Thursday, March 12, 2009

When You Stress to Impress

"I'll tell you what's so great about it," I looked at her, "it's that desperation is the hardest emotion to convey without falling into self-indulgence and pity."

"So," a co-worker is laughing at me, "you like it because it's desperate."

"Well, partly, yeah. But no," I'm furrowed now. "It's just good."

"You read weird things, though," she turns another book over in her hands. "So there's no like, superheroes in it, right? You're not trying to trick me?"

Sigh. "No. That book," I gesture towards my book that she's holding, "is like, mid-eighteenth century Brit lit. Like it's written by Jane Austin's like, favorite author equivalent of...I don't know. Some clever female feminist author that's popular right now but I've never heard of. I don't know. That book is nothing like Watchmen. It's just fun."

"I can't ever tell with you. You've got that one book that looks like a comic book, but it's not. You know, it's like, pink..."

"Three Musketeers."

"See? You read weird things."

"What the fuck? How is the Three Musketeers weird? It's classic."

"Don't you have anything, like, normal?"

"Dude, you asked if you can borrow a book from me--"

"But you know," she flips through the pages of The Adventures of Arabella. "I was thinking like, what was that one? You were talking about it a while ago and then one of my guy friends told me about it the other day, and I was like, 'Yeah, I've totally heard of that.' The one about the haunted house, and it's like the book is haunted too. Can I borrow that one?"

"House of Leaves? You think Three Musketeers is weird and you want to borrow House of fucking Leaves?"

"I don't know, my guy friend said that it was good," she smiles all sheepish and shrugs backwards, blushing.

"Fine, I'll get for you, but...dude: you thought Kurt Vonnegut was weird. I don't know if you're going to like that book."

"But it sounds interesting! And...scary. I like, like...you know, scary books sometimes."

"Good. That's awesome. I mean, it's fascinating and all, the story elements and how they're woven together, but, I mean, I didn't even get half of it..." she's looking me straight in the eyes and cannot hear a word I'm saying. Or at least, she temporarily walled up her ears. She's a very smart girl, really, way smarter than I am. Most people are. Then again, I kind of live in a different world than everyone else, because I've got this raging awesome ability to eclipse over the immaterial, which is anything that doesn't relate directly to me (Jennifer Lopez has children? How did I just learn this?).

And then I remembered what it's like when you're trying to impress some guy with your knowledge and opinions ("Oh, I looove Henry Miller" and "I always listen to NPR" and "Through a Glass Darkly is totally in my Netflix queue as we speak, I want to see it soooo bad, Bergman is amazing" - are you fucking kidding me? Bergman is. a. fuck., and I know that War of the Roses is next), and I feel like a total douchebagess (you know--like a shepherdess but a douchebag) because I am guilty of lame-o-ness and then I judge everyone else for doing the same thing.

"Yeah, of course, sorry. I'll bring it tomorrow. But I'm warning you, it's a stressful book."

...

15 comments:

Betsey Booms said...

I'm kind of stressed now.

I think I was before too though, so no worries.

Like this is about me or some shit.

Oh and that is exactly what I do too, which is why I read you... You actually write about stuff that I care about.

You know, not all current events or pop culture. Or Technology.

Our tree house is going to rock.

prayingtodarwin said...

House of Leaves is SO stressful. I never would have thought of it, but that's EXACTLY the word to describe it. For, like, 6 months, I was trying to be casual, but obsessively measuring the house. (And I try to stick to boys who don't need to be impressed. Then, anything I do is automatically impressive. Dig?)

Gwen said...

Hee. I love this exchange between you and your co-worker. Honestly, she doesn't seem smarter than you based on this dialogue. I cracked up at your "I loooove Henry Miller." Ugh. Henry Miller really was a douchebag. You, my dear, are NOT. Far, far from it.

And now I want to read House of Leaves.

hereinfranklin said...

I just blogged about books...not 10minutes ago...weird. I loooooooove Vonnegut.

Erin said...

Oh, my God.

Jennifer Lopez has kids?

Now I feel totally uncultured.

tysdaddy said...

Who is Jennifer Lopez . . . ?

Mia Watts said...

Yep.

Got nuthin'.

Bacon?

Jocelyn said...

Loan her LIFE OF PI next and tell her you're the tiger.

Then, the next time you ask to borrow her stapler, she'll hand it the eff over.

Del-V said...

I'll keep reading books about superheroes, thank you.

wolf said...

I've got this half-assed goal to read a bunch of the classics that everybody talks about and nobody reads. So, for instance, I read Catcher In the Rye.. It was all right. But I just finished Catch-22, and it was awesome. I might read Atlas Shrugged next. Or some Cormac Mccarthy.

Should I put House of Leaves on my list? I've never heard of it.

pistols at dawn said...

Hmm. I actually do listen to NPR all the time, and love me some Henry Miller, so I'm not sure what to do here, besides take your d-bag crown.

pistols at dawn said...

Also, I don't much care for the Three Musketeers. My friend summed it up best when he said, "It's really just the A-Team of literature."

renalfailure said...

House of Leaves was a book you had to wrestle with... especially when the text starts going in odd directions and the footnote comments go really long

Bluestreak said...

I just read this and realized what a douche I am too.

Rassles said...

Boomer: I'm scouting out templates. Seriously. This tree house his happening, and it's happening in the form of a Monster Blog.

Ginny: Isn't it though? I didn't even like it that much, and now I need to read it again just so I can stay on top of things...but it gives me such a fucking headache.

Gwen: I don't necessarily think Henry Miller was a douchebag, but there's no way I looooove Henry Miller. More like: enjoy enough to have read several of his books but not own more than Tropic of Cancer.

Franklin: Who doesn't?

Erin: I hear she's married, too. But I am so glad I'm not the only one who didn't know this.

Tysdaddy: J-Lo, my friend. Go rent Out of Sight.

Mia: Biscotti?

Jocelyn: Unless she's all, "I'm the motherfucking island that eats people, bitch. You better watch your teeth."

Del-V: I still try to sneak those to people.

Wolf: I don't know. I wouldn't call it a classic. I would call it more of an experiment. I mean, it's worth tackling just for the sake of putting together a puzzle, because the book is a puzzle, with like, hidden codes and stuff. It's stressful.

Pistols: What would make you a true douchebag would be to completely exaggerate your devotion to Miller and NPR just for the sake of impressing someone. Or girl. And: Three Musketeers is the shit.

RF: And when you forget how you got to the words in front of you. It tries to dominate you, and reading it, it's like, "Fuck you book, I will organize my thoughts however I want, stop trying to trick me."

Blues: Yeah. I've got to stop trying to impress, and start talking about Foreigner again.