Know It All

14 Jan

On Bright Yellow World, there was a great link to an article about how people like to share their horrible experiences of whatever it is you’re going through (planning a wedding, buying a house, having a baby).  They scare you into thinking that it will be horrible so that you can bond over your shared horrible experiences.   And while I think that is  true, I think there is another reason that people do this. I think people just like to know it all.  You’re all bright eyed and bushy tailed about your upcoming wedding? Well too bad, I know better than you and I know for a fact that your bridesmaids and future in-laws will make you cry four times before you get married. 

Even when I was buying a house, people tried to scare me about all the signing you have to do at closing. People made SUCH a big deal about this. “Get ready for your hand to fall off.” “Maybe you should bring an extra pen.”  And then they’d chuckle knowingly, their closing date far behind them.  When I was done signing, I was shocked.  That’s it?  This is the mountain of paperwork they were all telling me about?  Yeah, it was a lot but nowhere near what people implied.  And seriously, what a stupid thing to try to scare people about!  Why don’t you tell me the horror story of moving and your A/C breaking down in the middle of moving day in August?  That would be a real horror story instead of this dumbass story about bringing an extra pen.

It’s like they want to bring you down by knowing more than you.  They act like they are giving you the benefit of their experience but really they are trying to make themselves feel better (haha, I already suffered through all that and this idiot has no clue what’s ahead of her) and you feel horrible.  And don’t get me wrong.  I’m so guilty of it all the time.  My sister-in-law is planning a wedding and while I try to be super supportive (and I think I’m doing a fairly good job) there are times when I want to staple my mouth shut.  I’m totally doing the same thing to her as pen guy did to me!  She’ll say something and I’ll hear my know-it-all voice telling her exactly what she should be doing.  “Oh, you don’t want to take too many people shopping with you. You’ll be overwhelmed and you won’t be able to pick the right dress.”  “Yes, you do need a really good photographer.  Candid shots from the guests just don’t cut it.  My friend ended up with no pictures of her first kiss and a disposable camera full of pictures of someone in the bathroom.”  Instead of letting her set her own priorities and learn from her own mistakes, I shove my experiences down her throat and give her a horror story of how things won’t work out if she does something differently than I did it.  

And I hate that.

You know how they say that sometimes when something really irks you about a person, you should look at what behavior is really irking you because it might be irking you because you don’t like that behavior about yourself?  Does anyone understand what I just said there? I know it’s not very eloquently phrased, but you know what I mean, right? 

Anyway, there is this guy at work who is constantly telling me about what’s it’s like when “you’re a parent” and everything that changes.  “You never see your single friends anymore. You never eat out at restaurants anymore.  All you watch is children’s tv.”  So as he is telling me all this, I am getting angrier and angrier. Because first of all, I’m kind of having issues becoming a parent and even though he doesn’t know that, it’s still driving me crazy that he is saying all this.  So I started calling him on out on all of it. About how we always chat about Dexter.  Since when are serial killers children’s tv?  And how he was just out at dinner the other week.  And of course he still won’t let it go.  “No, no, no. It’s not all bad. But still your life is very different.  You have no freedom.” (Yes, you’re right. I guess I’ll have to change my filthy habit of staying in on Fridays and watching tv.)   But now I think about how I’ve been acting with my sister-in-law and I am ashamed. 

I have become pen guy.

Actually, I probably always was pen guy. I just didn’t realize it.  So I’m going to try to be more aware of this so I don’t suck all the fun out of her wedding like I did with my childhood birthday parties.  And next time I meet someone buying a house, I promise I will tell them that the signing of all the papers really isn’t that bad. And I will NOT tell anyone planning a wedding the story of how the limo tried to drop me off at the wrong church.  Which, in retrospect, is kind of hilarious.

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One Response to “Know It All”

  1. nzforme January 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Pen guy is hilarious — of all the things that can drive you crazy home-buying, “having to sign a lot of stuff” didn’t really strike me as one of them.

    But to the real point, I remember back when I was starting law school, everyone kept advising me to read “1L” — Scott Turow’s book on his first year at Harvard Law. And I kept refusing and eventually was able to put into words why: This was my one and only chance to have this experience, and I didn’t want it colored by someone else’s. I did not want to learn from someone else’s mistakes, but wanted to make my own.

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