Thursday, January 5, 2012

The secret life of an intellectual poppie

What is a poppie?

A poppie is an overdone, hyper-girlie Platteland princess :) More or less - something akin to calling an English-speaking girl a Barbie. Now I've been called a Poppie numerous times ... at res the girls called me Poppy (they were mostly from Zim so not Afrikaans-speaking hence the slight phonetic adaption) and I actually quite liked it. At Rhodes I went through an excelling phase which petered out through Honours and another excelling phase which petered out as I progressed through Masters. Which reminds me I need to re-register for 2012.

Adjective: Of or relating to the intellect: "intellectual stimulation".
Noun: A person possessing a highly developed intellect.

What is intellect?
Noun: The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, esp. with regard to abstract or academic matters.

Ahem: so an intellectual is a person who has a highly developed ability to reason and understand (we know there is no objectivity) abstract and academic stuff (I firmly believe stuff is a very important academic word).

Thank you Google for all that help, can you fix my speaking-to-people conundrum now? And it is a conundrum. It’s the challenge between high-brow and popular (not that the popular can’t be intellectual). Choosing what to say to whom, coming back to life after academia and people who don't use (never mind understand) words like 'lithe'; 'ethereal'; or 'diaphonous' ... you have to get real and simplify your language, your subject, and your vocabulary.

So what to speak about? Obviously you ask questions about their lives, interests … but I was all socio-political, see-another-side, mild feminist: what was that and who could relate? I had a something up my sleeve though: a sneaky penchant for fashion. I could talk about delicious department stores in Thailand, the subtleties of Gaga’s latest, and a most gorgeous vintage purse from Victoria, Australia (a delightful treat from a wandering sister thoroughly aware of my taste).

The subjects I know well include studies (boring or inaccessible); work (boring); gym (boring); and dancing (somehow non dancers never find as much delight in this topic as I). When I've eliminated talking about those boring things ... all I have left is, "You should just SEE the leather boots I bought - I could lick them they're so gorgeous!" ... and it's only taken one quizzical and I'm-trying-hard-to-look-like-this-is-relevant stare to make me seriously question ever making another statement about my fashion status quo.

I'm smart, knowledgeable, I have hobbies and studies and I travel and am not shy to open my mouth - I love meeting people and I love learning ... how can I so often find myself with a mouthful of nothing to say to a new acquaintance, or old school friend? Fine I don't have the time for a genuine interest in worldwide politics and global warming, but I know what frakking and geo-fencing involve.

I’m going to blame globalisation and the interweb. If there wasn’t so much information and stuff to do and ways to do it – it wouldn’t be so challenging to find people with at least one similar activity/interest/pursuit as you.

I have thus determined to expand my range of topics, knowledge, and experience by doing some new interesting things and reading a little more widely. The end (of stilted cautious conversation hopefully).


MissyM said...

Have you considered that to engage with someone it starts by taking an interest in them and what they like doing, etc, rather than departing from what you are interested in? With that said, I can't imagine someone with your outgoing personality and insatiable appetite for learning to ever really have a problem connecting with people. xxx

Phoenix Steel said...

Yes i concur with MissyM. How about you try not make life all about you and about how 'amazing' you are. I for one am an avid stamp collector, you know how many people give a toss about that? Zero to none. That’s why I hang out at strip clubs and try take interest in the ladies there. You know? What are their interests, what are they all about? I feel this makes me a better person! A riveting read none the less. Keep it up!!!

Tesscat said...

While I did mention taking an interest in other people first, your point is of utmost relevance. That said I think people these days are not just too diverse, I think they are often too boring and all they do is (boring) work and sometimes gym. They get drunk with friends and that's supposed to be interesting.

@Phoenix: I think my plan will be to simply amaze all others into hanging onto my every word, to deliver my awesomeness in such an overwhleming quality and quantity that they're literally climbing into my mouth to find more incredible stories, tales, and epic sagas of epicality.

@MissyM: thanks :) xx