8.16.2006

Speaking of Overpriviledged

so it seems that i'm the last of all of my known contacts to make the move into proper mid-adult-limbo area. which is to say that i'm not pursuing a graduate degree nor am i going to some far flung eastern continent in search of endangered species, children in poverty, or war-torn crisis areas.

and i'm also not trading over a bajillion dollars on wall street.

nope.

i'm right here, in new york. probably getting slightly underpaid and trying to figure out how much i love my life.

did i mention that i bought a bike? yes. i purchased a bicycle. that has been the biggest life-stage event thus far in my gray-area-of-adulthood phase. i guess i can justify it...or at least use this purchase to make it seem as though i'm doing some good with my life. i'm not in africa, but i am reducing fossil fuel emissions by .000001%, and that's saying something.

i can see how this will miraculously play itself out. let's set the scene.
Occasion: Going away party for Brendt
Place: The Cub Room (popped collars, khakis, and seersucker required)
Where's Brendt going: Brendt has been trying desperately to become a distinguished member of the Fulbright Society. But his fondness for 'the yayo' in his formative years has placed a bit of a tarnish on an otherwise sterile and gleaming collegiate record. That said, Fulbright et al have been more than reluctant to embrace this future presidential candidate. So, Brendt cashed in a few of the options on his trust fund and is off to Botswana to "find himself." Oh, and also for "the children." (He just hates how they suffer with those potbellies of theirs, the flies, and improper hair care)

The conversations vary from guest to guest. There's the typical social-scene jockeying. "I went to Harvard. I met my girlfriend at Princeton grad school." or "I went to Princeton. I met my boyfriend at Harvard grad school." or the ever popular, "I went to Yale. I met my girlfriend at Yale grad school. Then I transferred to Harvard grad school."

Then it's on to questions about which fundraisers you went to, who you saw there that can corroborate your presence at said event. And, finally they sink their teeth in:
q: so, what are you doing these days?
a: oh, just working a bunch. trying to see how things go in new york.
(then a long pause; they're dying for you to show some interest. okay, i'll bite)
a: and you?
q: OOHHHHHH, i'm so glad you asked. recently, i went to micronesia, on a grant from the ornithological society, where i recently rediscovered the once-thought-to-be-extinct micronesian duckbilled dodo bird. it was really amazing. there i was--in 'the bush'--with my sherpa, Dippo (great guy, bad hygiene), and i hear this little 'yeep, yeep.' i look to my left, and, OH MY GOD, there was this precious little chick-a-dee all alone in the dense, overgrown, native foliage. so, carefully...
(i order another drink)
...i bend down and cradle this young ipsaltum incalcanea--that's the correct ornithological naming: genus, species, you know--in my hands and it just begins to chirp it's little beak off. it was so cute. and, i mean, i rescued this poor thing. well, then we hiked back to base camp where i had Dippo prepare my salt bath, ginseng tea soak, my facial mask, and my pedicure, while i quickly pulled a new can of pedialyte out of the minifridge , poured it into a bottle, popped on a nipple and began to nurse my little pet back to health. all the flight attendants in first class were just cooing as brought Dippie--that's what i named him, after Dippo--home for his unveiling. they just kept bringing be champagne and strawberries. what a flight!
a: i bought a bike.
q: oh, that sounds like... You pedal? like, you exercise on your way to work?
a: yeah.
q: don't you sweat? isn't that gross?
a: i sweat. it's not that gross.
q: huh. i see. that sounds....nice (translation: plebian).
a: yeah, well i'm helping to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
q: is it for a grant? do you have to go somewhere far way for these 'emissions'? like Chad or something?
a: no. it's not for a grant. i don't have to go anywhere.
q: right. oh i see Buffy over by the tea sandwiches. i'll catch you at the......
and they're gone.

so is life more meaningful the more ridiculous and far removed the stuff is that you do? i wonder how much more respect i would get if i spent a shitload of cash to go somehwere far away to help some small tribal village that, albeit a wonderful gesture, in the grand scheme of things, is really only ammo for my resume, conversation, and....well that's it. it just seems that these types of folks go on these pilgrimages because
1. they have too much time on their hands
2. they have too much money on their hands
3. they don't know what to do with themselves
4. in the end, it makes THEM feel better
which is pretty much antithetical to the entire point of their journey.

it just all seems a bit more like self-adulating theater to me than anything else, which is sad.

but then again, isn't that what this blog is?

it's a trap. wittgenstein anyone?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Botswana and I think that the number of self-satisfied 'helpers' has increased over the years. This is most evident now because A) the country no longer needs foreign assistance to solve their problems. and B) I am older and no longer have roses in my eyes regarding foreign aid to African countries. All that said. It seems to me like buying a bike is a wise decision.

ACL

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