Saturday, November 08, 2008

How I am such a good grudge-holder

The books, they keep a'comin. Glee, glee. The other day: two deliveries of books, in addition to three other distinct Fed-Ex and DHL drop-offs (contact lenses, dog arthritis medication and something else which escapes me), not to mention the regular mail, and it really did feel like Christmas. Albeit, fairly crappy Christmas, to be getting dog arthritis medicine! [*Ask me about that, if your dog might have arthritis; it is awesome*]

I don't have much to say today, but I want to say this: as I go around to blogs now, after the election, I have been confronted several times with residual posts in support of Proposition 8, and my spirits sink. It's been such a strange experience, since I blogged about it -- to be confronted with proud discrimination by people who are good, kind, and polite. There's no other discrimination that is socially acceptable anymore (well, maybe anti-Muslim or anti-Arab discrimination is unfortunately still a point of pride in much of America), but to be anti-gay, it is not just acceptable, apparently, but something to kind of shine on your sleeve like an apple. Aside from this being really sad, it is also really weird to me, to hear these nice people asserting their prejudice. It's like bizarro world. It could barely be weirder if they started using racial epithets with a smile. (And they don't, these nice people. They never would. Not that. But this. . .)

And I can only imagine what it must be like hearing it if you're gay. After the euphoria of the recognition of these marriages in California, to be smacked down yet again.

It made me remember this Zora Neale Hurston quote, not precisely relevant, but wonderful:

"Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can anyone deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It is beyond me."

LOVE. That.

Anyway, I'm not trying to revive any debates here, so I'll distract you by telling you that it occurred to me recently I can really hold a grudge. Jim and I were driving by a restaurant called Arabian Breeze, and I got this curdled, bitter feeling, just going by it, from the one time Jim and I had eaten there. It was the day that I had gotten my first offer on Blackbringer and I was euphoric. I was going to be a published author!!! We went out to this new place for a celebratory lunch. As I recall it was cute inside, and the menu was interesting, and. . . Oh boy, this is going to sound really petty to you. It is petty, my grudge, but I am admitting it. The waiter came over to take our order, and Jim said, "I'll have number 3," -- the menu items were fairly complicated combinationy things, and each had a number by it -- and the waiter, a 20-something Middle Eastern guy, gave Jim a bastardy look and said, all condescending, "This is not a Chinese restaurant."

"This is not a Chinese restaurant?" Are you effing kidding me? The menu was numbered!!! There were numbers on the menu!!! So Jim, who is insanely polite, hurriedly corrected his *mistake* by stating the name of the menu item, and I ordered too, and we ate our food, paid, and left. But I don't remember any of the eating or paying or leaving, or if the food was good, or what. I just remember how that snarky comment totally changed the tone of our celebratory lunch, and I am enduringly pissed at myself for letting him get away with it. It's not like me, to let snark pass unchallenged! But for some reason, that day, I did. And as we drove by the other day, nearly three years later, I found myself reliving, once more, what I should have said to him, which would have gone something like this:

"This is not a Chinese restaurant."

"Excuse me? You didn't really just say that, did you?" *Laini smiles nicely, showing her fangs* "May we please speak with the manager?"

And then we would have spoken with the manager, and left, and celebrated somewhere else. I know, it's not like it's even a zinger. Just instantly ask for the manager, tattle, and go. Lame. But it gives me pleasure to imagine it. So, driving by, I was joking with Jim that if I had a time machine and could go back to any moment in history -- any moment at all -- to witness the building of the pyramids or watch Michelangelo carve the Pieta, or kill genocidal dictators in their sleep or anything I would go back to Arabian Breeze three years ago and try to get that waiter in trouble.

See??? I can hold a grudge!!! I have a longer-standing and just as stupid grudge too, and it involves a fake nemesis. By fake, I mean, he doesn't know he's my nemesis. He doesn't know that I pronouce his name like Seinfeld pronounces "Newman;" in fact, he doesn't know, has long forgotten, that I even exist. He's a writer, and he made the fatal mistake of blowing Jim and me off at a professional event years ago, doing that constant restless scanning of the crowd to see if anyone cooler was close at hand? And then said something really self-important and dismissive -- I don't even remember what. Does it matter? Let's assume he said, "Oh, insignificant little unpublished peons, shoo. I'm looking for more important people who are worthy of my divine presence." I don't think it was exactly that, but you get the point.

And I've really gotten back at him over the years. You know how? By refusing to read his books. Take THAT! *maniacal laughter and gleeful hand-wringing* Well, the truth is, in this case, I don't really still hold a grudge -- much -- it's just FUN having a fake nemesis. It's fun pronouncing his name like "Newman" if it ever comes up, which isn't often because -- ha HA! -- he's not even that famous.

