I sometimes leave messages for myself on my work voicemail. It always feels so weird to hear my own voice the way it sounds to everyone else. It's so different from the way it sounds in my head.
So last week I was at the little mingle we always have after church and three boys I know were standing together talking. So I went up and put my arms around two of them and said, "well here are three boys I like quite a bit." One of them made some crack about polyandry and I said I was all for it. One of them said, "no way, three men? We'd kill each other." I responded that men punching each other and then being over it was probably preferable to the slow emotional damage a bunch of women competing for one man could do to each other. Then the other one says, "well I certainly wouldn't want to cross YOU," and the first guy starts laughing so hard I thought he was going to choke. I asked him what was SO funny and he says, "you know when you hear something that is just SO TRUE?" and keeps giggling. I made a fake pouty face and laughed it off but the guy kind of had a point. Let me paint a little picture for you of an experience he had with me a few weeks earlier.
I had been here in Boston about two weeks and we went out for sushi one night. He recently moved into a new apartment so after dinner we went over for a little tour. He has a two bedroom apartment in a big cool building in Cambridge with a lovely view of the city and a great kitchen-a very grownup apartment. And it was a diseaster. He hosted a big Super Bowl party and had yet to clean up. Shall we do the math on that one? I watched the Super Bowl in California, then spent a week in Utah and had been working in Boston for two more. This was an old mess. After he showed me around we sat down to watch TV and after about two minutes I just couldn't hold it in and I said, "I can't just sit here when your beautiful apartment is this messy! We're cleaning it!" I should probably give the disclaimer here that this is a friend from my last tour of duty in Boston and not some poor kid I had only known for two weeks and was already bossing around. I try to wait at least a month before I start telling new friends what to do. So we spent about 45 minutes picking up the place. At one point as I was vacuuming in the living room he said, "you know, I just got a flash of what it would be like to be married to you," and I said, "oh sweetie, if you were married to me we wouldn't be doing this because the house would never have looked like this." We finished up and it really did look and feel about a million times better but by then I was feeling bad and hoping that I hadn't embarrassed a good friend. He said something about assertive women being sexy that I hope meant he didn't think I was a total head case. Then when he took me home he said, "you know I never realized you were so Type A. I kind of thought you were a little more relaxed."
SO DID I! I've been torturing myself a little bit since that night-thinking a lot about the personality I hear in my head and the one that everyone else hears and wondering how different they really are. I was out with a new friend earlier this week and as I was talking and telling stories I kept thinking, "huh, you sound a little crazy sometimes".
So I'm kind of a bossy, neurotic worrywart and I guess knowing that is a good step towards keeping it all in check. If I've learned anything from two seasons of 30 Rock, at least I'm the kind of crazy that makes for really good jokes. And listen, as long as people are laughing, maybe they won't notice that you just cleared their glass off the table before they were done because you can't stand a messy table.