Green Eyed Lady

24 Jan

I wasn’t particularly well liked as a child. I was a geek. While other children were outside playing, I was inside reading the encyclopedia. I particularly liked the entries on dogs and flowers, but I read just about every page. I didn’t leave it at that though. I assumed all of the children were reading the encyclopedia when they weren’t outside. I actually told other children that I read the encyclopedia and then I told them what I had learned. I quickly discovered that the other children were not reading the encyclopedia. Every time I cried on my mother’s shoulder about the other children’s derision, my mother would say the same thing. “Oh, honey. They’re just jealous.” Jealous? Of me? The encyclopedia-reading know-it-all? “Could it possibly be true?” I thought.

Well, of course it wasn’t true. The children were unkind to me because I was an insufferable know-it-all. By the time I was a tween, I had learned how to pretend to like frosted lip gloss and Carly Simon songs, but the jealousy seed was sewn. Other girls took to bell-bottoms and blush like ducklings to water. I never managed to feel as comfortable in the teen uniform of my time as I did sitting in the family room, reading the encyclopedia, imagining all of the other girls jealous of my set of World Books.

Perhaps my parents’ insistence on treating each of their children equally fed the jealous monster within me. Every year at Christmas, my mother would carefully add up how much money she had spent on each of us, then would buy more presents for whoever had been slighted. When she was sure she had spent equal amounts of money on each of us, she would lay the booty out and make sure that the equality was evident. If it looked like one of us was getting more than the others, the present parity process would begin anew.

We became accustomed to things being equal at our house. If one of us got something, all of us got something. This extended to privileges, too. It started to breakdown as we got older though. I remember my sister being incensed when I was allowed to wear pantyhose in fifth grade. Technically, the hose in question were sheer pale-pink tights, but my sister saw “pantyhose.” Since she wasn’t allowed to wear hose in fifth grade, she was not going to put up with me wearing hose in fifth grade.

Many years later, as an adult, I recall asking for a Cuisinart for Christmas and being told that it was too expensive. Just months later, my parents bought my sister and her husband a dishwasher for their new home. I was not gracious. I believe I yelled something like, “She gets a dishwasher? I can’t have a Cuisinart and she gets a dishwasher?” in the middle of the Polk Brothers sales floor. I got a Cuisinart for Christmas the following year. I still have it and it still works and I’m still kind of ashamed of how I got it.

Though I’m older, I have retained my jealous ways. It’s a good thing, then, that my best friend claims not to envy others. She says she is truly happy for other people when good fortune smiles upon them. Of course, I hate her for it. She knows I hate her for having a lake cottage, too. When she and her husband bought the cottage, I said something like, “Wow, that’s so great!” but I was thinking, “Where’s my lake cottage? Why does she get a lake cottage?” I realize that I should have been thinking, “Cool! My best friend owns a lake cottage! That’s so great for her,” immediately followed by “Maybe I can stay there for free some day!”

I think my friend sometimes pretends she’s jealous of me so that I won’t feel so bad. When we moved to Naperville, we knew only one other family here. She would call me and, if she got the answering machine, accuse me of being out having fun with my new best friends. When I tell her that my son has called me a really nasty name and I have taken away his wireless mouse for a month, she’ll tell me that her daughter has called her a really nasty name and she has taken away her laptop for a month. She’s a good friend.

There is some evidence that I may be getting better at handling my jealous nature. I used to be so jealous of some celebrity that I couldn’t stand to look at her. I can’t remember who it was now. My sister, I recall though, can’t stand Demi Moore. I understand her animosity. You’ve had three kids, Demi, and you want me to believe you haven’t had any work done? Honey, you’ve had more work done than a Chicago tollway in the summer.

Lots of people hate Angelina Jolie because she’s beautiful, she has a beautiful lover, they adopted beautiful kids and made some beautiful ones, too. I can’t hate her, though. Look at me, people! I married an older man. I have a gorgeous daughter adopted from China. My husband and I made a beautiful boy together. Ok, so I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world and my husband isn’t Brad Pitt. Still, Angie and I have a lot in common. She hates Jennifer Aniston, too.

Throughout my life, jealousy has been my constant companion. Sometimes, she’s just hanging around the edges and I’ll get a little wistful over someone’s good fortune. Other times, she’s pulled up a rocking chair and is goading me into a great green funk. I’ve come to accept it.

Things have been pretty quiet on the Green Line of my life lately, but I see a storm on the horizon. Just the other day, a friend chatted me up on Facebook and let it drop that she was typing on her laptop poolside in Mexico. I’m shivering in Chicago and she’s lapping up the sunshine south of the border. The last emerald straw just may be the email I got from my best friend the same day, though. “Do you hate me?” it was titled. What, I thought, could she have done to make me hate her? The message was signed, “sent from my iPad.”

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4 Responses to “Green Eyed Lady”

  1. Gina January 24, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I laughed. Good blog.

  2. Bobbi Meier January 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I remember the dishwasher, well. I’m glad yo got your Cuisinart!

    • jmlindy422 January 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

      Hey, I still have the Cuisinart. Do you still have that dishwasher? I think not! Ha, ha.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Snide Reply - September 26, 2011

    […] on the prairie illustrate, I still have anger issues. I still hate liver, read crap and get jealous, too. But, I haven’t taken a serious trip to Funky Town in a while. My son is ok with […]

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