Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Attenzione le narcisiste!

I will put this mildly- I come from a competitive family. My parents' marriage was an unlikely match: the union of two first-born children. Both of my parents are the oldest of three children. Neither of my parent's parents had siblings. What do you get when two first-borns, the children of four only-children, have children of their own? My sister (the oldest), me, my brother (the oldest boy), and a family where four out of five members are oldest children and five out of five members want to be in charge. People expect that I would not be competitive, a sort of middle child peacemaker, inserted to prevent competitive family meltdowns. It's a nice idea, but apparently there was too much power-hungry DNA in the gene pool to split between two children without killing them, and it was divided up between the three of us.

Since we never got into competitive sports, the competition has been channeled into other activities: Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, push-ups, pull-ups, cooking, dancing, friends, driving, IQ, EQ, SQ (social quotient), SpQ (spiritual quotient), airtime, grandparent affections, pet affections, pet names…(list continued below.) It is not uncommon for a casual lunch conversation to include the words, "No, you are wrong." In fact, it happened again on Sunday. Board games are rarely played because they get so out of hand (I haven’t played Monopoly with my dad in 12 years), and although it is early May, the category for our annual Christmas quiz has already been chosen. Past categories have included the neighborhoods of Manhattan, English history from the 1100’s to the present, and landmarks within a three mile radius of our house. This year, the quiz will be on the location of all of the countries of the world. I'll admit I am nervous. My sister has already memorized maps of Eastern Europe and Africa, my brother has already memorized Southeast Asia, and I have unwisely spent my time seeing if Text Twist will let me hit a score of one million (I still do not have an answer, thanks a lot “ocular.”)

Family competition only occurs inside the home or the car. Outside, in this "real world" that I hear so much about, we huddle, strengthen and swarm so that we can take down the competition. It's easy to feel unified when we all look nearly identical, but it also helps to occasionally wear matching outfits.

We are not ruthless, we just need to win the way we need oxygen, food and Cable.

general coolness
skin care
room cleanliness
celebrity sightings
in-law accolades
college rankings
Classical music
nail care
food shopping speed
music lyrics

Monday, April 28, 2008

The heat, my god, the heat.

A heat wave has crashed down upon Southern California, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that the wheels have officially fallen off the productivity bus. I have become listless and weary, finding that even standing in one place for a short conversation makes me tired.

There is a reason why Greece, Italy, Spain and Palm Springs are not the world powers they used to be. Warm weather does not breed creativity and productivity, nor does it ferment political agitation. Heat kills things. I don't feel overwhelmed with the discontent necessary to overthrow the government and the neighboring countries (lucky for you Canada!), I feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to put sunscreen on. Had I been invited to a riot yesterday, I would not have even considered attending. I would have ranted for a few minutes about why someone would choose to hold a riot in such weather conditions, and then I would have returned to my room, where I would keep the shades closed and lay on top of my bed.