Two things used to drive me crazy when I was growing up:

  1. When relatives would look at my little brother, and remark, “Wow, he is going to be tall.”  This happened at every extended family get together, and I would listen to it seething with rage and think, I’ll show them, I’m going to be tall too!  Jokes on me, though I do feel taller than I used to, I’m still average height.
  2. When people would ask me if I played sports like my brother.

My extended family lived far enough away that we only saw some of them once a year. Since my brother was tall (or would soon be tall), it was assumed that he either did play or would play basketball, so they talked about that, then the conversation would  extend to college or professional sports, and they would talk as equals.  I don’t know if my family was just sports obsessed, or really bad at talking to kids, but they would always ask me if I played sports.  If I did, we would talk awkwardly about it because there really wasn’t much to say, and even in my more athletic days, I wasn’t very athletic, and I didn’t really care about sports; or if I didn’t, I get some kind of mini-lecture about not joining enough things, and then we’d talk about my brother’s sporty endeavors.

As a kid, I was involved with plenty of other things: I was a figure skater, I was a Girl Scout, I took piano lessons and later played flute until junior year (first chair); in high school I was Future business Leaders of America Vice-President, I was yearbook co-editor–there was plenty of “joiny” things for us to talk about, plus I was always an avid reader/movie watcher/story writer.  All this was rendered useless because I hate and am no good at basketball.

I imagine that once of my brother’s major grievances is having to talk about sports all the time as well, cause it’s really bizarre, but I’m finding that it’s still continuing.

When Gentleman Scholar and I moved into our current apartment, the first floor apartment was empty, and Elderly Neighbor lived on the third floor.  He had since moved to the first floor, and Hip Young Couple are in the process of remodeling the third floor getting ready for their move in.  Elderly Neighbor being on the first floor, means that his living room is right above my “home gym” i.e. treadmill and tv in the dusty basement.

I ran into him on the stairs a while ago, and he mentioned that he could hear the tv.  “Oh, I’m sorry,” I told him, “I can turn it down.”

He waved away my concern, “It’s not a problem, I’m usually watching tv, or on the internet, so it doesn’t bother me.  How much do you run a day anyway?”

I told him that I was presently training for a 1/2 marathon, and he practically slapped his knee with glee, “I knew it! I knew when I heard you down there, I told myself ‘that girl is training for something’.”  Then he bombarded me with questions about my daily mileage, how many races run, how I started doing this, etc.  These are all questions I have no problem answering, but it seems to be all he cares about anymore. I’m half expecting him to come scampering down the stairs next time I’m running and monitor my breathing technique.

When I used to run into Elderly Neighbor on the stairs, we would talk about librarianship, or my cat, or just random other stuff–now it’s all running all the time.  What am I training for?  Is usually the big one, and when I say “nothing right now” the look of disappointment on his face is alarming.  I mean, I guess I’m always training for something, but nothing I’ve registered for, and that doesn’t seem to be exciting enough for him.  It seems like he would be unimpressed if I told him that I just like running.

I guess talking about books, movies, travel, librarianship, or anything else that I’m interested in/good at just isn’t going to happen, and I should accept that, and I should avoid him as much as I can.