One of my neighbors who works in the Columbia biology department comes upstairs to inform my mother and I that the speaker they have chosen for the lecture that is given each year in memory of my father just won the nobel prize.
What exactly is one supposed to do with that piece of information? It's so disconnected with my reality that it doesn't even really register. Am I supposed to be happy because of the prominence attached to a lecture in my father's name? Sad because he wasn't there to see it or even to achieve such lofty heights himself? Disconnected because he's been dead 8 years and it's not my field? Impressed at what others have done to honor him while I've ended up as such a fuck up/loser/whatever other bad labels you want to throw at me?
I'm just trying to survive here...I don't need this. I don't need surgeon generals and nobel prize winning scientists speaking in honor of my male ancestors. I don't need reminders that I'm 20 and while my father was well on the way to his PhD at this point I'm still floundering in the most extreme sense of the word possible.
I know that I'm a collosal disapointment to just about everybody who knew me when I was younger, but I don't know what to do about that. I'm supposed to be incredibly intelligent (for some reason all the old people who knew me when I was little take great pride in embarassing me by calling me a genius in front of everyone who then assumes that I'm an arrogant asshole. Yeah I was a smart kid but that doesn't mean that I'm smart NOW!) I don't need constant reminders that I'm nowhere and going nowhere even faster.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. My youth was spent in special programs at the natural history museum, educational projects, little leagues and horseback riding, etc...etc...etc... I got straight As my first semester of high school when dad was still around.
But my life collapsed when the driving force behind it bailed out and, yeah, I DON'T know how to right the ship.
Yesterday I was roped in to helping one of my mother's friends (also a fairly prominent sociologist) with her computer. It wasted half an hour of my time doing something that she could have done herself fairly easily. While I was doing it I found myself wondering "What, exactly, am I getting out of this crap? Where's all the guidance and crap that elders are supposed to bestow in exchange for youthful labor."
The fact of the matter is that nobody is really interested in providing any of that sort of guidance. They are all self-absorbed academics with their research and standing to preserve and I'm left wondering what could have been if I had had some sort of support beyond that bought by money or found internally.
I can't afford to waste time feeling sorry for myself, I have a lot to do and I haven't started any of it (my usual M.O.) but I'm not sure how to react to feeling like other people are doing a better job of honoring my father in death with lectures and charity funds and whatnot than I am. I'm trying the best I can here...and it's not good enough.