Condescension is manufactured self praise. Two things might happen. Sometimes a person wants to say “I’m great” but for that to work, the others must be low impact. (I discussed this in Envy and GOYA). Or, one insignificant aspect of the other person is used to judge them as wholly incompetent in all matters.
Case in point? A fine arts conference I attended this past week. After surviving a two hour planning meeting, which I co-chaired, I realised I was missing a painting session in the park. Then, it occurred to me I was only a ten minute drive from the restaurant of two friends. It is a visual spectacular stuffed with beautiful antiques.
I invited a colleague to join me. At the previous year’s conference, she was nice to me. She had not packed her lunch, so I thought she would like a delicious meal in a unique setting. Five minutes after later, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The first face slap came after I told her I confirmed the reservation, so I couldn’t rescind the invite.
I used a PLUG for the rude remarks, but she was a slinky on an escalator. What she said: Below are the highlights.
12.40 You drive?!?!?!
12.41 Do you want me to drive? Are you okay driving a car??!
12.44 Where are we going?!!! Do you know where you’re going?
12.45 Did you get your license HERE??!?!??!?
12.48 You are driving like a wild person. (The driver in front of us has swung out in front of me and I am forced to brake suddenly.)
13.25 You’ve started eating already.
13.30 This restaurant is so beautiful. I feel bad eating here because we are attending a work conference.
13.43 You’ve finished already.
13.47 That’s a take away dessert. You must not eat it now!!
13.59 This biscuit is delicious. You can’t have flour? But it’s yummy. Mmmmm…. Hmmmm? (I am gluten intolerant).
14.01 (I quietly pay for lunch. This causes her to feel guilty about something).
14.02 Oh!!! No. I … It’s …
14.06 (I realize I’ve left my umbrella). You’re a careless girl. People are inconvenienced by you. (It’s my friend’s shop, and they don’t care about that stuff).
14.09 You are able to paint? (NB: This is an fine-arts conference with over five hundred participants and I co-chaired the morning session).
14.20 (End of ordeal and time for a walk in the park.)