Monday, May 18, 2009

Trivia night at Callahan's


I was frustrated after a long day where all my words came out wrong somehow. You know how it is on days when you just seem to be unable to say things in a way people will understand you? So to blow off steam, I went in world. Callahan's was having Trivia night. Tolkien was the subject--I could not resist. I have read the LoTR more than a dozen times, it is my comfort literature... the stuff you read and reread and reread.

I missed the first half hour of the contest. But as I walked up the walk I heard: "Seven for the dwarf lords ___________" and as I walk in the door, I automatically say "in their halls of stone." I got the point. It was pretty much a walk in the park from there.

I told them I was kind of a ringer on this so I would happily not play if they thought it was unfair. They said that in depth knowledge didn't disqualify me by the rules. There was one guy, Zonker, who had 3 points when I came in who, after a couple more questions that I took, said he was gonna give up and just stare at my avatar instead. I liked that. Puts a girl in a good mood right away when someone likes what they see. Other people here and there had a point or 2 each. Only 3 or 4 questions got away from me after that. A couple I really didn't know, a couple I was not fast enough for.

I ended the evening as the winner with the scores being: me with 14 points, Zonker with 5 or so, and other people had 1 or 2 each. I told them I didn't feel right about taking of the prize (a gift certificate for all the Callahan's books from Amazon), so next week's trivia winner (the subject is Larry Niven--do you see a scifi author trend here?) will get it. The other half of the prize was that I got to pick the trivia subject for 2 weeks from now. I took Zonker's recommendation for Robert Heinlein. Now I have to come up with 25 Heinlein trivia questions. How well do you grok Heinlein? Wanna help?

After the contest was over most people went away, some stayed and talked Scifi Lit for a while. That was fun. Turned out Zonker is a Dr. Who fan. There was another fellow had come late and missed the contest, but who wanted to chat. He was being a bit flirty and came and stood by my chair. But then he turned voice on, while everyone else was still in text--I think that is kind of rude, so I was not impressed. He just talked over everyone's text, too, the kind of guy who wants to hear his own voice over everyone else's. When Zonker stood up to leave, so did I.

The thing about Callahan's is that everyone goes out the door before TPing. It's a kind of courtesy to maintain the illusion that this is a real bar. When I left the golden boy followed me and kept talking. I just kept walking, but then he asked: "how do you pronounce your name?" Now I am a sucker for a man who asks me about my name, so I stopped and turned. "It sounds like 'sigh', " I said. It all went downhill from there.

"No, that's wrong," he said, and proceeded to give me a lesson in Chinese language as he saw it. He told me that my name should be said "da-zigh" because the T becomes a D sound as in Mao Tsetung (which he pronounced Mao Duh-zee-dung). I told him the Chinese Hanzi characters are not the same, this is a soft C sound and would be spelled "Cai" in modern Romanized Pinyin Chinese. He proceeded to lecture me on Chinese and its many dialects. I said, "I know--I speak Putonghua." He said that he didn't know that one, he was talking about Mandarin Chinese. I tell him Putonghua IS what we Americans call Mandarin! But he is off on the next topic already, India. He says many dialects there, I say many distinct languages, and I begin to list them: Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Nepali, English. . . .

It is a bad move trying to argue with him. Like talking to a wall. Maybe I should have turned my voice on, while he kept rambling off on different tangents to impressed me (not!) with his knowledge (wrong!), I could have cussed him out in Mandarin, and then Mongolian, and French, and thrown Latin in for good measure. I think that he thought this was the way to impress a woman. I also think that he's an idiot and picked on the wrong woman. Now I was getting pissed.

Next golden-boy goes off into a sort of rambling diatribe and tells me Sanskrit is written in runes. I say glyphs, and he tells me again I am wrong, because he's read a lot and knows better. We argue the meaning of the word hieroglyphs. He: "picture" writing, so Sanskrit is "runes" because it is not pictures. I say: "sacred" writing, and BTW sanskrit also means "sacred writing," and besides, runes are purely Teutonic script. And I was determined to make him see his error (though why I felt the need to prove myself to this guy is beyond me at the moment).

Then comes the clincher. He tells me that he knows all about Sanskrit (and Cuneiform, too, BTW); he first learned about it by watching the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth and I suddenly realize that I have been trying to prove myself to someone I likely wouldn't bother with in RL. Someone who is probably a kid who lives in his parent's basement with his computer, his video games, and his movie collection. Someone I would not stoop to conquer in real life. How odd is that?

Now I feel like an idiot. I tp'ed home and sat on the couch and reread my conversation with him. Why on earth did I even in engage in that exchange? Okay, I was feeling cocky and smart (having won the contest and all), and I was coming off a week full of missteps and insecurities in RL (some of that has to do with goings on at work, a coworker with whom I can't work). And some of it has to do with the way the universe has been unkind about a number of real life romance things.

But still, I have behaved like an idiot. Had to prove myself. But to whom? And why? It did neither me nor Golden Boy any good to try to one up each other. And it ruined any chance of a normal conversation between us ever again.

Here's the thing about SL. We put on avatars and suddenly we need to be larger than life. We script our own movies. We are the stars of our own melodramas. What is up with that? Are the emotions higher in SL? Hearts worn on the sleeve and all? Or are we just so damn wrapped up in the roles we play that we forget about the other people in the movie with us?

I am a firm believer in Serendipity. That there are lessons all around us if we only take the time to listen rather than trying to force our own will on the universe. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe I'll just sit and ponder on this for a while.

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