Saturday, June 02, 2007

Inferiority Complex

One of my old English professors was in my yoga class today. And every time I bump into her and am forced to make small talk, I feel dumb as hell.

She asks how I am, and my brain begins this argument with itself:
Don't say you're good. Say you're well.
Are you sure?
Yes. 'Am' is a verb, so you don't use the adjective. You use the adverb.
But does it matter that 'am' is a linking verb?
Fuck if I know.

So I end up stuttering out something like, "Oh--things are going good--well. I'm ok. Really. How about you?" Then I give her the brief update about the parts of my life that she may be able to pretend to be interested in, "You know--still teaching. English. It's good. Well. It's going really great--ly. And my daughter is almost 5. And well, we're still here in Cedar--as you can see."

Some people, really nice, normal people, can turn me into an idiot in about 2 seconds. It's because I know they're smarter than I am, and they know they're smarter than I am, and so really, what's the point of me even talking, because they know more than I do anyway.

4 comments:

Stine said...

This reads like the last 3 weeks of my life. I hear you.

Katiemagic said...

I HATE it when I do that. It's only around the people I least want it to happen around as well.

Actually for a while I was all "damn I wonder if missuz j is judging my grammar, what is the correct grammar, must have correct grammar and spelling???!!!"

Then I had to let it go.

lonna said...

As a professor, when I run into my former students I just want to know that they're happy and progressing in what ever way they choose. The way I see it our spoken language is allowed to be much less formal than our written language. I'm a real stickler for anything in written form, but verbally, anything goes.

Congrats on selling your house and finding your middle house.

thelyamhound said...

Yeah, I have a lot of people who turn me into a babbling idiot with nothing intelligent to say and no coherent way of saying it. We (more or less) heterosexual men call such individuals who reduce us to stupid, slobbering messes "women."

Generally, though, I always find there's a gap (read: gulf) between what's on my mind and what would pique the interest of even my closest friends, so I tend to find myself in that situation more often than not.

I suppose if I could speak worth a damn in my own words, there'd be no need to act or write.