But just patronize me, and you make an enemy for life.
So many have tried it. One guy in graduate school--a creative writing major--made it clear what he thought of literature majors. We had to work in a group together, three creative writing majors and me (a lit. major), and when the other three were going off on a tangent with planning, I said, "I don't quite understand."
Without blinking, this person leaned over, patted my arm, motioned to himself and the others, and said, "Don't worry. We're very creative people. We'll make sure you're okay."
I wanted to slug him. But since I am a pacifist, I didn't.
There was no shortage of such people in graduate school and academia. Usually it was a teacher of questionable worth who made it a point to patronize and insult the worth of the other teachers or graduate students around him/her in order to feel superior. But I always hated it.
Theatre has traditionally been a place for this as well, but until this last week, I hadn't really encountered it here in the community production of The Sound of Music. Sure, we have a couple divas, and they share their own little dressing room, keeping themselves aloof from the rest of us... but they haven't been too annoying.
We were just about to begin our second week of shows last night, and the girl who plays Maria came up to me with a few "suggestions." First, she wanted a bit more stage business for something, since she didn't feel like she could move the way she wanted to without it.
Okay. No big deal. I'd made adjustments for her before. Easy stuff.
But then she pulled out the patronizing card. She put her hand on my arm (always a bad sign), and said, "And be loud. When we sing together, especially. First the audience hears me sing," she says, "and then when you get up there, well, you know." And she makes a face.
Really? Did we have to go there? Three more productions, and we might never have to work together again. But she can't wait. She has to pull out the patronizing card and slap me across the face with it. I could spend the rest of the blog ranting about her acting skills, but I won't. She's not bad. And she can sing. And how well she does it is none of my damn business, since I'm not the director.
But neither is she.
I am grateful to be in the ordinary dressing room, and I'll take this as another reminder of how not to behave towards other people. We all have different talents, different strengths, and different weaknesses, and it's not my job to step on others while on my own personal journey.
It's also my job to do my best, despite the comments, and to do so with a positive attitude. Perhaps what upsets me most is that, even after all of these years, comments like this still bother me.