Every so often I meet someone who bugs me in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. They seem friendly, chatty, nice. But there is just something that keeps tickling me like an itch I cannot scratch...then I realize what it is: they don't care if I exist.
Oh, that isn't quite true. They need my existence, but only as an audience, a moon to reflect their brilliance back at them. Any life I have outside of that just isn't useful to them.
They exist for themselves and themselves only. Anything anyone else says or does just gets in the way of their constant narrative arc of their own life.
I met one tonight at water aerobics. She complimented my necklace to get going, but for the next half hour after that, it was all her show. From my necklace, she led into her jewelry collection, then into how much she loved art and design, to the homes she had remodeled (in excruciating, painful detail. I heard about grout, people, grout) to jobs she had had....any sentence I managed to wedge in was a bridge back to her, lovely her, and all of her fascinating (to her) interests.
Because I have been led down this primrose path of complete narcissism before, I recognized what was going on within the first few minutes. That wisdom did not spare me, however, as I have been blessed with a polite, blank face that leads people like this to believe that I am interested in their blather. She did not stop going on about herself until the last side-stretch was over.
The woman I used to give a ride to church was another of these.
My favorite time was when she called after my sister died. "How are you doing?" she asked. I told her that I was doing terribly. She said "So you won't be giving me a ride to church tomorrow?"
Thank you for your sympathy. Right.
She had a bunch of kids and I always wondered how it would be to grow up with someone so utterly self-centered. It would make you a little, or a lot, nuts, I think.
(They took the video that was here down. Too bad, because I am sure that all the links to this video were the most publicity this woman every got. Oh well. Some people just don't understand the internets, I guess).