Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The 4 a.m. Breakthrough -- exercise 2

Write five paragraphs of narrative about one individual who has decided to stop spending so much time with a gang of friends.

You'd think that by the time a woman reaches the age of 69 she would know what kind of friends to invite into her space and which ones to avoid. And yet, here I am, still angsting over whether it's ok to say, ' Really, I don't want to socialize with her. Every time I do, my feelings end up in the toilet.' I do know it is my own fault, that the issue is my very own self reacting to cultural differences, but I also know that to agree to share my work with her is tantamount to self inflicted torture. I am not going to accompany you to GOMA on Friday if Louise also agrees to join you. Regardless, the two of you will probably have a misunderstanding about the time to arrive and the spot in which to initially meet. You can be part of that mess. I'm not interested. I am unwilling to inflict upon myself that sort of attention getting behaviour again.

And just in case you believe me to be less than charitable, I do realize that it is my own penchant for timeliness that makes me unwilling to submit to the tyranny of association with the ex-Luthern-Nebraskan-Canadian-American. Urgh. My unwillingness to submit, to subdue my own personality in order to compliment hers is a major part of the conflict between us. My American self does interrupt; my voice does grow louder when I am passionate about an issue under consideration. I do expect to be the queen in any given social situation. I am unaccustomed to give way to the 'beauty' of the group. However, I am complimentary of the work of others. I do go out of my way to accommodate the needs of those with whom I socialize and I refuse to give up my position as organizer, of woman in charge in order to soothe the conflict. I would rather argue the point. She would rather stare down her lovely narrow nose at my interruptions and raise her eyebrows. Why can't she just say, 'Sandy, you have interrupted again. I do want to hear what Lizzy has to offer. Please allow her space in which to do that.' A direct request would be met with my apology and willingness to accommodate the group. The schoolmarm stare down the nose, however, incites me to riotous behaviour.

There are others of her ilk with whom I also have determined to no longer associate. I have no problem with you meeting and greeting the caustic remarkable persons whom we have gathered together in this multi-lacquered Easter basket of brightly decorated rancid eggs, but I no longer wish to belabour my nose with the rotten fragrance of their personalities. A Baptist friend whose comments manage to keep me awake for several nights in a row is another whom I intend to avoid. Her penchant for finding fault is most often tinged with a holier than thou position. 'There's no accounting for taste, is there?' is enough to throw me off my otherwise relaxed state of mind for at least two days. Her inability to see herself as a raving narcissist at the same time she accuses me of the same is simply more than I am willing to tolerate. She has never appreciated my work and she makes a point of telling me so. She could do what the rest of us do and simply avoid the subject. Even her compliments on my blog, which attracts about a thousand readers a week become left handed darkness quips in which she makes sure to plasticise any naturally positive elements. Yes, there are enough folks on the planet so that I can avoid her in my social circle also.

Does this seem extreme? Well, it may be so. However, I am unwilling to budge on the issue. I have no intention of littering my social experiences with personalities who are totally unaware of their own penchant for critical, careless, mean spirited commentary in the midst of smirking sidewise glances. They can do that to someone else – I'm no longer interested.