I’ve long been a snob for various reasons. I used to be an intellectual snob based on school performance and being assigned the highest intelligence quotient in my cohort. I was quick to spot a dummy—and still am, for that matter—and probably insufferable. I don’t think so much of witty sarcasm as I did, nor so much of thinking and knowing stuff.
I’m still addicted to thinking—so are you—and at least now I know it and can sometimes slow it down or stop it altogether for a time. I think I’m sometimes kinda smug about that.
I’m mostly a language snob. When I read text with misspellings, bad grammar, and silly punctuation, I
deduce imagine things about the person responsible, sincerely and erroneously. I don’t expect most people to be experts in English, and I expect them to know that they aren’t and to get help when they need it, which they seem seldom to do, naturally. Most of us don’t know how wrong we are.
Organizations with missing or misplaced apostrophes must do without my custom or participation. If the parking lot’s sign says “…at owners expense.” I don’t want to park my car there, even legally.
I don’t mind the occasional typo or even poor usage, but there’s a level of technical sloppiness that will cause me not to read something, not an easy task because I want to read enough to know whether I want to read the rest. I’m always pulling for the writer because I’m the reader, and I want the best experience the two of us can manage. The writer is done with it, so whether I understand it or not I’m not getting any extra help. It may be drivel, but my deep desire is that what I’m reading not let me put it down. I want to be swept away. I don’t mind waking up in the wee hours because I’ve got sixteen volumes of P. G. Wodehouse within reach.
I have no truck with silly writers who won’t capitalize words or eschew punctuation. What ninnies…
That’s how far I had got when I realized that I had been straining. Last year I noticed a quality about the light that seemed to make me sad. It’s back, and I didn’t care about snobbery, even my own.
All summer the overhang outside my bedroom blocks direct sun so the various crystals hanging in the window don’t have much to do. Now the sun is low enough to put spectra on the wall over my bed and on the duvet we bought at Ikea just before we picked up Ade at a BART station in Berkeley. That’s the kind of stuff I think about, how much I say “we” about what happened.
Janice Porter left us to our own devices almost two years ago, and I still don’t know how she can not be here. How can she be gone forever? I dread sounding like a weepy old man, although that’s clearly what I am.