27 September 2007

Well excuse me for living

Every so often I meet someone who bugs me in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. They seem friendly, chatty, nice. But there is just something that keeps tickling me like an itch I cannot scratch...then I realize what it is: they don't care if I exist.

Oh, that isn't quite true. They need my existence, but only as an audience, a moon to reflect their brilliance back at them. Any life I have outside of that just isn't useful to them.

They exist for themselves and themselves only. Anything anyone else says or does just gets in the way of their constant narrative arc of their own life.

I met one tonight at water aerobics. She complimented my necklace to get going, but for the next half hour after that, it was all her show. From my necklace, she led into her jewelry collection, then into how much she loved art and design, to the homes she had remodeled (in excruciating, painful detail. I heard about grout, people, grout) to jobs she had had....any sentence I managed to wedge in was a bridge back to her, lovely her, and all of her fascinating (to her) interests.

Because I have been led down this primrose path of complete narcissism before, I recognized what was going on within the first few minutes. That wisdom did not spare me, however, as I have been blessed with a polite, blank face that leads people like this to believe that I am interested in their blather. She did not stop going on about herself until the last side-stretch was over.

The woman I used to give a ride to church was another of these.

My favorite time was when she called after my sister died. "How are you doing?" she asked. I told her that I was doing terribly. She said "So you won't be giving me a ride to church tomorrow?"

Thank you for your sympathy. Right.

She had a bunch of kids and I always wondered how it would be to grow up with someone so utterly self-centered. It would make you a little, or a lot, nuts, I think.

(They took the video that was here down. Too bad, because I am sure that all the links to this video were the most publicity this woman every got. Oh well. Some people just don't understand the internets, I guess).


Blog Antagonist said...

Good Lord those kind of woman make me want to stab myself in the eyball. And, LOL. I just posted that same clip. It's brilliant.

Average Jane said...

My worst fear is that I'm behaving self-centeredly in social situations. However, I'm 100% certain that I don't hijack conversations for long periods of time until we're discussing grout, so I'm probably okay. (Wait a second, I made this comment about me. Aaagh!)

PunditMom said...

Oh, yeah. I know one like that. I was relieved when I learned that I wouldn't have to see her as often, but that hasn't stopped her -- 'cause there's the phone and the Internet to ask for favors and talk about yourself, right?


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I have a couple of thos ein my book club.

Anonymous said...

"Anything anyone else says or does just gets in the way of their constant narrative arc of their own life."

Amen, amen! I have been trying to describe someone I know and this is a perfect statement. I have no tolerance for people like that, which may explain my lack of friends here in Irvine ;).

slackermommy said...

Self-centeredness makes me insane!

Mrs. Chicky said...

I find a well placed "wow, you're reeeally amazing. It must be tough to be that important" works really great when you want someone like that to shut the hell up.

Chris said...

I know people like that. They can be so annoying.

I had the pleasure of seeing Anita Renfroe *do* that song (and others) in person at a Women of Faith convention. Watching it on youtube does not do it justice, she is hysterical and has a nice message too.

PS I set up a blog so I will no longer be and anonymous poster or a lurker. I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time. :)

meno said...

I see you met my mother.

SUEB0B said...

Blog Antagonist - You and me both with the forks in the eyes.

Average Jane - I have talked to you and you converse like a perfectly non-self-centered person.

PunditMom - Oh yeah, with the favors. LOVE THAT! Someone I already don't want to talk to, and now I have to say NO to them, which I HATE.

Sarah - Sounds like good times. Listening to someone yammer about themselves instead of the book.

Hilly - Gotta love the f'in OC

Slackermom - Self-centeredness only makes me insane when they are MORE self-centered than me LOL

Mrs C - You are a tough woman, my dear

Chris - I checked out your blog! Cool.

Meno - my sympathies. I was wondering who got these people as parents and how it affected them.

Bitsy Parker said...

So glad you met my mother! How's she doing?

Anonymous said...

I know quite a few people in that category, and I can see who they are...you find a lot of people who are self-centred don't really know themselves that's why they feel the need to prove something or elevate themselves..
It's really beter to listen twice more than you speak..
You are really good at observing people...I take back what I said before....

Maggie said...

I have been agonizing over why a certain someone in my life irritates me to the core - to the core. I think this has inspired a post. Thank you.

Suzanne said...

You know, I always worry that I am one of those people because I over empathize, but when I read about how someone goes on and on about grout, I know for sure that I am not. Plus, I like hearing other people's opinions and seek them out. Whew.

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