So my wonderful wife Tessa has a great article on the front page of Salon today, about an old boyfriend of hers that use to take Ambien, propose marriage, and then wake up without remembering any of it. Yes, unless you subscribe to Salon like a normal human being, you have to watch a 10-second ad, but take one for the home team, yes?
Her article sprang out of Wednesday’s NYT article about people taking Ambien and “sleep-driving,” occasionally peeing in the middle of intersections, hitting telephone poles, and not knowing any of it had happened. Of course, the Times article has been in the Top 5 Most Emailed list for two days, so there’s obviously a lot of mileage to be gotten from your daffy Ambien-addicted friends.
One thing that Tessa didn’t entirely anticipate was the “letters” section that is unmoderated and attached to the end of each article. I was vilified somewhat for my Salon piece on the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping (thankfully, only one letter still survives), but I’m always amazed at the amount of time nad-scratching armchair philosophers in jammies will take to let their invective loose on a writer exposing his or herself (anonymously, of course).
The letters regarding Tessa’s article got immediately nasty, because if there’s one thing the hoi polloi of the internet can’t stand, it’s people from Manhattan writing about other people from Manhattan who have money. Never mind that the main point of the article was about the power of the drug, and the secondary point was Tessa’s self-effacement – some readers just react to stories mentioning Cosima von Bulow with the sort of holier-than-thou disdain usually reserved for people who sneeze on the subway.
The sheer pretention and Upper East Sidieness of the article was part of the delivery, but whatever, you can’t teach people three things: vibrato, a vertical leap, and irony.
Before other letter-writers rallied to her defense, Tessa got that look in her eye, the I-just-pulled-my-pants-down gaze that I know so well, having suffered through it on this very blog. I think back to some of my entries in 2002-2003 before I had comments, where I was savaged for being a yuppie, having my priorities out of whack, having a house in Columbia County, being sexist, being an asshole, and not being cute enough to marry Tessa.
Being disparaged right after my wedding hurt, to be sure, but it wasn’t long before those calluses became strong enough to endure pretty much anything on this site. I mean, I know what I look like to most people. I fully GET what Tessa and I might seem like to those who don’t know us. If you don’t think I (or we) have attained that level of self-awareness, you grossly underestimate your humble servants.
The regular commentary on here is wonderful, to be sure, but you people should see some of the stuff I delete from older entries, people who find this website on a whim, and then post the nastiest character assassinations they can muster. The spam filter blocks most of them, and I trash the rest. There may be a day when I get sick of it and take my toys and go home, but for now, I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. THINK WHATEVER YOU WANT.
I’m so proud of my wife, who just dashed off a great piece of writing in a matter of hours. And I’d like to thank you, the mean-spirited internet at large, for giving me enough shit that I don’t care what you think anymore.