D'you know the movie? I've seen it a few times. I tend to think of it as a domestic version of Notorious, the Hitchcock classic, but perhaps that's because in both movies, Ingrid Bergman gets to act terrified and particularly vulnerable.
I've used the movie title as a verb, as well. Usually when both my husband and ex-husband are standing around while I search desperately for my keys or something and I'm starting to think a) I'm losing my mind and then b) no, I'm not, they're gaslighting me. So I accuse them, and they laugh. Not a bad result; being Brits and coming from the land of Monty Python, Rowan Atkinson, and Douglas Adams, they often don't laugh at my jokes. I get the deadpan Brit stare, instead.
I was accused of gaslighting someone the other day, and I'm pretty sure she was joking. I'm also pretty sure she was really mad at me and, although I may never know why, I'm okay with the incident.
See, I think of Romlandia -- which is what I call the corner of the Internet where people think, blog, comment, and tweet about romance novels -- as being like high school. There are cliques, sets, loners, etc. One thing that happens in that context is that we're all invited, implicitly, to act like high schoolers if we want to. I wonder if I disappoint when I don't act like a teenager?
I'm 53 -- gonna be 54 next month -- and I wasn't very good at high school, or at being a teenager, even when I actually was in high school. In a chart of groups, types and affiliations in my high school, I wouldn't even have shown up. No lie -- I'm not in my yearbook, not even mentioned. I was invisible. (I get it that I'm not invisible in Romlandia High.)
Before I started working full time on trying to be a romance writer, I was a lawyer. Before that, I worked in public health. Before that I was an editorial assistant to a statistician. Before that, I was a philosophy grad student, before that I was premed. I've been half-assed at all those endeavors; I'm a perennial B+ student and merely average worker.
But before all those things -- even college -- I wanted to write romances. (I was mediocre at that even then, btw.) And before I wanted to write romances, I read romances.
I have been reading romances for over 45 years -- which is longer than most of the student body in Romlandia High has been alive.
So, no, I wasn't gaslighting anyone. I'd apologize, but I think the record is pretty clear that I'm innocent of the charge. I've heard that I was labeled as "smug" and a "smart aleck" (which Chambers defines as "a would-be clever person or one too clever for their own good"). Hmm, under that definition, I might be a smart aleck -- certainly my intelligence (and yes, I am smart) gets me into trouble. And I suppose this paragraph establishes that I'm smug.
But what I am -- more than anything else -- is old. Lots of "been there" and "done that" in my life. If I'm not reacting in a heated fashion to the antics of mean girls in Romlandia, it's because I've seen worse. Hypocrisy, double standards, and violations of basic principles such as "you comment on a blog post at the blog that posted it" -- those I'll speak out against. But not name calling and such on Twitter. Lord, Twitter is so evanescent that even to blog today about the Tweets of Yesterday is a bit like reminiscing about the snows of yesteryear . . . in high summer.
Gaslighting is a high school prank. I've got my faults, but I'm reasonably confident (or smug) that I've outgrown high school.