Tell Me About Yourself

September 26, 2008
By Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Newton, MA

Roger takes a puff of his cigarette and lets the smoke billow in the air. He then jiggles a crossed foot and reclines in his leather seat.
“Now … Melissa, perhaps this is a conversation reserved for another four … hours, but, would you say,” he takes another puff, “that you have problems being aggressive?” he sticks out his fist.
What does one say then?

“Yeah,” I shrug, "Yeah I do.”
“Well, now, see, I find that just … so," he takes one long drag, “interesting.”

Roger pauses for a moment and watches the Olympians on the television screen with narrowed eyes and his chin rested smartly in his palm. He holds the appearance of some ancient Greek statue. Smoke from the cigarette flutters in front of a painting of businessmen with blurred out faces.

“Because people who have problems with aggression are usually … well, they usually do not have that much confidence.”


Welcome to SOCAPA! Tell us your name, favorite film, and something interesting about yourself.
"Uh. Hi. I'm ... Melissa, and my favorite film, I guess, is uh ... Clerks? ...Um. I don't have anything interesting about me, but something weird about me is that I knock on wood all the time?"
I could stop here. But I don't. "And like, I do it so much that I don't even notice. Like, I'll be having a conversation and then I'm just like, knocking on wood. Yeah. It's pretty weird. Hmm. Yeah. Weird. Okay."

My T-shirt covers my mouth and nose, so as to protect me from the immense amount of second-hand smoke coming my way.
I watch as the Chinese do their thing on the balance beam, envying their talent, their poise.
"Yeah. Well. I dunno."
“Well no, it’s not an 'I dunno'.” Roger takes a sip of “the cheapest red wine” he could find, although the extravagant suede couch I am laying on suggests he could definitely afford something better. “Listen … Melissa. I think the little,” he made a tiny space between his thumb and forefinger “in the little that I know you … I know that you are going to do just fine. Because I am going to tell you something. You cannot … compare yourself to others because you will never be that! ... You will never be that. And when people try to tell you that something you're doing, something you love, is 'not good' ... You say, ‘hey … hey! Whatever I’m doing may not be as good as hers or theirs or his, it may not be the best; it might not even be good! But … it’s me. And I love it. Because I am Melissa.”

Roger laughs and sits there, nodding his head and smoking. The smoke makes me dizzy.
"Good” he says, “ ... Good..."
‘Thank you’ is about to escape from my mouth, when he bolts from the couch, pumps his fists in the air and yells, "HONEY! MICHAEL PHELPS! THE RACE! WE CANNOT MISS IT! WE SIMPLY CANNOT!"

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