Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wheat and Buckwheat

"We're not wheat, we're buckwheat. When a storm comes along it flattens ripe wheat because it's dry and can't bend with the wind. But ripe buckwheat's got sap in it and it bends. And when the wind has passed, it springs up almost as straight and strong as before...That, my child, is the secret of the survival."

The above is a quote from "Gone with the Wind," (the book not the film) and it popped into my mind today because it summarizes pretty succinctly, the two kinds of people in world.  The wheat and the buckwheat  (although as a rational human being, I do of course recognize there are more than two types of people).  The adapters and the stoics.  As I deal with all the change my job/move/cat adoption (very stressful)/new car/recent breakup/graduation as ushered into my life, I think it would be prudent to figure out if, at my core, I am at all able to deal with it.   Am I wheat or buckwheat?!

The case for me being buckwheat is that I tend to adapt to my environment.  Like a chameleon or a presidential candidate.  For example, when my family visits South Carolina every year, I start talking with a slightly more pronounced southern twang.  More pronounced than the none I currently have.  It's kind of embarrassing.  I'll pepper in some ya'lls and I'm completely unable to stop.  It's a disease.   Also, it occurs to me that I have picked up a phrase from every single guy I've ever dated.  From "whatever else" to "the way of things".     I even still sometimes ironically say, "throw your 'Sorry' in a sack"  (yeah a boyfriend of mine said that, I don't claim to have great taste).  So imitating a speech pattern is very much a way to adapt and fit in with one's environment.  

That being said... The case for me being wheat is that I am slow to accept change.   Even if I can adapt to the environment to fit in (with a VERY convincing southern accent)--It's really hard for me to get behind the "idea of change".  I was that kid who cried everyday after kindergarten.  And that adult who cried everyday after the first few months of work.  My hair has been roughly the same color and style for the past twenty years.   I'm hesitant to switch to blu-ray.  All these things indicate I'm not a "bender".

I know you are sometimes, dear reader, willing to indulge my contemplative side, but at this point, you may be thinking, "wheat and buckwheat?  Bitch, what the fuck are you talking about?!"  Fair point. Let me explain, and if you still think this is just a stupid entry, read the one about me making a birthday cake.  It's very funny.

The quote actually popped into my head during a tortuously long and pointless meeting today at work.  I looked around and thankfully, there were other bored faces, but some of the hardliners were smiling and lapping up the kool-aid like kids at a 7th birthday party (somehow I feel like that's a mixed metaphor and my high school english teacher wouldn't approve).  As I looked into the eyes of some of the people who actually were getting something out of the mindless drivel that was making me want to puncture my eardrums with a ballpoint pen, I thought, "Thank God I haven't been working here long enough to not find this to be stupid."   Because, my ability to find things stupid is one of my best and favorite qualities.  And then I thought more about the ways in which I have adapted and allowed myself to acclimate to my new working environment.  I use jargon.   I can name obscure facts about our organization that are so trivial they wouldn't even make it on a Jeopardy question.     And I wondered, is it smart to bend or noble to break?   Should you cling to your M. O. or should you allow yourself to turn with the world around you (I think it's worth noting that criminals who shift their M. O. 's are less likely to be caught)?  I don't really have an answer, and with so much change being stirred up in my life these past few months, I wonder if I really have shifted and adapted, or if I'm resisting them curmudgeon-ly. 

While I really don't like the image of myself  breaking in the wind, (or the image of myself breaking wind) I have to say, I might be wheat.   I haven't bent enough to embrace some of the "feelier" aspects of my job, and I'm pretty sure 90% of what I say is offensive to at least half of my coworkers. I just try to fit-in enough not to get fired.   And even that is dicey.    I spent the better part of the meeting today making faces and holding in (ok, not holding in) indignant snorts.  This does not bode well.   So even though I'm miserable at dealing with change or getting people to like me, I hope you can at least respect my conviction.  Because otherwise I am just the worst.   I wanted to make a pun to wrap up this admittedly, lack-luster entry in a snappy, pithy way.  Something which vaguely involved gluten and nut allergies and me being wheat and a cashew.  But I couldn't make it work.   So, once again, in a move that would disgrace Mr. Miller, my english teacher.  I'm going to end just like this.  (ta da!)

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