At least to me.
I live in a senior park. The last thing I expected when moving here was all the demands for time and attention. And hugs.
I moved here for cheap rent and affordable housing in my “golden” years. Who knew the park was going to be some crazy blend of High School, Summer Camp, and the lunatic asylum?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy enough here. It’s easy to be happy when your expectations are minimal (be pleasant when passing by, don’t involve me in your drama, and keep moving if you must interrupt whatever it is I’m doing).
I’m not anti-people as a whole, I’m more anti-people as individuals.
With the friend’s dog in my house, though, I’m running into the neighbors more. Especially B.
(The above is not B, but it’s close enough to her Baby Jane appearance to not make much difference). B, for whatever reason, has glommed on to me. It wasn’t enough that I was pleasant in passing; now she wants to add me to her life, and I’m not interested.
First off, I have manners so I can be pleasant to anyone. I was raised in a civilized household, so I can smile and wave brightly to anyone demanding my attention, even when my natural impulses are telling me to run in the opposite direction.
B’s incessant demands for attention any time she leaves her yard (or, I pass by her space) have me regularly heading in the opposite direction in the hope that I won’t draw her focus.
If it’s not questions about my spiritual enlightenment (I’m not a believer, thanks, and – no – I don’t want to hear how Jesus Christ is your personal savior), it’s nosy questions about everything and anything that is none of her business, all wrapped up in the, “I’m a harmless old woman with mental health and depression challenges – be nice to me!” persona.
No. Just no.
You’re allowed to be crazy and I’m allowed to refuse to play your victim games. It’s not personal; it’s self-care to refuse to be sucked into your drama filled stratosphere.
B already has 1-5 ladies of the grief committee (yes, that’s a real group around here) involved in her suffering; she doesn’t need my audience participation beyond a breezy “hi” or a cheeful and brief “morning” as I pass by.
For whatever reason, B decided that Easter Sunday / April Fools would be all about her and her widowhood. Her husband passed away a year ago in April, on the 19th, I believe, yet she chose a major holiday to remind folks she’d be all alone, and to embellish it with a memorial service. (Hey, she’s got 8 kids, their spouses and grandkids – it’s not being a mean girl when they’ve already abandonded ship, too).
So, nope. I’m just not that nice. I’m busy. I will always be busy when it comes to avoiding drama.
Anyway, B was walking through the park with her two yippy dogs, one of the grief committee women by her side. S (the grief committee woman, who just lost her husband in January) finds comfort in filling up her spare hours tending to strangers. So not my gig. Anyway… B and S are standing outside my home as I’m coming back from an evening walk, and the challenges start over my status as a non-religious person.
”Well, didn’t your mother take you to church as a girl? Don’t you worry about your immortal soul?” (Great, she’s got an audience. This isn’t going to be pretty).
”B, we’ve talked about this. I was raised Roman Catholic, with Jewish and Protestant and Buddhist believers in my family, but that early training doesn’t mean I have to go through the motions as an adult if I don’t have the same feelings of faith.” I replied patiently, knowing she was showing off a Heathen for our audience of S.
”Well, I know Jesus loves you, sweet girl. Give me a hug!”
No, just not going there. Hugs are toxic, at least in my book.