Friday, May 1, 2009

He done me wrong - again

In general I would say that I am open, receptive and non judgmental - but all that goes out the window when confronted by chronic complainers. I confess to there being one or two (three to be exact) people in this whole wide world who I go out of my way to avoid - even to the extent of hiding behind the fruit display in the local supermarket that I tried yesterday.

I heard her voice first; considered ditching my basket and making a run for it but instead moved rapidly behind a mound of pineapples hoping to wait it out. No such luck. "Gerry" and I cringed as she advanced on me. (this same woman once told me that I looked younger now that I had gained some weight and had lost "cheekbones" ...the "fat" she added, "helps erase lines"! How's that for a compliment? ) The acquaintance is from another time in my life when we were both members of the same country club. I divorced, left the club and moved on with my life. She stayed well and truly stuck in a black hole of grievances. I can usually manage a year, sometimes two without crossing her path but no matter how long the time the greeting assault is always the same. She launches into a rant about men being lower than gooey-ducks on the evolutionary scale and then into a "do you know what he's done now" soliloquy about her ex-husband. And I do mean ex. They have been divorced 37 years! My role in all this is that I used to play doubles with him when single and remain on nodding terms occasionally running him into him at the theatre or wine tasting - you know, those completely random events that you neither seek out nor avoid.

I do know that the divorce was at her instigation; that he was exceptionally generous and to this day , at least in my hearing, has never uttered a negative word abut her. True, he did re-marry - 23 years after the divorce - a "conniving, money grubbing widow" according to "M"; to the rest of us a supportive, funny and recently retired teacher.

Why is it that some people, men and women both, are incapable of letting go of the past? Surely time creates a chasm over which you no-longer choose to do a balancing act. I had ample reason to be royally p/o'd at my ex-husband but fairly soon came to realise that grudges, anger - they do nothing but take the bounce out of your step. Really old friends of mine who first met me when I was part of the original marriage were somewhat astounded recently when I said how he and I now correspond civilly and with some warmth. "Hey", I told them, "the battles over. Sure, he did do me wrong but it's in the past now".

But not "M". For 37 years she has failed to bury the hatchet; not only that, she takes it out and sharpens it. She re-married and drove that poor man to the brink of despair and he too is included in the litany of "he done me wrong" that is her only talking point. My patience snapped yesterday when after three minutes of this routine I plonked a pineapple into my basket and announced I had to go. "You know" she said "I'm disappointed in you as a friend, you never have time for me". We are not friends I muttered under my breath and then summoned the courage to say it out loud and made a run for it. I've decided I'm not going to even pretend when we run into each other again next year! and now I've got to wrestle that pineapple out of it's skin and into a bowl.

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