Here is a girl who got a perfect score* on her verbal SATs, but who can’t find a synonym for “awesome” in quotidian** conversation. Or who finds herself stuck with “interesting” as a default adjective whether she’s discussing a Great American Novel or the pizza she had for lunch.
The verbal portion of my brain freezes up completely in mixed company. All I can process are the ways in which people are looking at me. I try to be articulate – I really do – but I get distracted by the sweat running down my back or by the scrutiny in other peoples’ eyes or by the fact that I lost track of what I was talking about a long time ago. If I’m going to say something borderline intelligent, the social climate has to be right to within an eighth of a degree. For example, the sweat glands, the digestive system, the state of intoxication, the room temperature, what I absorbed on the internet right before the party – this all has to line up perfectly or I will start blabbering.
This is all a prelude to an important lesson I learned over the weekend. If you really want to feel eloquent, hang out sober with a bunch of people who are balls-to-the-wall wasted. I picked up my lovely little sister and her adorable friends at Foxfield on Saturday, and I plan to take on the DD role every spring from now on. Not only did I get to be the hero who arrived in the nick of time to shuttle the kids back to town before anyone else got arrested, I also got to be the cool cucumber who knew just how to nonchalantly accept all the praise heaped on me for being the “awesomest.” I was driving a 12-seater van, I was cracking jokes, I was telling the drunk people about the salad I had for lunch – and they were all riveted and enamored by me, I swear to God. And when I walked along Barracks Road on the way to the field and was passed by all the undergrads in pickup trucks who shouted, “You suck!”,*** it didn’t even matter because I knew that I’d be able to recite the alphabet better than anyone within a mile radius. What a great day.
I’m wondering if maybe I should become a late-night taxi driver. I can try out some smart-person vocabulary on drunk passengers, give my self esteem a boost, and make some money in the process. I wish that I could be that sober all the time, but sadly, slight intoxication is the millstone I must wear around my neck in order to deal with average social events like lunch and dinner. I tried yoga, deep breathing, and meditation, but they’re so much harder than a mixed drink.
*STILL bragging even though it was over 10 years ago and those smarty-pants brain cells are all gone now. And please don’t ask me about the math portion – just give me my moment in the sun.
***In fairness to these people, after they harrassed me they would typically notice the purebred dog I was walking and then they would forget that they’d just yelled, “You suck!” and politely ask, “Aww, is that a Bernese?”