21 March 2006

"Who the F are you?"

I wasn't going to write this next post. The scene was just too ouchy and fresh for me to share...but then I read what Izzy had written over at Moonshine about her fears of going to gatherings of bloggers:
"Like a recurring dream, I have this vision of me going up to other well-known bloggers and saying 'Hi I'm Izzy. I read you all the time. I love your blog.' and they respond with nothing but a blank stare and a polite half-smile, as if to say 'Yes, but who the fuck are you?' Shoot me now."

Here's my story from my vacation: My cousin's son Doug is a major league baseball pitcher. My huge extended family is not particularly close and I have only met Doug a couple times before, mostly when he was very small, but we chatted a year or so ago when he was playing in Los Angeles, where he was very nice.

I spent the past four days in Phoenix at baseball spring training. I didn't let Doug's dad know I was coming, but my mom said she did. I didn't know if I would have time to see him and I didn't know if he would be pitching.

But on Monday, he was scheduled to do his team a favor and pitch at a minor league game. Perfect. We went out to the park and were two of only about a dozen spectators (the major league training games attract 5,000-10,000 people but no one goes to the minors).

I was wearing my jersey with Doug's number on it that Mr. Stapler got me for Christmas. I know I looked absolutely dorky, but I figured I had to wear it to A) show family pride and B) let Mr. Stapler know I was appreciating his gift.

Doug was stretching in this little fenced area. Mr. Stapler said "Well, are you going to go say hi to him?"

I walked up and said "Hey, Doug," and he gave me the look that Izzy spoke of in her blog post.

"Uh, I'm your cousin Sue," I stammered.

"Huh?" he said.

"Yeah, my dad is your great uncle Bernie."

"I don't know any Great Uncle Bernie," he said, looking annoyed, as other players stood by, looking at me like I was the weirdest baseball stalker on earth as I stood there with this jersey with Doug's name on it and him having no idea who I was.

Is my feeling of absolute embarrassment and stupidness and being-picked-last-in-fourth-grade-ness leaking through the computer screen yet? Because it is a day later and I am still completely marinating in it.

I went on to blather about the long complex chain of how we were related, not making a bit of sense, I think, and he waited me out.

Then he said, reluctance dripping, 'I'll talk to you later, ok?"

I'm not just embarrassed for me. I'm embarrassed for putting my obviously clueless cousin through this exchange, too - he clearly had no idea who I was, he just got signed to a big contract, and he probably has been warned about maniacs claiming to be relatives that climb out of the woodwork.

He pitched a few innings and I was so mortified sitting there that I couldn't keep myself from blurting out words like "Stupid!" and "Urk!" as I went over the conversation again and again in my head. I wanted nothing more than to flee but Mr. Stapler was really into watching Doug pitch.

After they took him out of the game, I didn't stick around to see if he would actually talk to me later. I left as fast as my short little legs could carry me, wadded up my jersey with Doug's number on it and tossed it in the trunk of the car, trying to forget, but knowing I never would.


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giddybug said...

Oh, how well I know that awful feeling of soul-crushing embarrassment. As well as thiss feeling of rage against comment spammers.

IzzyMom said...

Can you hear me hissing "asshole" all the way across the country? Sorry your cousin is such a rude jerk.

SUEB0B said...

Thanks for the support (except for anonymous, who I will deal with later). But my cousin isn't that big a jerk - I added a paragraph to explain his situation...I mean, he obviously thought he really WAS dealing with a looney.

giddybug said...

I did sympathize with him, as well, even before you added the paragraph. My extended family is huge, and I can certainly imagine not recognizing one of my first cousins once removed.

Laura said...

Did you have a foil hat, or a brewers hat?

Janet Evening said...

May be he was constipa... no, never mind. I can't say it.

MrsFortune said...

I think I would have probably peed myself, cried, and then wallowed about it for two days. In that order. How awful ... I've had such things happen to me before and for some reason it's just like ... so hurtful when someone has absolutely NO IDEA who you are yet you feel like such an absolute idiot for knowing/caring who they are.

Christina said...

You just lived one of my worst nightmares. I have an enormous family on one side, and I've had situations where I walked up to someone and started talking, and then realized they had no idea who I was.

My relatives handled it a little more politely, though. Too bad your cousin didn't.

Kristen said...

That sucks. I guess "famous" people get that sh*t all the time but still... I would have felt so awful.

Eden said...

Meh. Didn't give the excuse to blow you off. If you followed that up with, "I'm here to talk about your inheritance," he'd have given you some attention.

Doesn't he know who he's talking to? ;)

Useless Man said...

Went through a similar experience with a friend that went on to be a popular stand up comedian and movie regular.

I saw him at a show, but couldn't talk to him until after. i didn't want to throw off his preparation, or get picked on if he DID remember me.

Two years later, we're still friendly, and I'm glad I took the time to chat after that first show.

Thanks for sharing your story!

Mom101 said...

I worked with Johnny Knoxville years ago, before he was famous. We even kept in touch for a while. I ran into him in the street in Soho a couple years ago and tried to congratulate him all the success and I'm sure he was like "yeah thanks. And who the hell are you again?" Hello. Mortified.

spotted elephant said...

Sorry to hear that. Your family really dropped the ball. But Mr. Important could get a clue.

J's Mommy said...

awww that had to hurt - what a jerk!! i just found your blog via kristen at MU - cool read!

gandhi rules said...

I usually go into situations like yours assuming I will be leaving looking like a tool. They rarely work out in my favor. It must be my "oh look at me, I'm a tool" vibe.
So, I cringe for you and want you to know I feel your pain, sister.

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