Luxuriously Unimpressive

photo for Teen Vogue by Daniel Gabbay

photo for Teen Vogue by Daniel Gabbay

When I was a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College, I had a literature professor that I believed was pure genius.  He wasn’t.  He was just extremely charismatic and well read.  At 18, I mistook this passion for prodigy.  Which isn’t to say he wasn’t a smart man.  He was.  And is.  But moreover, he was (and is) absolutely crackers.

One Tuesday afternoon, all of us students piled in for his lecture.  For some reason, there was a piano in the room and he was playing Mozart’s Sonata Number 11 in A major.  When he finished, we all applauded expecting him to stand and start teaching.  He did not.  Instead, he began playing some Rachmaninoff and left us feeling like gauche opera viewers who made the faux pas of clapping without realizing the act wasn’t actually over.  This recital went on for half an hour more.  Finally he stood.

He walked to his podium, took a swig of water then said, “I think Nabakov is luxuriously unimpressive.  Except for Lolita.  Which gets funnier and funnier each time I read it.”  We all looked at each other and tacitly agreed this man was barking.  Luxuriously unimpressive?  That pairing of words doesn’t mean anything.  Granted, there are tons of oxymorons we’ve co-opted for everyday use.  Jumbo shrimp and silent scream being the most obvious.  But luxuriously unimpressive?  I didn’t understand.

Cut to:  Me.  Age 31.  An American ex-pat in London, a child of Hollywood, a talented failure in the acting world, a would-be writer if I could vanquish my self-diagnosed inertia problems.  The contents of Chagrinnamon Toast are my story.  But if you asked me to describe the last decade of my life, I’d probably say it’s been luxuriously unimpressive.  And just like Lolita was for Professor Peanuts, everything gets funnier and funnier the longer I ruminate on it.  My hope is that you find it the same.

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13 thoughts on “Luxuriously Unimpressive

  1. Holy cow–you were in Teen Vogue? And “a child or Hollywood”? I am impressed, not unimpressed! Though I only “know” you through your writing, so to me that is what really sells you–a lovely mixture of short stories, recipes, childhood rememberances, cocktails (!), etc. But everything does indeed have a point and it’s been a fun way to get to know you. Great photo–more and more you are losing that anonimity 😉 Thanks for sharing.

    • looked you up–you were in How I Met Your Mother!!!!! Now I am really impressed 🙂

      Your professor made a valid point and you know your side far better than I, but a complete outsider such as myself would see your accomplishments as major for sure. Seems you’ve done some big-deal things and have moved on to another act: raising that amazing daughter of yours and reaching out to other cool folk through your blog 😉

      • Yes, ma’am. It’s been a colorful life. And yes, I took Ted Mosby’s virginity. Among other things. The most important being the little one’s mama.

  2. Shut the front door. You’re Molly !!! Oh Princess, now I love you even more. (I’m totally evesdropping on your chat with Liz). How cool to learn that you were on HIMYM!

    I also totally agree with Liz’s sentiments – your accomplishments are major, particularly the one where you’re a mama. As I’ve said to Liz, I can barely take responsibility for a houseplant, so I’m in absolute awe of those who choose to step up and take responsibility for a tiny human.

    I’m loving these recent, more personal stories, and am hoping you’ll share more as time goes on! (And more pie too, please. There’s never any such thing as too much pie 🙂 ).

  3. That was some professor! “Luxuriously unimpressive”. He will be remembered for that alone, if nothing else. So, you’re Molly! Unbelievable. That Ted’s a jerk. You can do better. 🙂

    • Oh he was nuts. But I don’t regret having taken the lecture. I managed to mine some gold from it, even if not entirely from Dostoyevsky, Dickens, or Blake.

      re: Ted. I think Molly was the jerk to him! But thanks!

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