Thursday, July 26, 2012

Be Cool

I received an interesting email through my LinkedIn account yesterday. It read,"I saw you at the X food court just a while ago, but you were halfway down the street before I could say hello. I remember you fondly as one of the cool kids from Tin Can, String and Whistle."

That an email came through from this person didn't phase me - he's a nice guy I worked with for a few months a couple of years ago.

The thing that flummoxed me was that he thought of me as "one of the cool kids."

This is me you're talking about.

Me, Pandora T. Behr, who's currently sitting on the couch in a big towelling dressing gown, typing on a laptop in the late evening, blogging like a dork -  I know myself as one of the daggiest people on the planet.

I am not cool.

Cool is one of the last words I would use to describe myself. Odd. Strange. Somewhat flaky (though I nearly tore somebody's head off when he called me flaky a few months back) Reliable. Loyal Weird  - but never cool.

I'm about as cool as three-day-old road kill in the middle of the Simpson Desert.

How can anybody who irons her bedsheets be cool? (Did that earlier tonight)

Or have a love of Shakespeare, the Pixies and tomato sauce concurrently - not cool things.

Or the closest relationship she's had in the last ten years is with her best friend's cat.

I'm not cool.

Fonzie is cool. Don Draper is cool. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction - cool.

I truly believe that I have never been, nor will I ever be cool.

From a young age I got that I wasn't meant to be one of the cool group. Something of a loner and an outcast, I had a few friends at school, but I was never part of the cool or popular crowd - far from it. University and college were the same. I had a small group of good friends, friendly to most, but not overly popular.

See, I reckon I'm about as cool as the Maow Maow in his pink jumper.

So, just what is cool?

Looking at the definition in, which gives the cool I'm talking as being "not excited; calm; composed; under control: to remain cool in the face of disaster."

Wikipedia, that suppository of all useless knowledge provides a definition as "Cool was once an attitude fostered by rebels and underdogs, such as slaves, prisoners, bikers and political dissidents, etc., for whom open rebellion invited punishment, so it hid defiance behind a wall of ironic detachment, distancing itself from the source of authority rather than directly confronting it."

Okay, I can wear some of this. I'm pretty good in a crisis and thinking on my feet. Ironic detachment I do well. Thumbing my nose at authority - yeah. But that's only a little bit of me.

It also says that cool is: " regarded as cool is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behaviour, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist.

Thing is, this being called cool really flummoxed me. It's dented the view of myself. See, here I am, looking at what's what. I'm not that interesting, as anybody who reads my blog will know. I'm a runner. I'm a nerd. I'm a loner. I will admit to being average looking and reasonably intelligent. I'm tenacious,  stubborn, occasionally  glib, sometimes a bit funny, sometimes obtuse. I dance and sing and laugh quite a bit. My memory is stupidly good.

But I'm still not cool.

I asked this question of Jonella - telling her about what went down. Her response was she though cool was somebody who was comfortable in their own skin and surroundings - and by this, I fitted the bill.

Still gobsmacked. And still not cool.

The only other time this has happened was in England a few years ago. Staying with my friend Verity for a night after a long trip away. I catch up with her whenever I got to England - she's a good and trusted friend, though I rarely see or hear from her. One of the last times I was there she bade me a compliment.
"You've changed Pand. You travel the world. you get on with things. And I you're really rather cool."
"Cool? Me? You sound surprised."
"I am," she responded.

I suppose I'm just sitting here, typing on my laptop, in my dressing gown, blogging late into the night just pondering how people see me versus how I see myself.

And I'm still not cool.


The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Coolness is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm a travelling blogger - so are you.

But you have the added bonus of being a runner too.

I'm cool - what does that make you?




The Elephant's Child said...

I'm with PM. Coolness is indeed in the eye of the beholder. By which measure you will never be cool in your own hypercritical eyes but I suspect are often cool in those of other people.
And being comfortable in your own skin is way cool in my eyes.

Kath Lockett said...

Coolness is a state of mind and an attitude. You have it in spades.