself and thinking back on a time when I thought I was so smart and got my ass served to me by the universe (or whoever) helps me not be so wound up at those people. They're not well.
# posted by Jackie Danicki : 1:47 PM
I used to think I was smarter than most other people, and then I thought I was smarter than some people but other people were smarter than me. Most recently, I've downgraded myself to "bright". As in the fourth grade teacher's description of the kid who usually didn't need to stay after school for extra tutoring.
And I can't even do the hard Sudoku puzzles. Give me a couple more years and I'll settle for "not stupid".
# posted by kate : 2:29 PM
Yeah, when I was in high school I thought I was pretty damn smart, and now I find the more school I do, the stupider I feel.
The bright side to this, of course, is that I hang around with really smart people, and I keep hoping it will eventually rub off on me. At least all the dummies like me are willing to learn.
# posted by Archigeek : 2:47 PM
I seem to get a lot of people who want to tell me how alternative they are, as well as how smart.
"Yeah, and then I was at the dungeon? With my girlfriend and her primary? And this dude came up to me and was all 'Hey do you want a threesome' and I was all 'WHATever, that is soooo 2001.' And then I was all 'Well, I think I want to go home and read now'...I mean, I am totally addicted to books, you know? Books are like, totally my crystal meth. God, I read more than anyone I know, and people think I'm sooooo weeeeird, but I just tell them, whatever, I'm totally a GEEK, okay, and GEEKS ARE COOL and YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. I'm all into Bukowski right now. And Harry Potter. And drumming. And Burning Man. I don't even have a TV. Well, I do, but I just use it to watch the Daily Show, which is like, totally how I get my news, and everyone thinks I'm sooooo weeeeird for that, and the rest of the time I keep it under all my swords and knee-high leather boots. I just treat it like a piece of furniture. Also, I'm a libertarian."
I feel like I get dumbe every year, but I try to make it a rule to only hang out with people who are smarter, hotter, and more interesting than me, which has worked out pretty well for me on a totally selfish level. Also: I fear y'all with your logic problems.
# posted by Chiara : 6:32 PM
Maybe it's not the dumbness, but the thinly-concealed hostility plus insecurity that is bugging you. Like you said, not so smart people can still be nice and even interesting. And truly smart people can be hateful and petty.
As far as dealing with them, well-disguised pity (because who would want to be like that) plus avoidance is about all you can do.
# posted by emjaybee : 6:50 PM
What do they talk about? I too wonder if I am like these people. Or what they are like.
I'm 95% sure that I am reasonably smart but still blather on about boring topics. I've wondered why we do this--Is it to show you are smart or is it for some other reason.
# posted by ozma : 4:06 AM
What I wouldn't give to be in charge of Us magazine's "Stars" They're Just Like Us!" section.
As far as stupid people go, I am also a magnet for them, and it sucks and blows because I am already disinclined to make small talk and when someone starts in on me about some completely random shit, I have to not only figure out how to be polite without encouraging them but also put all my remaining energy into NOT allowing my eyes to glaze over.
*pauses to read what I just wrote*
That last sentence? Painful. Sorry about that.
# posted by Jane : 8:54 AM
Maybe it's not the "thinking they're smart" that rankles, maybe it's just the boastfulness? That's what pisses me off about people, no matter what they're boasting about.
# posted by kim : 10:00 AM
Loving the logic puzzles does not make one a dork (she said defiantly in the hopes that it erased her dorkness). I try to explain to people that they are just Sudoku with storylines. My favorites are the ones with fun stuff like dinner parties. Like, six people go to dinner, and with clues like "Either Bob or Mary had the pork chops, but if Mary had the pork chops, Bob drank iced tea," you have to deduce everyone's first and last name, appetizer, entree and beverage. Sadly, I think the regular puzzlers can do one in a sitting but it takes me days to finish one of those bad boys, and multiple sheets of scratch paper.
As for the show-off smarties, I have mixed feelings. People who are constantly having to play and win the Who's The Best in The Room? (whether it's looks, popularity, success, popular culture, money, parenting) game make me tired, and I wish I could try the technique of acknowledging that I was being polite but now I'm giving up.
The problem is that I am gunshy: people on the Internet have accused me (behind my back, of course) of being one of those people. And it hurts my heart, because I agree with Kim that what's so icky about it all is the passive-aggressive bragging and resentment-manifesting-as-oneupsmanship.
If I say, "listen, I found this awesome way to score first class plane tickets for coach price," I'm trying to reveal that I am CHEAP and a DISCOUNT SHOPPER and I am putting one over on my company who is paying the bill but yet I get to ride in the good seats... but other people hear, "Oh really, little miss travels-all-the-time, rub it in."
Or, if I say, "My kid used to be a holy terror and I CRIED because I was clearly a shitty stepmom who was one phone call away from a CPS report, so after a few months and psychotherapy, we found a book that helped," ...I'm trying to reveal that I had a shitty parenting experience and after much anguish, found a solution. But people instead seem to hear, "Right, of course Tracy solved the problem *eyerolls all around*"
ANYway, I guess my point is maybe to give that annoying person the benefit of the doubt of what is in their heart. Because if what is in her heart is "I feel insecure and envious that Gwen has accomplished more than me so I'm going to cut her down," then that person is a stone bitch and deserves the snub (and your grandmother would totally agree and would not fly down).
But, maybe, if what is in her heart is good, but it accidentally came out as endless babble and self-complimentary anecdotes, then she could get a break, because maybe she would just die to think that people thought that was ever her goal.
(am stopping now, as this is a clear violation of the GYOB rule.)
