Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ironic Quest

I’ve begun to notice a disturbing and increasing trend in ironic behavior lately. This leads me to postulate an old philosophy that I just made up: We all have our own Personal Ironies, we just don't know what they are. But now I’m on a quest to find mine.

My husband and I talked about this at dinner the other night. He seems to think that, once you know your own Personal Irony, then the irony is lost. But I disagree. I think the irony can still be there until you take the steps necessary to clear it up. “What is a Personal Irony,” you may ask? (Or perhaps, more accurately, “Kim, what the heck are you talking about?”)

Here are several examples of what I would call Personal Ironies: The chatterbox who hates people that talk too much. Someone who starts a war to end violence. And here’s a personal favorite: Once, I was invited to the home of someone I didn’t know very well. A rather violent painting hung in the front hall. She saw me staring and told me the painting was a protest of the deforestation of the Brazilian Rain Forest, then proceeded to point out all the mahogany and Brazilian cherry features of her home. It’s a good thing she hadn’t offered me a drink, or its contents would have found their way out through my nose.

I’m sure you’ve seen other examples of Personal Ironies. For example, the party guest who leans in to you and nods at another person in the room, “I can’t believe he’s such a gossip.” My husband is an avid alternative energy fanatic, totally trying to save the environment, insisting on replacing every bulb with compact fluorescents, but do you think he could walk a soda can over to the recycling bin—what with the regular garbage can so close? I think my kids are a little young to have developed their own Personal Ironies yet, but apparently they’re working on it, if you count how often they scream at each other to shut up.

I think we’re all great at pointing out the Personal Ironies of others, but when it comes to our own—not so much. All this finger pointing has me wondering: certainly I can’t be immune to this trend. So I brainstorm a bit. I’m a pretty competitive person. Maybe my Personal Irony is the fact that I’ve been known, and I’m not proud of this, to do competitive Yoga. I know, I know. Kind of defeats the whole purpose. But I don’t think it’s me that actually starts this (hear my husband sniggering here.) I merely feel the competitive energy of others around me and respond.

But somehow, as a writer, I believe my Personal Irony ought to be bigger. Maybe it’s that I think I’m a funny writer and I’m not. Or maybe it’s that I don’t like mean people, and somehow I’m actually really mean. I don’t know, but I’m certain there are countless friends and family members out there that would gladly point out my Personal Irony to me. I think sometimes—No, scratch that. I think always our points of contention with other people reflect the traits we fear most in ourselves. I hate people that don’t hear me when I speak. But could this be because I need to work on my listening?

Whatever my own Personal Irony is, I’m hoping I’m not the mom who takes the kids to Medieval Times for a birthday party and then gets mad at me for buying junior a sword. And until the day I discover what my Personal Irony is, if you ever try to best me at Standing Head to Knee Pose, I’ll crush you.

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