Sunday, March 30, 2008

My life, in six words

Adjunct Whore tagged me for this one, which at first struck me as futile (what is this blog, if not autobiography? And if I could condense that autobiography into six words, why the hell would I be blogging?)--but after several conversations with friends this past week, I think I actually can tell you everything you need to know about me in six words:

I'm always sure I know better.

By which I primarily mean, better than everyone else. Evey and I have concluded that this is at least partly a big-sisterly trait: the conviction that you know how to do a thing properly--and are, moreover, obligated to explain that method to everyone else.

I can understand that some people might find this irritating, but I have a hard time seeing it as a character flaw. I mean, I give a lot of thought to the best, clearest, most efficient, and (where relevant) kindest ways of getting things done--so why wouldn't I want to share that information with others? And why wouldn't they want to learn those best practices from me?

The sentence, though, also applies to myself: whenever I do something dumb, I'm always sure that I do or did know better. I tend to believe that I understand my own motives and feelings nearly perfectly--or that I can, with just a bit of reflection. When I err or misread a situation, then, I'm angry with myself for not being smarter or paying closer attention.

Maybe what I'm really saying is that I believe there are right ways to do things--and that though one may err, one also can learn from advice and experience.

Or at least, as long as I'm around to help out.


Anonymous said...

wow, i could not identify more with yours! i think it is a big sister thing, i do it all the time too.

life_of_a_fool said...

Ha! I'm a little sister, but I am still like this, particularly about myself (o.k., about others too, though I often try to keep my mouth shut where others are concerned).

scr said...

How do you explain, then, that your little brother feels the same way?

Well, except when I consciously half-ass something and intentionally refuse to put in the effort. But that's not so often.

Flavia said...

Hee. You know, Bro--I had a feeling you were going to write in and say just that!

My sense, though, is that while we're both convinced of our total and absolute rightness, I may have a stronger compulsion than you do to school everyone around me. I don't know this for sure, since we haven't lived in the same place for a long time, but it seems to me that you're more inclined to just say, "stop doing this wrong! Let me do it!", while I have a greater tendency to pedantically explain the exact nature of the other person's wrongness, and how they can amend those faults.

(As Victoria said when we were IMing the other day: "you have this eerie ability to be very very patient and helpful and encouraging. . . and yet obviously irritated at the same time.")

It's a gift, that is.

St. Eph said...

You, my friend, are a Wonder Killer. It's a fun club.

Somehow I manage to keep this under control in most quasi-professional situations (sublimated into twitching and fidgeting), but I simply cannot control it when it comes to Hints-from-Heloise-type problems. Vinegar! Duct tape! Soft cloth!

Flavia said...

That is the Best Link Ever, St. Eph. I'm totally a Wonder-Killer.

ElwoodCity, Ph.D. said...

I inform people against their will

What Now? said...

Great concise biography! It could be mine as well, but I've tried very hard over the years to school myself out of telling people what they're doing wrong, but I can't stop thinking it -- I really do just know better than so many folks!

adjunct whore said...

it is precisely because of these sorts of admissions that i continue to tag you! i always find more hilarious and interesting
somethings about flavia.

Jack said...

Wow. You are good. And if that's true you've also got some ironclad professional tact. Or maybe you don't need tact when your way is actually the best, clearest, most efficient and kindest?

I'm pretty sure mine would be something like: Eat. Drink. Play. Read. Write. Sleep. Which is to say I would describe everything but my actual "life," if to be honest there really is much of such a thing. So perhaps a more accurate version would be: I have little to no self-understanding.

Maybe I should do more autobiographically-oriented writing? Or maybe I'm just a Wonder Keeper and love to let questions hang? Going with the latter, which sounds slightly sexier and involves far less work. Thank goodness for Flavias who do such work on a regular basis for my entertainment and edification.

p.s. ElwoodCity, I'm stealing that and tattooing it across my forehead