# posted by Tracy : 3:11 PM
My most hated boastful group is the people who used to be childfree babyhaters, and mock people for discussing their pregnancies and children, who now blog solely about either their pregnancies or kids. Sure, everyone is entitled to change their minds about their reproductive choices, but those of us who had kids and got over it five or ten years ago, and in the meantime had to hear you rant about how annoying and uninteresting parents are, as a group, simply because they have reproduced -- well, we all think you are big douches now. Your sciatica/baby's nap schedule/teething rants are not any more interesting than anyone else's were, nor is your baby more precious.
# posted by : 3:26 PM
I can relate..oh hell yeah..I work for attorneys..yup ..still toiling in 2 A.
Remember that scene at the end of Romy and Michelle's HRS when they had changed into their own clothes, re-entered the reunion from hell and the snarky ones tried to bitch slap them ? And one of their former allies, the now editor of vogue thrashes them with the ever classic.." Yeah, just keep telling yourself that ."
Classic, I've always wanted to have the balls to use that.
Greetings from 2 A
# posted by Aunty Pol : 5:45 PM
I kind of feel sorry for people like that, because it just seems like such blatant insecurity, but they're still kind of annoying.
Plus, I think I'm probably luckier than most. I know more or less how smart I am and I don't feel the need to prove it, because I hang around some quite brilliant friends, who acknowledge my knowledge and intelligence and expertise in my field, thus letting me be quite confident of it, while being educated in their own fields that keep me very well aware that outside my own specialities I'm thoroughly ignorant. I don't feel the need to prove I am SMRT because I'm good at what I do and I know it, and I don't feel I am Einstein dipped in Hawking sauce because I'm often shown the scope of my own ignorance. I am what I am and I do what I do and what the hell does it matter how I compare to others?
# posted by Rae : 3:21 AM
OMG! Gwen, I definitely know I'm not that smart, just a hard worker. I have NEVER been able to do any number puzzles in my life. Sometimes I feel like I should at least try to exercise my brain but I never do. I feel the same way about crossword puzzles. **Sigh!** Will you still be my friend? :)
# posted by ShoeGirl : 10:57 AM
Jackie: Yes! You hit the nail... They are especially prevalent in social-climbing atmospheres. And you give good coping advice. Thanks. :)
Archigeek: I think being willing to learn exempts one from dummie status, though.
Chiara: You made me laugh out loud. Yes, those people. Thank gosh I don't attract the hipster sort, though. I'd constantly be like, "What does that mean? I don't know what that means," until they ambled away.
Ozma: They talk about anything, as long as the topic is specially designed to lead to the conclusion that they are fabulously brilliant.
(Jane: Me, too.)
# posted by Gwen : 12:40 PM
Kim: You said, "Maybe it's not the 'thinking they're smart' that rankles, maybe it's just the boastfulness? That's what pisses me off about people, no matter what they're boasting about."
Hard to say. I think it's mostly the passive-aggression, but you could be right. There are two specific people who do this to me on a regular basis. With one, I found myself thinking, "I wish you would just come out and tell me 'I am smart! I am awesome!!!' instead of wasting my time with these bullshit stories."
Then, Person 2 told me a long, rambling, bullshit story, and then ended it with, "I guess I'm just telling you this so that you'll know that I'm smart, too."
And, weirdly as hell, while I was typing the comment above, someone here at work just told me a rambling, nonsensical story that ended up being about the fact that she's a good cook. (The stories never make sense. You're listening, thinking, "What is the point of this story?" and then it gets to the end and you realize, "Oh, okay. You're a better cook than your father-in-law's girlfriend. That's all you wanted me to know. I get it now.")
And... it made me realize that the most rankling thing about these people is that they're seeking approval from an inappropriate source. Obviously, they're very insecure and they feel unappreciated at home... so they tell me these stories. Like they want me to supply the validation they're missing.
That should probably move me to pity more than annoyance, but I *am* a bitch, so...
# posted by Gwen : 12:46 PM
Tracy: I hear you. I know what you're saying, because that happens to a lot of people, I think. Okay, it happens to me. My coworkers have a problem, I offer a solution, and then they say behind my back, "Gwen's always showing off how she knows a lot about computers." And I'm like, "Yeah, either that, or I was trying to be helpful."
So, I totally feel you. And, in general, I do give people the benefit of the doubt. It's just these certain people for whom I'm running out of benefits. :)
Anon: Word up. Hilarious. Hopefully some of those people will read your comment.
Boschka: :) And then, would you cap it off with modern dance? Okay, no...
Rae: Yeah, what you said, re: insecurity. But... "Einstein dipped in Hawking sauce" - hilarious!
Shoegirl: I will still be your friend. At the same time, I'm going to buy you a variety puzzle book. There is totally something in them for everyone. I will convert you all.
# posted by Gwen : 12:54 PM
Yeah, I am deeply bugged by Competitive Talkers. There is clearly a contest underway, I am just not sure of the rpize.
# posted by : 1:08 PM
Anon 1:08: Right? Funny.
Emjaybee: So, I didn't see your comment, somehow, until the other day, so it just went up on the site, way, way above. But: what you said. Everything. Thinly concealed hostility plus insecurity = blech. You nailed it, and in far fewer words than I could. :)
# posted by Gwen : 8:38 AM
This is brilliant stuff. YOU WROTE WHAT I THINK EVERY TIME I COME TO WORK.
# posted by : 10:40 AM
I'm thinking Kelly Kapoor from "The Office".
# posted by : 2:01 AM
Post a Comment