Underthecurrent


February 28, 2010, 12:57 am
Filed under: gastronomy, insight

A career fair. Yes, it is awkward from the other side of the table too. I had the killer stilettos on, the ones that make me taller than most men, and my calves were strangely struggling for the first time in memory.

There were a few people I knew from school there and I realized how, in high school redux, the fallout was that much more pronounced. Friends remain close friends, acquaintences just sort of fall away and the small talk about the experience you were sharing is gone, leaving a catch up conversation at best, which is sometimes awkward when the last time you knew these people it was in a highly competitive context.

Translation. When I run into someone I graduated with in high school, either we immediately fall into talking like we used to, or we ask each other a bunch of questions about how life is and subtly compare. Because high school in itself, or at least my high school, was an oddly competitive environment. It was a place of contstant doubt, social jockeying, and meanness as social collateral. Without our best jeans to rank ourselves by, we now use numbers of children, careers, home ownership, and marriage. We can’t relate to each other as people meeting because there’s too much back story. At some point, we ranked these people in relation to ourselves, and seeing them brings up the urge to do it again.

My second degree, the professional one, was very similar. It was stressful and people were constantly assessing themselves against each other. Popularity, attractiveness, athleticism and intelligence all mattered. Everyone wondered if they were doing it right and how things would turn out. Unlike undergrad, where difference was met with acceptance and interest, here it was examined pro/con and slotted into the ranking.

The best example are two friends of mine who scored lucrative changes a year out by moving from private to public. In the long run, they may make less, but in the short run they make as much or more and get substantially better quality of life and benefits. Upon hearing about this, a table of people I went to school with first asked “did they get fired?” then sneered, “so, they couldn’t handle it, right?”

In the real world, you should celebrate the successes of others you like and have worked with even when defined differently. Unfounded commentary otherwise just belies self doubt and jealousy, questions on the road not taken and attempts to settle old scores. Advice? No. Resolve.

*

Today I had the sensation of becoming the person I am going to be, and how to facilitate it by experience. I can feel it in there and I want to be it already, all the time, without effort. A delightful impossibility.

*

Stepped out for brioche and bacon. I’ve never actually had brioche and was intending baguettes but they were sold out (I waited too long). Bacon and avo sandwiches tomorrow, along with the latest experiment in French toast. Bacon and avo, with a little cracked black pepper and sea salt, is the sandwich of my dreams.

Tomorrow I think I’m also going to attempt vegan ceasar salad dressing. One of my favorite restaurants serves this and it’s better than my mom’s real ceasar salad dressing with egg and anchovy. I have a head of nice romaine that’s just begging for it.

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