You know the person who, when telling you about some achingly mundane event in their lives, turns it into a sort of narrative epic of questionable insight and imagined valor? That’s me. And I know it’s me, when I’m in the middle of explaining the emotional context of a 3 AM subway ride and I can hear the rusty creaking strain of patience from my friends, and I can’t stop myself.
I just can’t.
So thank you, friends, and family, for your patience.
It’s times like those that make me wonder if my lack of self-esteem isn’t some foreign overlay, because when I’m telling you about the joyous schadenfreude of watching the jerk who cut me off halfway to my destination get pulled over by the cops for speeding, I am certain that you are feeling the righteousness just as much as I am, even though I’m only a third of the way through explaining why I was late for lunch, which was the point of the story anyway. I am confident that you feel it. And in those brief dissonant moments of self-aware clarity I dive in to press the point because that guy got what was coming to him hell yeah.
Stand-up comedians do this. This is their bread and butter. On occasion, I do it in front of an audience, too.
When you’re an outspoken fat chick who has completely given up on social norms of “feminine appearance” (because goddammit I just don’t have the energy or the time) you take what little advantage you have left and press it for all it’s worth. And that’s an astonishing thing to realize: I told stories once because I was good at it; I tell stories now because it’s a kind of social currency that I otherwise lack. It’s both an imperative and a defense mechanism: it’s not about me, it’s about an event. Sometimes any event. Does that make me lucky? Or should I have diversified?
There’s power in getting a word in edgewise before people make judgment calls about you. Now if I could just stop worrying what people thought in the first place.