January 26, 2009

Nobody cares

Here's the deal, ok: nobody cares about anybody else but themselves.

Or at least, nobody cares nearly as much about anybody else as they do about themselves.

Take, for example, my self-entertaining dressing habits. Earlier this school year, I decided to go a week wearing a combination of black jeans and a Princeton shirt. With four pairs of black jeans in my closet and a half dozen collared Princeton shirts, it was an easy enough challenge. Plus it made the mornings a little more mindless, and it entertained me. Along the way, I was curious as to when during that week one of my students would comment on my repetitive sartorial choices.

Here's the big surprise: nobody ever did.

Its not that my students are any less observant or caring than any other group of people, I'm pretty sure it's just that every one of them was too busy thinking about what everyone else was going to say about themselves to give my dressing habits more than a cursory thought.

Another quick story...a couple of months ago, in discussions about possible Thanksgiving meals, my mom explained something with the reasoning "because you know I don't eat lamb." I replied to her that I didn't know any such thing. Admittedly, I didn't remember her ever eating lamb, but there's a big difference between not eating something because it's an uncommon food and not eating something because you have some sort of stomach-churning revulsion.

I'd lived with this woman for the better part of eighteen years, and I had to admit that I really didn't have any clue as to her eating preferences or habits. Yeah, I remember which meal I always helped Dad make on weekday nights when I was growing up, the first meal that was ever deeded entirely over to me as a teenager - spaghetti with meat sauce. But her preferences? No clue.

So, I have begun to shift a single phrase out of my vocabulary because I think it reflects a sense of narcissism in each of us: you know that I....

I'm trying not to say that because I have come to realize that nobody knows anything about us - or not nearly as much as we would think they do. Nobody is staring at us - noticing that pimple, that your socks don't match today, that you're cutting back on sweets - because they're all too busy thinking that you're staring at them.

Every man is an island.

7 comments:

achilles3 said...

you know that I love black jeans

andrew said...

I thought you usually wore jeans and a Princeton shirt.

I suppose it also depends on what "not caring" is defined as.

calencoriel said...

I know that Lakes would wear a black top and khaki pants every day of his life...

Mr. Echt said...

Is that a narcissus pictured?

PHSChemGuy said...

Lakes - who doesn't love the black jeans? They're slimming...they go with everything...they're comfy but look professional enough to not be blue jeans.

Andrew - the blue jeans and princeton shirt is only when allowed by the principal. Our contract forbids the blue jeans unless the principal allows it - like he has for tomorrow.

Calen - five pairs of tan slacks and five black shirts would be Lakes's perfect closet.

Mr Echt - you win the prize. I wanted to ask if anybody knew what the flower was, but I thought that would just be begging for comments. You're awesome, dude.

CrimsonMirage said...

While I do generally agree with your comments, I have found that these laws somewhat differ in high school. It's not hard to be insecure when you are around girls (or guys) who feel the need to be malicious towards others when ever they feel bad about themselves.

ame said...

I see a big difference here between our age groups. My students mention what I wear on an almost daily basis. I have even had male students point out when I change my toenail color.

Amen for the phrase "professional dress" in our contract. It means there are no rules about jeans at all as long as they are worn in good taste (meaning not ratty and with a decent top). They are always considered acceptable with a school top. :)