Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Consummation

A man, a recent retiree, stood in front of his class, his tweed coat more constrictive than he remembered, sweat beading on his furrowed brow. "Right," he thought, "These people expect me to entertain, too. Forget the fact that I have an illustrious reputation here, or that I was the Dean of the College of Very Important Things. They have no idea that my mostly grown kids attend the best private schools in town and that my sunglasses are worth more than the cars they drive. They want me to entertain them." Time was still. This wasn't going well.

The stagnant air stifled every idea and fidgety impatience lorded over the classroom.

The class which consisted of many of the brightest public high school teachers in the nation and beyond weren't buying what this self-aggrandizing man had to sell. His Jack Nicholson-like flair gave them all that they needed to know. There was no need for him to utter even one syllable, though when he did, they felt like they should have been standing on a veranda in a starry eve of an LA soiree, martini glasses empty of substance and conversation that was restricted, mainly, to name-dropping and bullshit flattery. Yeah. He thought he was someone, didn't he. And there was still an hour and a half to go. They would have to sit there looking interested. They knew the drill - to nod and smile politely - though they understood that he was feeding them his ego; they would have to consume it with false enthusiasm, ingratiating themselves for whatever connections he might be willing enough to bestow upon them.

He stood there for a moment, lost within his own sentence, the words turning themselves through an endless maze of important sounding rhetoric. He had lost them. And there was still an hour and a half to go. They certainly didn't know about him, did they, but he still had that nagging desire to be liked. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he needed them to want to listen to him, whatever it was he was saying. His credibility was slipping through the cracks and he was watching it leave just as he watched his career come to a close. It was like what they say about the instant you die, that you have a vivid, clear flashback of your life that sums up everything in that final millisecond. The difference was that the end of his career, projected through his mind, was cast in black and white and was inexplicably fuzzy. It was something that felt nostalgic, that was great at one point, but that was too quickly becoming the stuff of memorabilia. He had to say something entertaining. Soon. To save himself from them and from his own thoughts.

It was then that he cleared his throat and ran through the headlines he had read on the Internet that morning. He thought of something that might do the trick.

He blotted his forehead with his crumpled pocket handkerchief and tried, "Hey, you know Brad Pitt?"

The class perked up a bit. Maybe he was more of a person than they thought.

"That guy, " the man said, "is a lot older than he looks."

He paused at their recognition.

"I'm so fucking glad."

An intake of air and then laughter rang out.

Whatever he said for the last hour and a half was overshadowed by the new camaraderie in the room. Time ran smoothly. Egos and attitudes had one more time been saved, the marriage of the important and the jaded consummated.

9 comments:

Amy said...

Just saying Hello. I am not sure what to say about your post but interesting.

Happy Friday.

Christine said...

This is proof that YOU should have been the creative writing major. When I tried to explain to my kids what some of our professors were like, all I could come up with is the word "blowhard". And they didn't even know what that meant.
I'd say you did a decidedly better job.

Damn my wasted education.

Nemo said...

Hey, Lady!

I can't say I know anything about teachers drunk on their own ego... But nice.

I'd hate to tell you what's up in my life in a comment, so I'd just say go look at Muther Wuther.

Also, they don't know what a blowhard is? That makes me sad.

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

*sigh* Normally I can come up with something witty to say. But I can't. It's obvious you are an extremely well versed writer. And, well, I don't want to embarass myself by acting like I can keep up with that totally kick-ass post. (Was that the best critique you've ever recieved or what?)
But I would like to let you know that I came by to give you a big welcome to the Secret is in The Sauce community! Glad you joined and I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Jen said...

I agree with Christine you should have been a creative writing major! Seriously girl, you've got talent!! Just wanted to say hello! Are you on Spring Break too? If so, I hope you enjoy it and rest up!! I am SO looking forward to doing NOTHING!!

I want say again how excited I am that you are now apart of SITS!! I love seeing your comments on Roll call!! I feel like it's apart of HOME seeing you there!!

Love you!!

Jen

Ginger said...

You guys are good for my soul (and my self esteem). :)
Christine - if you hadn't noticed, I embelleshed a few details, probably to my own detriment.. I need an editor.

I learned about something called a micro-story, probably akin to vignettes, or maybe exctly like them, but I'm wondering if I have a shot at publishing some. someday. when I get better at writing(as in when it isn't as forced). But that involves practice, which involves time, which involves having some.

And thank you all for encouraging me. I'm not a writer. But I hope to be someday.

Ginger said...

Also, Mariam, if you are reading this, please send me your personal email. The link isn't working and I want to properly welcome Baby Sayeida (gorgeous name!) to the world!!! I hope you are well and adjusting to this new mommy business. Believe me, I know how wonderfully difficult it is!!

Maki said...

Hey there:

Thanks so much for paying the visit. Your blog is so interesting and origianal, mixed with creative writing and your daily journal..

I'm not a creative writer - I do though love writing essays based on current events. My major in college was journalism; I so need to finish and get a degree!!!