Holding a grudge is awesome. Try it.

Now, a question:

-- If you had a single solitary trip in a time machine, where and when would you go, to do what, or witness what? First, for real, and then, for silly. Anyone want to play?


~Molly~ said...

ooooh, I'll play!!! First, for real, I'd love to go back to when Stonehenge was being built. That would be oh so interesting!

And for silly I don't know! I'd rather have a time machine pass where I could go to all the coolest times and places, Egypt during the time of the great kings, Rome, Greece, Garden of Eden, pre-historic Bering Strait era to see how folks got to the Americas, to see my great ancestor, William the Conqueror do his thing, the dawning of the Industrial Age in Europe, the early 1800s here in the US to see the westward expansion and gold rush. Gee Laini, I can't do all this with one trip can I?

Molly, also not understanding the hate.

Tricia said...

This post has me laughing and thinking of my Mom, who is the ultimate grudge holder. Her motto is, "I may forgive, but I won't forget. EVER!"

If I could go back in time, it would be to hear the Gettysburg Address. I'm not sure why, perhaps it's the post-election euphoria that hasn't worn off yet. It's just such a moving speech that I would love to have heard it delivered.

Charlotte said...

I am pretty sure I hold grudges, but I have trouble remembering what they are off the top of my I am racking my brain, and coming up empty. But I know I still hate them, whoever they are, wherever they are.

And now I will never eat at Arabian Breeze. I snarl at them on your behalf.

Em said...

I'm a total grudge holder too! In high school, this guy treated my best friend like crap. Small stuff, but mean. I still hate him for it. It was funny because she actually became friends with him towards the end of high school, yet I still refused to be nice to him. Don't mess with my friends! :)

tone almhjell said...

Play? Of course!

In fact, I've given this much thought and come up with..not so many smart things. Well. It's just a little numbing, all those possibilities.

So, serious:

My first idea was that I would really like to hang around Jesus for a couple of weeks, to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I'd be convinced, maybe I'd find out that I was right, that he was just a very, very nice guy. I'd try to get him to clarify a couple of things and make sure he wrote it down somewhere safe, because people would seriously be arguing about this stuff for thousands of years.

Maybe I should check out who killed JFK instead, or maybe warn him of what was coming, or try to make friends with Hitler as a kid so he wouldn't turn out such a monster. How about VE-day? People dancing in the streets because they really had a good reason to.

But if I'm honest and not a little selfish, I'd go back to the day Dad came home from the hospital and said that it was just a kidney stone and tell him to go check again, a little higher, and to hurry.

And silly? I'd go back to when Stonehenge was in use and ask: So what's it for?

tone almhjell said...

(and maybe they'd say: What do you mean what's it for, it's ART!)

Sarah Stevenson said...

" be confronted with proud discrimination by people who are good, kind, and polite." Well put--I'm totally there with you on feeling like it's bizarro.

But on to the time machine! For real... I've always thought it would be awesome to check out life in ancient long as I could be an aristocrat and not a slave laboring in the hypocaust, I guess. :D

For silly...I've also often wondered what would have happened if I'd decided not to come back after the summer I spent in London during college. Not that it was really an option, though I did get a flip marriage proposal from a Scottish soccer hooligan...

Wyman Stewart said...

Laini, Prop. 8 and those like it are Pyrrhic victories. They are doomed to fail.

Age Discrimination is common despite laws against it. There is something called Appalachian Discrimination. There are various types of workplace discrimination. For women, has the Glass Ceiling gone away?Discrimination in many forms is alive and well in this country. Most, very hard to redress in a court of law. One might posit there is fast developing an anti-religion form of discrimination in America. You bring up great issues, worthy of a national discussion with open minds by all. What I fear most is the closed-mindedness on both sides of the spectrum today.

Now, as I sit here, if I could time travel, a subject I am interested in, I would travel either to my last day of life, so I could gain insight on the right ways to change my life or I would go back in time to visit my late Grandfather to talk to him about life and other things; for the same reason. I remember childhood as wonderful; I might go to that time for fun and laughter. It is hard to decide.

For the person who wanted to visit Jesus, I would like to join you on that trip. Thanks for your time. I apologize if my thoughts are long and meaningless.

Deirdre said...

I spend far too much time thinking about going back in time. Sad. All of my time-travel fantasy is about my life and my sister's. I'd do my life so much differently and I'd tell my sister to get the lump checked again. That's all. No glimpses into history or long dead world leaders - just get the damn lump checked again.

Anonymous said...

