I had coffee one day this year with an acquaintance, a businesswoman who's very good at what she does. Educated, smart, sharp and seemingly in control of her emotions (not necessarily a good thing, mind you)--her outer veneer bespoke a woman who has no time for drivel.
And certainly not for the obsession with the lives of others with whom she is not acquainted.
And yet, this woman who might not cross the street to save a dying kitten was very upset about the pending divorce of two friends. Or so I thought.
"Isn't it sad? About John and Kate?" she implored.
"John and Kate." "John and Kate." I wracked my brain and my intercranial Rolodex for the names, scouring to conjur faces of people whom this lady thought we knew in common.
"You know. From the TV show. "Jon and Kate Plus 8!"
I had no idea about whom she was speaking. I must have had the look of someone who just landed on Earth from another planet, earnestly trying to figure out how to use a pepper grinder, for she kept at it until she realized that I was clueless, and could not therefore share her grave concern for this couple and their children. (Apparently I misspelled John's first name in my ignorance and mental scrambling, also.)
My coffee companion was angered by the fact that I neither knew nor cared about this couple and their current angst. I mean, she was sincerely upset with me. Maybe she knew them as friends who just happened to get a TV show?
Nope. The smart businesswoman had never met the two; she lived some 3,000 miles away from their drama and yet she was extraordinarily disturbed because apparently they were going through the throes of divorce.
For the record, I responded by telling her that I didn't give a tiny rat's patootie: if Jon and Kate--or any other celebrity--doesn't care about the status of my Life, why should I be obsessed with theirs? Not a satisfactory response, from the lecture I received about my "hardness of heart." (Her extreme reaction may have been the result of the gallons of caffeine she'd consumed during our klatch. She'd inhaled lattes like a man on Death Row....)