Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Green-Eyed Monster

This happened almost a week ago, but I have been meaning to write about it.

I don't get jealous very often (and, in fact, the feelings of jealousy I felt last week are already gone), but I was upset with how I responded to a recent situation because it is very much out of character for me.

I have a friend who invited me to see a show he is on staff with. This job kind of fell into his lap; it wasn't something he worked hard to get; and it is a job that pays extremely well.

I have known this friend for three years, and we have worked very closely together. He is someone I care about very much, but he also has a lot of problems. He is lazy, irresponsible, and really good at faking his way through things without actually doing the work. He is also a terrific schmoozer, a talent which I actually wish I possessed. He's very materialistic and status is quite important to him (much more than it has ever been to me). He also has some substance abuse problems.

Anyway, I met him before the show, and he was talking about how excited he was about the show and name-dropping left and right and telling me how much money he was making and how he had just spent a substantial amount of that money on one more extravagant thing he doesn't need. All of this was done very innocently, I believe. I don't think he was intending to be arrogant or a show off; I think he was just genuinely excited about his good fortune. But all of a sudden, these feelings of resentment and jealousy were boiling inside of me.

Because I know him very well, I was annoyed because I felt that if anybody didn't deserve the good fortune he was presently enjoying, it was him. It just reaffirmed my belief that he's just a very lucky guy rather than someone who's earned his place. I was also dismayed that he takes this money he's earned and spends it on things he doesn't need like he always has. This guy is so incredibly in debt, it's amazing. And yet, there was that part of me that thought, "Yeah, he's happy now, but what will happen when this job ends and he still has those huge debts to pay and still has to deal with all the problems he puts off? It's going to bite him in the butt eventually." The problem is I don't want it to bite him in the butt. I really do care about my friend, and even though I was angry at him that night, I feel genuine concern at his mismanagement of money, his alcoholism, his failure to take responsibility for the problems in his life.

But at the time, I was angry. Angry that I don't have his flair for wheeling and dealing. Angry that I'm always going to be working low-paying jobs all my life. Angry that I've worked really hard to get where I am whereas I feel he hasn't. But, as Jonah very lovingly reminded me, I wouldn't trade places with him in a minute. I would much rather be me than him. But I really was surprised at how resentful and jealous I was.

The very next day, I felt none of that. I still don't. But the "green-eyed monster" did rear its ugly head for a few hours last Thursday night.

No comments: