I've been thinking about some maligned emotions. Of course, emotions generally are pretty maligned -- particularly any real breadth of emotions. We're apparently supposed to exist in a constant state of moderate satisfaction or vague annoyance. No big emotions, please. Big emotions aren't emotions, they're overemotional. Kindly stop overreacting. Pardon me? I'm reacting too much? Heaven forfend.
Which brings us neatly to those famous sins. The one that's been exercising me lately is that gleaming, metallic-flavoured behemoth, Envy.
I keep hoping that over time, life will gradually wear away my various and spectacularly robust kinds of cluelessness. Progress is slow. My skull apparently supports sanctuaries where it will always lurk. A few years back, however, while wondering in that diffuse sort of way about the diffuse sort of malaise I was labouring under, I managed to uncover the interesting fact that I was bored out of my mind. Gadzooks! So simple! I rubbed my clammy palms together, cackled like a sugar-hopped fiend, donned my supervillain alterego duds and set about un-borifying my life.
Success has its perils.
I have tracked the interesting people down. I live in a world of wall-to-wall smart people. And I have some friends. Friends who've written prize-winning books, who've thought thoughts, who've, you know, Done Things. Some have money. Some are famous. Some have written works which are on the syllabus at this very university. Some understand things of which only two or three people in the world have any sort of grasp. Some are the sort of people who are so brilliant, so charismatic, such human works of art that even when they are standing around minding their own business eating a sandwich and looking at the clouds, they attract others like them, so that you know people who know people who run countries and sell the movie rights and hang on the walls of the Tate and inform governments and are members of secret societies and good god knows what else. Some of these people are the same people. And they're such people. There are some assholes around here, and these people are not they, I assure you. They're so sweet, so warm and real and funny that seeing them is like discovering that out the back door of your house is a huge garden full of trees and flowers, bees and flashing-eyed wild creatures, that somehow you've never been able to get out into before.
Sometimes I'm so envious I can feel the oxygen in my lungs prickle up and turn to microscopic snowflakes of desire. I want what they have! The effortless brilliance, the casual irony of complete mastery, the mild-eyed matter-of-factness about the mosaic of genius and general stratospheria that has become the wallpaper of their world. I drink tea and coffee and talk about something-or-other and breathe gently through my frosted lungs and long to make the air hum as they do.
Deadly sin! If strength of feeling goes for anything, I should be eating my heart out over this. But I don't believe it for a second. My envy is big, but with little fangs. The kind that chew slippers or maybe old tennis balls in the garden. It bites fast, and holds on tight, but it doesn't want to tear out your jugular. OK, once in a very long while it wants to tear out your jugular.
Maybe if I was feeling happy-clappy I'd say that all this is just a kind of generous admiration for the wonderful and accomplished starlets I know and adore. But that would be a crock of shit, it really would. I want want want. I don't want to take it from them, but I still want it. Oh, how I want it. And how frightened I am that somehow the garden gate will be closed and I won't be allowed in any more!
But still. It's the last and sincerest word in flattery. Not that any of them will know that, because in the first place my snowflake-lungs are a secret. And in the second, even if they read this they'd never suppose that it was about themselves.
They're way too bloody unassuming. Bastards. Anyone would think they have insecurities and envy of their very own.