This is my weekly post for my blogging group, the Loose Blogging Consortium (LBC). The word 'weekly' is proving to be a trifle ironic as I haven't been posting with the LBC regularly for some time now, owing to the fact that (a) I am not very organized and (b) 'real' work takes priority in my world, be it the housewifery stuff of cooking, cleaning, looking after the kids, operating the washing machine and hanging out the clothes on the line to dry (and running to grab them back in again the moment a monsoon shower starts. Yeah, never a dull moment here in India. I knew I had some particular reason for loving this country. Lucky I have someone nice living nearby who does my ironing for a reasonable fee. That's just about my only luxury) or the freelance work projects I take on from time to time. I made a promise to myself recently to refuse to be bound by guilt about not reaching all my targets. Feeling guilty is something I do rather well owing to my RC upbringing, God help me. But I'm planning to give up guilt permanently just as soon as I can persuade myself to stop feeling guilty about it. This should really be a post on prioritizing, I think. Or digressing. In order to simplify my workload, I have left posting links to other LBC bloggers in the actual post and have put the names and links to fellow LBC bloggers in the sidebar. Not all our LBC bloggers post every week, but if you're looking for some interesting blogs to read, you are most welcome to visit my friends. You may even find some alternative takes on the topic of 'Ego', suggested by a wonderful blogger by the name of THE OLD FOSSIL (TOF for short), in case they are posting this week or have posted by now.
And now, the post:
And now, the post:
Like quite a lot of words in as many languages, ego has different meanings. The meaning I usually give to this term is 'having an enlarged sense of one's own importance.' People with outsize egos irritate me no end. Yet, being the centre of my own world, so to speak, I probably have an outsize ego too and probably can't even see it. What a pity we can't see ourselves as others do.
I remember a relative of mine (names undisclosed to protect the guilty!) was very upset once over having big (to her) responsibilities at work. I tried to console her by telling her that I'd gone through a tough time in my own (then) high powered job as an invoice typist only very recently when I'd inadvertently stuck the wrong invoice into the wrong file and would have messed up the system no end if I hadn't (mercifully!) noticed the mistake on time. My aim was to cheer her up and show her that everybody gets it in the neck once in a while and that, most importantly, it's not the end of the world.
She regarded me with an odd look. What was it exactly? Pity, I think.
"Yes, I understand what you're saying," she replied, kindly. "But you see, my work is important."
Talk about an ego!
Was she on the management ladder or something? No. She was a cashier, actually. I suppose in the hierarchy of things, invoice typists come a poor second to cashiers, who, after all, handle money. On which our modern civilization is built. But I still maintain, like several decades later, that there was no need for her to be quite so subtle. Or unsubtle, rather. With a few, seemingly innocuous words, she not only asserted her own ego, she knocked mine down a notch as well. It took me a while to recover from that little blow.
I had a friend in secretarial college called (for the purposes of this post) Eileen. Eileen and I were practically the last pair left in our class as one by one, all the newly qualified shorthand typists were absorbed into employment. So Eileen and I, who hadn't really interacted throughout the year we'd studied in the same class, were thrown together by circumstance. We supported each other through our respective job searches and forged a nice little bond. Although neither of us were in the same circle of friends, we kept in touch for a number of years after leaving school. We used to meet once every two months or so and go and see a film one or other of us wanted to watch, or try out a new restaurant, as both of us were really into food as well as films. Eileen, I should add, was a very gentle soul with no false ego that I could see. So one day she called me up and asked me if I'd like to go and see THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK with her. This was what could be described as a chick flick, a woman-centric movie, about three women who cast a spell to find the perfect man and end up in a sort of menage-a-trois with the Prince of Darkness himself (don't mention that name on this blog!). I had no actual interest in the movie as menage type scenarios are definitely not my thing. But Eileen wanted to see it so okay - I agreed.
So it's coming up to a quarter past seven and there I was, standing under Clery's clock wondering where the heck Eileen was. It so wasn't like her to be late. We both worked near the city centre in Dublin, for Heaven's sake and I knew she'd probably just have stayed in town after work.I'd stayed a little late at my office. Where was she? Another five minutes and we'd miss the beginning of the movie.
I'm just about to walk away and Eileen arrives, breathless and laughing with another young woman in tow. The other woman had long red hair and spectacles which looked like bottle ends.
"Hi, Maria, this is Carol from the office, " said Eileen, by way of introduction, getting ready to explain why she was late. She was stopped in her tracks by her companion.
"First of all, I'd like to say that you're not to blame Eileen for being late, it's my fault," said Carol firmly. "I told her I'd be coming along with the two of you as I need to see this movie. However, I was stuck in the office, working late. Then we had to go to McDonalds, as I had to get something to eat." Not 'we'. 'I'. Talk about an ego! If it suited her, I'd say Eileen could have starved.
"What a pity you couldn't have let me know you were going to eat, I could have joined you," I replied, trying to keep my annoyance in check. I was starving. All I'd had since lunchtime was a (small) packet of peanuts. Having stayed late at work in the office, I hadn't really bothered to arrange a meal for myself owing to scarcity of time, figuring that I could make a sandwich for myself once I got home later. My annoyance was lost on Carol. She didn't give a hoot. When I noticed Eileen looking a little anxious, I decided to drop it.
Yes, we were way late for the movie. What can you do? We got seats together. I hadn't been particularly anxious to see this film although I like the actors Cher, Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. But whatever enjoyment I could have reaped from the evening was totally ruined by Carol, who guffawed loudly at all the 'girly' jokes, much to my annoyance. I'm not sure if John Updike's original novel, on which the film is based, had such a chick lit type approach, but jokes about putting down men and their various ineptitudes do not do it for me and never did. Carol, on the other hand, was having the most marvellous time. Eileen, wisely, kept silent.
"Well, that was highly amusing," declared Carol, as we left the cinema. She excused herself from our company as soon as possible, as she had to meet someone called Gerry in a pub nearby.
"Who's Gerry? Carol's boyfriend?" I asked. Eileen nodded.
"She's mad about him. They're living together. But poor Carol doesn't have it so easy. Gerry is separated and his wife gives Carol a lot of trouble," said Eileen sadly. This was like, twenty five years ago, when Ireland had no divorce, so it looked like Carol had a pretty difficult situation going on in her life. The less said the better, so I kept my own counsel. But deep in my heart I felt for Gerry's wife, whoever she was and I hoped she'd give Carol a good kick in her ass the next time she saw her.
I wouldn't like to say anything bad about anyone, but some people really rub you up the wrong way. And I've only one thing to say about Carol.
Talk about an ego!