Thursday, November 12, 2009

Force of Will

I know that people (who don't know me) assume I'm a confrontational kinda gal who never takes any shit off of anybody.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I'll walk miles outta my way to avoid a fight. In fact, I hate confrontation.

I am well-mannered to a fault. I was raised right: I much prefer to talk about people behind their backs.

But in the interest of fairness, I won't say anything ABOUT anybody that I wouldn't say TO them, and sometimes that doesn't go smoothly. I have to be asked though. I usually won't volunteer a nasty opinion. At least not to your face.

Like when my old slumlord neighbor kept trying and trying and trying to buy my last house. I hated her. Everybody in the neighborhood hated her. I remember her name was Alma (cause that's my aunt's name, and I'm not too crazy about her either). She was destroying the street and my house was becoming the maginot line that divided the would-be-gentrifiers from the white-trash-cattle. But for about nine years, I was tight-lipped polite when I saw her. I wasn't nice. I wasn't friendly. I didn't fake anything. But I was civil. Barely. (And believe me, that was only achieved by sheer force of will.)

After I sold it (to a very nice young professional who's taken lovely care of it), I ran into her out in the yard one day and she asked me if she still had an opportunity to beat his price. So I answered honestly: "I would burn it to the ground and sow the earth with salt first." It was true, but I only said it because I was moving and figured I wouldn't have to see her again. I am rarely that vehement.

There are plenty of people I disagree with politically or socially. And this town is positively full of ex-colleagues...ex-bosses...ex-boyfriends...but as far as I'm concerned, we can mostly all get along like the sheepdog and the wolf in the Warner Bros. cartoon. They may disagree, but they punch the clock ("mornin' Sam" "mornin Ralph") and go about their business. That's the way I prefer it.

There's hardly anybody I actually hate. Hell, I don't even know that many people. I hated that slumlord neighbor though. Luckily, I can really only think of a few people I think of in that way -- folks who've gone outta their way to screw me over and/or cost me money. I socialize carefully, so I don't run across them that often. But when I do, I am not pleasant, and it always seems to shock people who expect that sorta phony faux-"courtesy" that passes for "professionalism"  these days.

Nah. On that, I call bullshit.

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