I do that all the time, meaning I replay in my head what I wish I had said if I could go back in time and say it. The only real grudge I hold is with a past boss that I ended up resigning over. When I left, I think I had the upper hand but now that I've got a good 7-8 years hindsight, I wish that I had been more upfront with my thoughts. I still have imaginary conversations with her.

Jessica Verday said...

Ha HA! Grudges ARE awesome. (And nemesis' are too!) *said in a totally not weird, or insanely crazy voice* I am the same exact way. The worst thing is thinking about everything you wished you had said, but just didn't. I think some type of automatic brain zinger needs to be invented for situations like that.

Heather said...

My old neighbours were gay and the most awesomest neighbours ever! If they ever decide to get married, I'll be in the front row!

As for the time machine, I'd go back to 1985 and smack the crap out of my first husband (before I married him). I'd still let him impregnate me because I couldn't live without my beloved Hannah, but I'd let him know up front "you can't treat me like that!"

Stephanie Perkins said...

Ohh, I HATE that waiter for you! I feel the humiliated stab of pain. I know exactly what you mean, that little stupid moment that is just enough to ruin everything. I've built many similar grudges over the years, often (sadly enough) with library patrons. And no matter how lovely they've been since, I still remember that one time they said that one thing.

Time machine. Hmm. There's one Stupid Teenager Moment of mine I'd like to fix, but if I could choose ANY moment in time, it'd be a shame to waste it on something so lame. I'd love to see The Beatles play at the Cavern Club. Something happy like that.

Great Hurston quote. Stupid prop 8 people.

Jen Robinson said...

I had a friend who was killed not long after college. If I could go back in time, I would go to her apartment, and not let her go out on her own to catch the train that night. No contest.

And now I can't even do silly...

Anonymous said...

Your experience reminded me of the poem, "Incident" by Countee Cullen. He shares how, at the end of a couple month long stay in Baltimore, his only memory was of a boy who poked out his tongue and called him n*****.
The experience shared in the poem is quite different from yours, but it shows how the slightest remark can sour a lunch, evening, or even a couple month long stay in Baltimore.

Haha...I was just thinking about that scene in the movie You've Got Mail where Tom Hanks is stuck in an elevator with his girlfriend and two strangers, and they all go around and list what they'll do if and when they are freed. The strangers say really serious, life altering things. Just as Tom Hanks opens his mouth to share the girlfriend interupts saying she wants to get lazer eye surgery.

But how often is that our mentality?
Speaking for myself...way too often.

Anonymous said...

Did my comment dissappear? I thought I commented. I would be on a three masted schooner with my grandfather in the late 1800''s near India. For silly? opening day of the Hershey chocolate factory.
I am not a good grudge holder.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read the book, "Replay"? It's a wonderful story about what would happen if you had not one, but several chances to live your life over again. Fascinating!

Amber said...

Hmm. well. My nemesis is That Bitch Ruth. You could have guessed, huh? Yep. I hate her for realsies.

But my "fun" nemesis has for a long time been Five AM Harley Guy, next door. Grrrr... Hex on Five Am Harley Guy!

But now-- and this sort of ties in with the other thing you said-- is the Prop 8 Email Mom. The mom in Wyatt's class that WOULD NOT STOP sending me hateful propaganda about Prop 8. And THEN the other day, AFTER THE ELECTION, sent me more. Because, as it said, "They will keep trying!! We have to stay on top of this!!"

Um...!!!!! WTF? *sigh*

So, I waited and (stewed) thought about what I wanted to say to her. Because I had ALREADY told her in person that I didn't agree with her... But I just felt lik eyou felt about the rude guy-- I HAD to say something. And I am happy I did, because really, I doubt she EVER hears anything different from her own view.

Again, I feel like you about this. I just find it so hard to beeeelieeeve that people can think it is ANYthing but a civil rights issue. How good people can not see how much it is like any other civil rights issue we have had over time..? I just don't get it.

So she might be my nemesis now. Because I kinda hope her kid will turn out gay. LOL!


Anonymous said...

At first, I thought I'd go back to the grassy knoll, and see exactly what really happened - but I think actually, I'd rather just go back and see my mom and dad together, since I was too young to remember.
I've been trying to give up holding grudges - they get too heavy to carry them all after awhile :)

Anonymous said...

At first, I thought I'd go back to the grassy knoll, and see exactly what really happened - but I think actually, I'd rather just go back and see my mom and dad together, since I was too young to remember.
I've been trying to give up holding grudges - they get too heavy to carry them all after awhile :)

Anonymous said...

Came back to add - though it iS really hard to let some of them go. They dig in like burrs on your socks...but it does feel better when I can finally work them loose.

p.s. I hope I've never seemed snarky here though - if I have, it was purely unintentional!