Wednesday, January 19, 2005

keep it down now, voices carry

There are moments where life really feels like it could be a sitcom, aren't there? There's the time in second grade when my teacher could not pronounce my name, and then, sighing, asked if I wouldn't mind if she just called me "Mary." I'm still surprised that I said I did, in fact, mind; I was so young, growing up in EBF Central, and should have been so tempted to assimilate. But the sitcom moment came later, when I went home and told my dad about this little incident. His response? He marched into my second grade class a week later, tacked an oversized map of India on top of the chalkboard, and proceeded to lecture the class on Indian history, culture, tolerance etc. etc. It was one of those moments where, at that age, I wanted to be invisible, and at this age, I would have wanted to laugh hysterically at the slight insanity of it all. Yet, looking back on it, I find it so reflective of my father's approach to ignorance or prejudice. To him, it can never be that people hate- they just don't understand, as far as he is concerned. I have to say, his approach to life in that regard is rather admirable.

My father has more sitcom moments than I do. Mine are more from the narrator's perspective, observational, or at best, the straight-man in a comedy, whereas he is more the star of the show. My sitcom moment today came in the form of a higher-up at the company, in whom I foolishly confided my plans to enable a good exit strategy out of corporate hell and into a meaningful existence. We were sitting at a meeting with at least a dozen people, a meeting that was completely ineffectual, going in circles, arguing about hypothetical nonsense, basically.
Random dude: Now let's consider the scenario where A happens, B also happens. Would we then consider moving forward with C?
Me: (bewildered glance at Higher-Up signifying What are these dudes smoking?)
Higher-Up: (grins, pauses, then grins wider at me) Hey, listen (completely audible whisper), you better make sure you are out of here and in ____ before all of this plays out.
Me: Rrriiighttt. (nervous laugh, looking around room awkwardly)
Ultimately, since the higher-up in question is a bit of an eccentric, most of the people in the room looked at him like he was making some clever remark with no basis in reality. I, for one, hope he's right. Actually, he could be instrumental in making his prediction right, since he has some pull in making my plans a reality. So I had to suck up the fact that he's lacking in the discretion department.

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