I got a call from my sister yesterday and learned a couple of very surprising things. First, my brother-in-law was in the hospital. Second, apparently the world doesn’t revolve around me. I wasn’t aware of this and I demand to know when this occurred. It was quiet surprising to find out that people are actually going on about their daily lives as if I were not taking the bar exam in 9 days.
I mean all that sarcastically. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm, read that paragraph again. It’s ok. I’ll wait…
Anyway, even though I am actually aware that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. And not just during bar exam time. Maybe I’m just an exceptionally selfish person, but I suspect other people have this problem too whether they realize it or not. I think everyone is a little monomaniacal in some way. For me, it’s that I expect that everyone around me, even those people I just encounter incidentally, are dedicated to making my day better.
Now, I know that’s an extremely unflattering thing to say about yourself, so, let me explain. I don’t mean that I think everyone is literally dedicated to making my day better; a call to any customer service center will immediately dispel that notion. What I mean to say is that I have difficulty seeing the people I interact with in their individual capacity instead of just how they’re relating to me. For example, the checkout girl at Target. If she’s rude to me, I don’t just think “She must be having a terrible day. Maybe she’s got some personal drama right now.” No. I think “What the hell? I didn’t do anything to her. Why did she have to throw my change at me?”
This tendency is not as pronounced around my friends and family, probably because I know them better, but it’s still difficult to not do self serving things. And in fact I do it all the time. Making dinner for my husband is sweet, but really I do it because I’m hungry and it makes me feel good that he thinks it sweet. Buying presents for people: makes them happy, but it makes me happy that I made someone happy. And I think everyone has had this experience: you leave the house wearing shoes that looked amazing similar in the dark closet but once you get to your destination you realize that you’re wearing a pair of shoes, but the shoes are different colors. And for the rest of the day you feel like everyone is staring at you. Because other people have nothing better to do than stare at your shoes.
What? Not everyone has had that exact experience? Well. Substitute shoes for unzipped pants, shirt with ink blot, or forgetting to put mascara on both eyes, then.
I guess the point is that it’s difficult to realize that not everyone is as focused on your life as you are. Even when you actually know that not everyone is completely focused on you, it’s still a shock to the system every time you’re reminded of it. And even after all this soul searching, I have to say it is truly mind boggling to me that people are just going on with their lives right now like nothing hugely important is looming on the horizon for me.
But maybe that’s just me. Maybe other people don’t have to constantly remind themselves that everything going on in the world they encounter isn’t in some way linked to them. If so, I guess I’m exceptionally self-centered and now you all know that I have that character flaw.
Oh. I forgot about my brother-in-law. And now you’re probably thinking “My God! She has got to be the MOST selfish person in the world. Her brother-in-law is in the hospital and all she can think is how this proves the world doesn’t revolve around her.” And that’s a valid thought. But let me try to clear my name. He’s fine. He was in the ER for a few hours because he had an abscess on his tonsil. It was drained (a process that makes me want to gag just thinking about it) and he went home immediately afterward. So really, it wasn’t a terrible terrible illness and I didn’t start writing this until about 18 hours after he was released. And my first thought on getting the call from my sister was not that it was proof of my lack of importance in the world. I was actually worried about her. So I’m not completely monomaniacal.
Have a great Sunday! It’ll make me feel happy if you do! 🙂