The One About The Mutual Acquaintance With The *Maybe* Secret Life

FRIEND, WHO IS NOT A DRAMA QUEEN, is convinced that a mutual acquaintance of ours, let’s call her Maureen, has a secret life.

Friend, who lives closer to Maureen and communicates with her more frequently than I do, thinks that Maureen is up to something.  Something weird, that is.  Something that Maureen doesn’t want us to know about.

Friend, who enjoys ye olde Facebook, tells me that Maureen disappears for days, not responding to any form of contact and then when they do talk in person there are holes in the story– about who was there, when events happened.

EASY AS IT WOULD BE TO DISMISS Friend’s observations about Maureen, I’ve heard this story before, many years ago.  And in that situation, the suspicions turned out to be correct.

Back then, that mutual acquaintance was off doing some things in another town involving a new age-y cult-type group that mutual acquaintance didn’t want anyone to know about.

But eventually we did find out– and that was long before Facebook, a simple nosy way to lurk on the edges of someone’s life.  Which is, of course, what Friend is now doing as she tries to find out the truth about Maureen’s alleged secret life.

AND ME, WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT all of this?  Not one blessed thing except listening to Friend.

I figure that enough people tell me their secrets and concerns without any prompting, that I don’t need to go looking for more things to know about people than what they want to share with me directly.

Case in point… read the first sentence of this post.

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Question of the Day:
Have you ever wondered if a friend or acquaintance has a secret life?  And if so, did they?  Or do you still not know for sure?
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A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.

The Tale Of Getting Our Held Mail Upon Return From Vacay

I DID NOT START THIS.  I want to be clear on this point.

I inherited this feud from some women who used to live on this street when all the houses were new, and the street wasn’t finished yet.  Women who moved to the midwest from big sophisticated cities.

Women who had never dealt with a small town misogynistic resentful male postal clerk who grumbled loudly about doing his job, poorly.

For reasons never fully explained to me they hated him, and being who they were, they launched a letter-writing + email-sending campaign to get him fired.  They found the names of everyone in the U.S. Postal Service who might be influential enough to get this resentful male postal clerk axed from his job– and set about trying to make it so.

Their campaign, organized and relentless as it was, did not work.

THEN they moved away leaving me the only woman on this street who knows what they did– and still suffers for it because he remembers which part of our street was out to get him.

The block I live on.

# # #

# # #

SO KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, I went over to our local post office branch to get our mail that had been held while we were on vacation.

As usual he was the only clerk working behind the counter and I had to stand in a long line.  No big deal.  Totally expected.

What I did not expect, however, was our resentful male postal clerk getting into a prolonged shouting match with a male customer who was trying to decide which box to use to send something somewhere.

Our resentful male postal clerk had strong opinions on what this customer guy should be doing– and the customer guy was. not. buying. it. at. all.

I found this tense conversation fascinating because this is my first experience with our resentful male postal clerk turning vicious on a man.

He’s branched out.  [pun intended]

# # #

# # #

EVENTUALLY I GET TO THE COUNTER.  With a sense of foreboding I hand my driver’s license to our resentful male postal clerk, and I wait for the inevitable hateful glare.

The snarl.

The shout.

“Greenwood Street, huh?”

But this time, my gentle readers, I was ready.  I put on what might be my best dramatic performance ever, playing the part of a contrite suburbanite.  When he squinted his eyes and glared at me, I slouched, I looked down at the floor, and I hung my head in shame for living on the street that I do.

Oddly, this performance seemed to light a fire under his heretofore slow-moving butt and he went into the back of the post office branch to retrieve my mail.  Lickety-split-like.  Without whining.

# # #

# # #

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.  As if this story could get more exciting and amazing, when our resentful male postal clerk returned from the back with our mail, that included 31 catalogues + many letters, he had it in an official U.S. Post Office rectangular white plastic toter that he handed to me.

This is unprecedented.

Never before has this resentful male postal clerk NOT dumped all of our mail on the counter for me to grasp, as best I can, in my arms.  He has previously enjoyed making me look like a klutz as I scramble to not drop anything while skedaddling out of his post office branch.

But this time, he was, for him, in his own way, almost kind to me.

And I gotta tell ‘ya, I find this a bit disturbing.  It’s just not normal– like he’s playing some new game with me that I have yet to figure out.

Taunts & Tears: In Which I Wonder About Humanity Whilst Shopping

“Do you want $13.47?”

That’s the first thing she said to me.

I told her “no” and explained that I had money.

