Of the Dominant Kind
“They live amongst us, these men and women with their super-sized egos, pulling us and pushing us, wearing upon the fragile layers of our attention. They land upon us, crashing down with the same force as a Jumbo Jet setting down on a shortened runway. Consume us they do, as they compel us to appreciate all that they say, all that they have in mind, failing perhaps to appreciate that human interaction is supposed to be a two-way street. As we mingle with them, voluntarily or otherwise, the balance is tilted ever more in their favor, our hopes of leveling the playing field ever dwindling.”
Over coffee and triple-layered almond cake at our favorite café, Jill is talking about Sidney, her ex-boyfriend, whom unwisely she did not exclude as a friend after their breakup four years back. She has become quite a Sidney-ologist, equipped with a mental encyclopedia full of examples of a dominating man. Sid isn’t evil, far from it, he merely destroys everything by accident and that on a continuing basis. Sid is either too sad or too happy, too anxious or too confident, no middle ground.
“There was a time when he appreciated my attention,” she continues. “Even praising me and thanking me for returning his calls. In between the clouds of his preoccupation, he’d acknowledge in flakes the common experiences and values that we once shared, enough for me to like him a little in spite of everything. That’s all a thing of the past now, relationship has turned into subscription, which auto-renews every so often, at his whim.
“With him being essentially a narcissist, he must have many other targets, someone as brief and quiet as myself could hardly suffice. I often ponder upon his oversized ego, is it rooted in inferiority or superiority? So hard to tell the difference, sometimes, isn’t it? The consequences are the same, anyway, so little does it matter. Tornadoes don’t need much of a reason to wipe away in an instant those things we struggled so hard and long to build.”
I’d suggest she give it up and break off the connection formally, it’s about time. In truth, I must have suggested precisely that a number of times in the past, but what would she do with her Encyclopedia Sidnea? Write a book about him? Or a reality show? Hardly, because Sidney isn’t that interesting, his self-preoccupation has prevented him from developing charm and many other vital things.
“Yeah, but what can you do?” I say with a faint smile. “Could be you’re more important to him than you realize. Maybe he gets excited just to hear your voice, that’s why he can’t stop.”
“I’m a sounding board,” she replies. “He talks to me, the echo projectiles back at him, and that is when he can hear his own voice, which rings sweeter in his ears than if he were only talking to himself.”
“Then how come you pick up the phone? Haven’t you thought of switching numbers? He’d hardly bother writing you, I guess.”