Sep 8, 2005

Feckless Praise

I have a habit. A programming glitch. I'm well aware of it. I can only process kind words from specific sources. Coming from anyone else, it falls on deaf ears, leaves no mark, makes no waves. It has always been this way. I choose the voices in which I am able to hear encouragement. As a result, very few compliments make any difference to me. The message doesn't matter if the envelope it comes in isn't right. I'm picky and difficult in a thoroughly self-defeating way.

Last night, I was walking back to my car after watching a late show at the Improv Olympic West, and two guys in a beemer pulled up beside my car with the windows rolled down and greeted me all friendly-like. I said hello and assumed they were anxious for my parking space. They didn't need to butter me up with those sundry pronouncements about how sexy I look tonight or how pretty I am. I assure you. I was going to vacate the space anyway. But then the driver asked my name and asked if he could call me. And -- in an uncustomary show of cleverness and resolve -- I said, "No, thank you. I don't think so." He told me they were from New York, and I said, "Welcome to L.A.," and continued getting into my car. I was wearing what I might describe as a flirty little skirt, so maybe that's not so surprising. It's late at night in Hollywood, and people can't help but get their friendly on. But then this morning, I was driving to work, and the City of Beverly Hills truck in front of me seemed to contain a driver who wanted to communicate with me. At first I thought it was just him talking to his passenger, but eventually, he pulled over so that I would pass him, and when I did, he waved at me and made kissy lips. Why? I thought. He can only see my head, really. My head and my necklace and that I'm wearing a white sweater. But not much else. I assume even the sorts of guys who make kissy lips at random ladies passing by only do so when they can see whether a girl is able to stand. What if I was in a Honda that accomodates a wheelchair? I remember thinking something similar last December when I was in Vegas. I was plugging a slot machine in the Mandalay Bay Casino, and a guy sat down next to me. He was the third guy in a short span of time to accost me that night. And they all turned out to be from Hermosa Beach. So this guy started chatting me up. Asking if the machine was paying out. I didn't even look at him. Never made eye contact. I just responded -- somewhat curtly -- that I had only just sat down, so I didn't know. Question two was, Where are you from? and question three was, Can I take you to dinner? And I thought to myself, this guy hasn't even made eye contact with me, and he wants to take me out. He hasn't even seen the right side of my face yet. What if I were to turn slowly towards him to reveal that that entire side of my face was covered in burns? Would he still want my number? I realize people go to Vegas to gamble. Gambling Las Vegas gambling (see Lost in America). But does anyone ever roll the dice that blindly? Even in Hermosa Beach?

Anyway, my point in all of this is just that none of these incidents made me feel especially pretty or especially good about myself. Hang around me much and you'll learn that I get my share (and then some) of love from the homeless and the indigent. But you'll also learn that it never makes my day. I wish it could.

Things would be so easy if I would just let them be.

posted by Mary Forrest at 6:46 PM | Back to Monoblog


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