Talk soon:)

Cammie said...

roll called under you today so I wanted to say HELLO!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Consummation

A man, a recent retiree, stood in front of his class, his tweed coat more constrictive than he remembered, sweat beading on his furrowed brow. "Right," he thought, "These people expect me to entertain, too. Forget the fact that I have an illustrious reputation here, or that I was the Dean of the College of Very Important Things. They have no idea that my mostly grown kids attend the best private schools in town and that my sunglasses are worth more than the cars they drive. They want me to entertain them." Time was still. This wasn't going well.

The stagnant air stifled every idea and fidgety impatience lorded over the classroom.

The class which consisted of many of the brightest public high school teachers in the nation and beyond weren't buying what this self-aggrandizing man had to sell. His Jack Nicholson-like flair gave them all that they needed to know. There was no need for him to utter even one syllable, though when he did, they felt like they should have been standing on a veranda in a starry eve of an LA soiree, martini glasses empty of substance and conversation that was restricted, mainly, to name-dropping and bullshit flattery. Yeah. He thought he was someone, didn't he. And there was still an hour and a half to go. They would have to sit there looking interested. They knew the drill - to nod and smile politely - though they understood that he was feeding them his ego; they would have to consume it with false enthusiasm, ingratiating themselves for whatever connections he might be willing enough to bestow upon them.

He stood there for a moment, lost within his own sentence, the words turning themselves through an endless maze of important sounding rhetoric. He had lost them. And there was still an hour and a half to go. They certainly didn't know about him, did they, but he still had that nagging desire to be liked. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he needed them to want to listen to him, whatever it was he was saying. His credibility was slipping through the cracks and he was watching it leave just as he watched his career come to a close. It was like what they say about the instant you die, that you have a vivid, clear flashback of your life that sums up everything in that final millisecond. The difference was that the end of his career, projected through his mind, was cast in black and white and was inexplicably fuzzy. It was something that felt nostalgic, that was great at one point, but that was too quickly becoming the stuff of memorabilia. He had to say something entertaining. Soon. To save himself from them and from his own thoughts.

It was then that he cleared his throat and ran through the headlines he had read on the Internet that morning. He thought of something that might do the trick.

He blotted his forehead with his crumpled pocket handkerchief and tried, "Hey, you know Brad Pitt?"

The class perked up a bit. Maybe he was more of a person than they thought.

"That guy, " the man said, "is a lot older than he looks."

He paused at their recognition.

"I'm so fucking glad."

An intake of air and then laughter rang out.

Whatever he said for the last hour and a half was overshadowed by the new camaraderie in the room. Time ran smoothly. Egos and attitudes had one more time been saved, the marriage of the important and the jaded consummated.

9 comments:

Amy said...

Just saying Hello. I am not sure what to say about your post but interesting.

Happy Friday.

Christine said...

This is proof that YOU should have been the creative writing major. When I tried to explain to my kids what some of our professors were like, all I could come up with is the word "blowhard". And they didn't even know what that meant.
I'd say you did a decidedly better job.

Damn my wasted education.

Nemo said...

Hey, Lady!

I can't say I know anything about teachers drunk on their own ego... But nice.

I'd hate to tell you what's up in my life in a comment, so I'd just say go look at Muther Wuther.

Also, they don't know what a blowhard is? That makes me sad.

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

*sigh* Normally I can come up with something witty to say. But I can't. It's obvious you are an extremely well versed writer. And, well, I don't want to embarass myself by acting like I can keep up with that totally kick-ass post. (Was that the best critique you've ever recieved or what?)
But I would like to let you know that I came by to give you a big welcome to the Secret is in The Sauce community! Glad you joined and I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Jen said...

I agree with Christine you should have been a creative writing major! Seriously girl, you've got talent!! Just wanted to say hello! Are you on Spring Break too? If so, I hope you enjoy it and rest up!! I am SO looking forward to doing NOTHING!!

I want say again how excited I am that you are now apart of SITS!! I love seeing your comments on Roll call!! I feel like it's apart of HOME seeing you there!!

Love you!!

Jen

Ginger said...

You guys are good for my soul (and my self esteem). :)
Christine - if you hadn't noticed, I embelleshed a few details, probably to my own detriment.. I need an editor.

I learned about something called a micro-story, probably akin to vignettes, or maybe exctly like them, but I'm wondering if I have a shot at publishing some. someday. when I get better at writing(as in when it isn't as forced). But that involves practice, which involves time, which involves having some.

And thank you all for encouraging me. I'm not a writer. But I hope to be someday.

Ginger said...

Also, Mariam, if you are reading this, please send me your personal email. The link isn't working and I want to properly welcome Baby Sayeida (gorgeous name!) to the world!!! I hope you are well and adjusting to this new mommy business. Believe me, I know how wonderfully difficult it is!!

Maki said...

Hey there:

Thanks so much for paying the visit. Your blog is so interesting and origianal, mixed with creative writing and your daily journal..

I'm not a creative writer - I do though love writing essays based on current events. My major in college was journalism; I so need to finish and get a degree!!!

Talk soon:)

Cammie said...

roll called under you today so I wanted to say HELLO!!