Friday, October 27, 2006

Pride, Prejudice and the Peculiar Panic of Pain

First, apologies for the lateness of yesterday’s blog, it was my uncle’s birthday and by the time I got home, Blogger was running maintenance and wouldn’t let anyone blog! How rude. So, we’re taking a step back in time today and pretending it’s yesterday and normal service will be resumed tomorrow. You with me?


Bean is my uncle and today is his birthday. I always remember it since he told me it was between a square and a cube in October. I won’t embarrass him by telling you his age, but he remains one of the smartest people I know and the biggest influence on my thinking. Last week, Bean sent me a text message containing a quote from Einstein:

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything but our modes of thought and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”

That certainly put a lot of my fears in perspective; I’ll stop worrying about the broken door on the oven then.

The chief used a term today that I was unfamiliar with. He referred to some people as ‘MegaNegs’, short for Mega Negative, which I thought was marvellous. I hope he never uses it to refer to me though. I’ll just have to work harder on my positive thinking.

The dinner last night with Glenn went well. We were talking about relationships last night, and the Chief brought up the same subject today. He offered to get me a date with a pretty man that we saw in the supermarket, which I politely declined on the grounds that I couldn’t think of anything more horrific than being set up with a stranger, by my boss, next to the artichokes in Tesco.

On the way back to the office, the Chief talked about a friend of his who he thought was ‘perfect’ for me (this despite, or perhaps because of, all my protestations against being set up), and who, in his words, is “in need of a wife.” I tried to change the subject but sometimes the chief has a sixth sense for a decoy and he refused to waver.

As we walked through the city centre, I asked myself why the thought of being set up with someone made me so uncomfortable. Unfortunately, I felt so uncomfortable that I decided I should think about it later and filed this conversation with myself in the category, Things To Do Should Hell Freeze Over.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, however, that the Perversities of Fate (a bit like the Muses but not so pretty and probably Goths) like nothing better than a human at their most resistant, and once the Chief and I arrived back at the Civic, said Perversities of Fate took out their jolly box of jokey japes. Who did we run into in the Foyer, but the aforementioned single man in want of a wife (though I saw no sign of a fortune). Nightmare.

The Chief’s eyes lit up like Christmas lights at a City Centre switch on (how obvious is it that I work with the Events team?) and my heart sank towards Sydney at something just over the speed of light (sorry Stephen Hawking, clearly not a physics major).

“Wonderful!” declared the Chief, with barely disguised delight, “Allow me to introduce you….”

Ten minutes later, in the lift, the Chief eyed me like a loupe-less jeweller assessing a roughly-cut diamond.

“So, what do you think? Perfect for you. Young, ethical, doesn’t wear labels…” He looked into the middle distance as if picturing hats to buy.

What did I think? About the dude in the foyer? I hardly had time to look at him, I was too busy entering into a state of panic. The thing is, that reassessing my personal life, viz intimate relationships, makes the recent reassessment of my personal development in my professional life look like an episode of the Teletubbies (I’ll leave the identity of Dipsy and LaLa to you, but I’m definitely Po. Po-Face, that is). Situations where people talk about setting me up make me want to curl up in ball while my face approximates Munch’s Scream.

Why is that Sarah? Well, I think that the place my self-confidence and self-esteem become most visible is in intimate relationships. I’m doing a lot of work on this right now from a work perspective and I thought I was doing pretty well, but the conversation with the Chief made me realise that I have a long way to go.

In short, relationships terrify me. I’m a love coward, a romance refugee, an Interpersonal 101 dropout. This afternoon only served to confirm it, and of course, now that I know that there’s something I’m afraid of, I have to do something about it. Now where did I put that file again…?

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