I was in Best Buy in an upscale part of town and after a long wait in line I’d finally made it to the cashier, a pleasant efficient girl, a bit on the plain Jane side, probably college age– totally confused about what to do next.

“But what do I do with it?” 

She was holding the change from the transaction that had just taken place in front of me when two Kardashian-esque high school kids had purchased some candy with a twenty-dollar bill– and refused to take their change.

“I tried to give them the $13.47 back, but they wouldn’t take it.  They told me to keep the change.  But it’s theirs, not mine.”

I’d been watching and listening to these kids directly in front of me while standing in line.  I knew them for what they were.  Troublemakers.  Snotty rich kids wasting Daddy’s money.  Pointing at the cashier, snickering about her looks.

“But what do I do with the money? It’s not mine.”

As if on cue, we heard a car engine outside the front window of the store and turned to see the two high school kids in a convertible Mercedes, top down, driving by the window laughing and waving at us.

With that my cashier began to cry.  Somehow being mocked by these two had really gotten to her.

So there I stood, waiting for the tears to stop and for her to look at me.  When she did, still sniffling, I answered her question about what she should do.  I said:

You’re ok.  You did everything right.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.  After your shift when you turn in your till tonight you explain that there’s $13.47 too much in there because some rich idiotic spoiled kids wouldn’t take their change.  You’re ok.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.

And you know what?  My words calmed her down so that she stopped sniffling, rang up my sale– and was back to her cheerful self quietly saying her newfound mantra.

“I’m ok.  This is not my fault.  No one’s going to blame me.”

In Which I Listen With The Intent Of Exiting The Scene As Soon As Possible

I HAPPENED TO SEE AN ACQUAINTANCE WHO, after a polite “hello,” launched into a long story about something in her life.

Acquaintance, who is living in the River of Denial, started the conversation, which was really more of a soliloquy, with the words “I’m not a _________, but…” and then went on to tell me about her thoughts and actions that from an objective point of view would say that she is a _________.

“Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?”

WHILE I ENJOYED THE THEATRICAL UNHINGED WAY in which she rationalized her behavior, I began to ponder, if given the opportunity, what I was going to say to this woman who, without getting into any of the specifics, I’ll describe as a wackadoodle who needs to see a therapist.

However, being the grown-up that I am I chose to say nothing and remain quiet, listening to her and nodding my head in a supportive way, like an extra on stage behind the lead actor.

As one does, even.

EVENTUALLY ACQUAINTANCE FINISHED TELLING ME HER STORY, and me being me, I said the first thing that floated into my mind.  I let her know that I understood what she’d been yammering on about by saying Snagglepuss‘s immortal catchphrase: “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”

And that, kids, seemed to be all that she needed to hear me say to her, thus giving me my opportunity to gracefully walk away from this absurd conversation.

“Exit, stage left.”

What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

Holidays In The Suburbs: Of Discord & Delivery Trucks & Discernment

WELP, considering what a year this has been…

it’s no surprise, really, that as we approach the end of December there is discord amongst the ± 3,000 suburbanites here in Mom Trails.

Some residents are not happy with what the HOA has done. This time.

The story of this holiday discord is set in our multi-acre hilly subdivision where, from what I can tell, no one shops in stores, everyone shops online.  From mid-November through December, UPS & FedEx deliver here almost daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

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“When I’m worried and cannot sleep, 

I count my blessings instead of sheep, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

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TO KEEP things simple… 

UPS & FedEx have put large plain storage units in the four flat pool parking lots.  These storage units have all been discretely placed away from the street, close to the pool houses where you barely notice them as you go by.

Then multiple times throughout the day the large delivery trucks, that we usually see on our curvy streets, go to these units where the drivers drop-off copious amounts of stuff, while door-to-door delivery people drive around the subdivision in cute energy-efficient golf carts delivering the stuff to each house.

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“When my bankroll is getting small, 

I think of when I had none at all, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

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I LOVE this idea because…

1) it keeps the large delivery trucks from blocking traffic on our streets during the day [safety];  and 2) these companies have paid the HOA for the right to put these storage units in the unused pool parking lots [cha-ching].

However, neighbors who do not know how to count their blessings are displeased to see the allegedly tacky storage units around the subdivision, and are trying to stop what the HOA has already contracted to do.

*shakes head at the stupid*

So it is with this little glimpse into my holiday suburban world, that I leave you, my gentle readers, with the following musical number that melodiously encapsulates my opinion on this latest HOA controversy.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE

I’ll catch up with you in January. 

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