Joy (cithra) wrote,

  • Mood:

class and shoes and sealing wax

Dirt-encrusted blue-collar pioneer stock, by religious iconoclastry out of northern european mongrelry, is my "pedigree". This has interesting side effects, sometimes...

For example, most everything I know about etiquette or fine manners I learned by reading or by minute observation and copying of detail. Which fork to use, the complex rituals of the oenophile, required behaviors in structured or ritualized social settings - you can learn a lot from fish-out-of-water comedies (at least about what not to do) or from assiduous reading of Judith Martin or Jane Austen, but there are gaps. Growing up Mormon means that most of my learned behavioral norms for ritualized social occasions like weddings and funerals are completely useless in mainstream society; growing up the child of a 'lagger' down at the Yard meant that 'fine dining' was putting it on a plate, or actually sitting down to eat at the table.

While I absorbed the standard "you can be anything you want to be" rhetoric, I failed to learn about the invisible web of networked connections that really influences what you can do with your life. On a crude level, it is 'who you know and who you blow' - but it's also more than that - everything from comportment to cognizance of possibilities. I can see the peaks from here, but the trail through the intervening valleys and foothills is unclear. I certainly couldn't find the base camp; I'd be lucky to stumble across the trail-head. I may not even be in the same valley as the right trail-head...

While I appreciate the jaundiced eye and cellar of salt this gives me with which to judge rhetoric at large (and small), it can be frustrating when I realize at times that to truly reach that theoretical goal-peak I'd have to rewind and refocus my entire life. Part of the problem being I'd have to rewind it to well back of before I had any conscious control of the decisions made concerning my life; things like schools and social skills sets, and the difference between learning something for academic knowledge and learning it because you plan to make a practical application of it. Learning for learning's sake is nice - but on another level I feel doomed to be an eternal dilettante as it's all just something to pass the time until I get married and assume my "true" calling of wife and mother. At which point it's good to have all this background knowledge - you know, for the eventual good of your children; but it's not serious, it's not real, it's not for a career... it makes the tenor of the process different. It's hard to articulate, even now.

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