Ego

22 Mar

piano

I have an alter ego.

She comes out under the influence of hard liquor. Or soft liquor. Or when someone’s wronged her. Or when she’s listening to Earth Wind and Fire and having herself a good ‘ol time.

My alter ego came out this past weekend…as well as the weekend before that.

“What should we call Sophie’s alter ego?” my roommate, Brogan, asked.

“Ego,” I responded.

“Right,” agreed my roommate Jasmine. “It’s just Sophie’s ego.”

She’s correct. I have an alter ego and she’s just pure, unfiltered ego. She’s great. People seem to love her.

Two weekends ago, Charlette brought us to a birthday party in the Hollywood Hills. There were seven open bars, communal meatballs drenched in barbecue sauce, and many, many men wearing wide-brimmed Indiana Jones hats. It was your classic LA scene.

I am notorious for being unable to ignore or deny free stuff. As a child, I once ate seven plates of communal smoked salmon at a grocery store because smoked salmon was the “item of the week” and I have no standards when it comes to what I put in my body. The free, “was-sitting-in-the-open-air-all-day” salmon didn’t even make me sick, which is how you know my stomach has incredible tolerance from all of the free food I’ve given it over the years.

In addition to free food, I also love free booze. If you’ve ever invited me to a party and then wondered where your six-pack of Stellas, three bottles of prosecco, and two cans of independently brewed IPAs went, look no further than my bar cart! (But please don’t take them away from me.) I simply don’t believe in not taking advantage of free stuff. Which is why, on one occasion, at an internship event for the United Nations Human Rights Council, I drank so much free wine and so much free food in such a short period of time that I passed out in the bathroom, came-to, and then went back for more mini desserts.

But this isn’t about me. This is about Ego.

Jasmine and I saw the open bars. I was enticed by the free nature of it all. We sauntered over, like maybe we were just looking for two sensible glasses of Pinot Grigio and some light hors-d’oeuvres. (I was looking for a funnel and a steak dinner.) We noticed some mini bottles of Prosecco floating in a bucket. The bar was untended. Hmm we thought. What to do…? What to do…?

Flash forward 15 minutes and three of those free bottles are in Jasmine’s purse and two are in my gut. I’m feeling good. I’m speaking French to some random passers-by, and as a result, am completely excluding Jasmine from the conversation. I’m drunk and I’m an excellent friend.

This is where things start to change. This is where Sophie, as we know her – fun, loves to learn about other people, doesn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable – sheds her outer layers, Hulk style, and reveals…EGO. I blame it on the French conversation.

“Jasmine,” I say, as I push her into a corner. “Let’s discuss my talent.”

Jasmine, my unofficial manager, is a good sport.

“I know I’m no Lady Gaga,” I say. “But don’t get me wrong… I’m amazing.”

Jasmine nods. She takes it all in.

“Don’t you think I could be Lady Gaga?”

Jasmine is still nodding, which is smart. Ego doesn’t react well to disparate opinions.

“I don’t play an instrument, which poses a major setback. Why didn’t I ever learn? Do you believe you can teach an old dog new tricks? What if my fingers are too short and stout to reach the keys? I’m nothing without an instrument. But I still have a lot to offer. I’m amazing.”

Before Jasmine can speak up, Ego starts belting Tony Bennett songs. Because apparently, Ego is a 1950s man with a propensity for scotch and a heart that he left in San Francisco…

In retelling this story, I try to imagine how I would have felt, walking by a young woman belting Tony Bennett and double-fisting plastic cups of champagne. Would I have felt concerned? Would I have chalked her up to just another theater-kid-gone-bad and been on my way? (I always put myself in other people’s shoes, which is a major difference between me and Ego, who just wears her own shoes and talks shit about other people’s.)

Poor Jasmine wasn’t Ego’s only victim that night. A sleeping Brogan also got a good dose, when Ego came home, stood on the stairs, and belted the loud bridge of “Give Your Heart a Break” by Demi Lovato. Ego then followed the performance with a, “That was so fucking good,” and a, “Sorry, Brogan!” Spoiler alert: Ego was not sorry.

I’ve been known to dance and sing on tables because I really like performing. But Ego takes it to the next level. Ego congratulates herself for a job well-done and then beats congratulations out of her friends. Ego’s the kind of bitch who will watch a stranger hail a cab and then rush in front of that stranger to steal said cab, while wearing a pair of stilettos and smoking a long cigarette.

Ego also does not tolerate interlopers. We learned this over the weekend, when a man tried to talk to me and Ego had something to say about it.

This man – let’s call him, Greg – asked me if I went to that particular bar often.

“Sometimes, not really,” I said, hoping he’d leave me alone. I wasn’t in the mood for chatter. Also, I do go to that bar often, but I wasn’t about to tell him my business.

“Cool,” he said. “What are your hobbies?”

I hate when people ask me this. It makes me feel like I’m back in high school, feverishly signing up for “Shakespeare seminars” and “invasive species removal community service” projects, all in an effort to fill out my resume. What’s an adult “hobby,” anyway? Cooking stuff in my crock pot? Showering every day and complaining about it? Eating bagels? Please, enlighten me.

I put on a smile. “I’m a writer,” I said. “I write.”

“What kind of a writer?” he asked.

“A funny one,” I said.

This really got him.

“Wow,” he said. “I wouldn’t have expected that.”

It was at this moment that I could feel her. Ego was crowning, if you will. Getting ready to wade through that river of margarita and break up this party.

“Well you should have,” I said. “I’m hilarious.”

WHOA. WAIT A SECOND. WHAT IS SHE EVEN DOING? Did she just compliment herself in the form of a blunt statement? Shouldn’t he be running for the fucking hills?

He moved in closer.

“What else do you do?”

If he wanted a sexual answer, that was not what he got.

“I’m an incredible singer,” I said.

At this point, Jasmine – who was standing next to me, keeping her head above the fray (it pays to be tall) – turned to fully face me and give me a look that said I should stop talking.

“I spent my entire adolescence singing competitively,” I said.

“Like American Idol?” he asked.

“No,” I answered. “Opera.”

Cue the lights! Cue the music! Ego had arrived, and she was wearing a red gown and exiting a horse-drawn carriage. (For the record: yes, I sang classical music, but I wasn’t onstage marrying Figaro, for Christ’s sake.)

Ego persisted.

“I’m not one of those people who says ‘I’m a singer,’ and then sings a cutesty version of “Africa” by Toto. I’m legit,” I said. Had anyone asked? No. But Ego takes it upon herself to put down other people, so she can stand out.

(So sorry to talk shit about Toto like this, but I feel like Toto would understand.)

“Okay, then sing ‘Set Fire to the Rain,’ by Adele,” Greg said.

Ego loves a challenge. She started belting right in the middle of the damn bar.

Jasmine called an Uber and took Ego’s ass straight home, where Ego settled down enough to watch SNL and eat vegan cookies.

Ego is like a fine wine. Most of the time, she needs to stay on the bar cart. She’s not appropriate for every occasion, and, if ingested in bulk, she might do more harm than good. However, there is something to be said for letting Ego do the talking.

The day after Ego set fire to the rain, I got a text from Greg.

“Lol saved your name as ‘Sophie Adele.’ Still love that you had no hesitation. What cool shit you up to today?”

I didn’t respond because I wasn’t into it and I believe in letting things lie. (Which is why I willingly give out my phone number, even if I know it’s a “no” for me, dog?) But I appreciated the compliment. And I think Ego did, too.

*A note from Ego: I didn’t care. I was too busy practicing piano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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