Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hell is Other People

Hell is Other People

While I’m old enough and awake enough spiritually to realize that life is not all about my having a good day, some days I let other people disturb my peace.  Yesterday was such a day, and an annoying reminder I have room for improvement in this area.

When I opened my e-mail in the morning, a girlfriend approached me with a business idea.  At 64, I think she is restless in her low paying “retirement job”.   It did not blow my skirt up, and it took two e-mails and some mental real estate to say “no thanks” in the nicest possible way.  Selling muffins to office workers is just not my idea of a 21st Century opportunity.  Watch, she’ll be on the Today show in a few months, and I can say I knew her when!

I was late for my Senior Fitness class (I’m 55 but this class is good and it suits my bizarre Dad-in-adult-day-care schedule) where a guy who I barely know, probably 20 years my senior asked me out for a drink.  In my one and only conversation with him, he said he was a widower, and I think his social skills may be a bit rusty.  These awkward phony ass rituals (not to mention the waste of time and energy part) are exactly why I have retired from dating!  I’m friendly to most people, but I have no interest in dating.  I am trying not to be a middle-aged woman who gains lots of weight, wears hideous clothes and lets herself go just to avoid the dating game.  I guess I would be described as a “failed heterosexual”.  I guess I need an “elevator speech” so I can be ready.

When I checked e-mail later in the afternoon, I got a rant response, regarding the salary I was offering from a Craiglist job posting. In my never-ending quest for a decent caregiver, I troll these on-line job boards, although in reality only a small percentage of domestic workers have Internet skills or access.    I recognized her e-mail/Web address, since I had Googled this woman when she had posted on Craigslist looking for work.  She lives in my neighborhood, but I am not interested in hiring any religious zealots, which as a “reverend” is her Web identity.   Reinforces my lack of trust for the caregiver population, and further convinces me that there are nut jobs out there.  

On Sunday I had joined a listserve on-line caregiver support group, and since I have some eldercare issues to deal with.  On my first post, I found myself counseling two members on fairly urgent matters, regarding their family members in long term care facilities.  While happy to help, I feel on a slippery slope giving advice. Each person’s needs are unique, and while facilities in general leave a lot to be desired, it is tempting to make blanket statements which may be interpreted as just negativity on my part.  A bit nervous about this venue, as a newcomer.

I clearly can’t control others, and as a “people person” I find that I am increasingly applying a “filter” of sorts when I interact with people in general.  Is this a healthy boundary, or is this isolating?  Not wishing to become an old curmudgeon, I seek balance between openness and self-protection.   Sort of like “Trust in God but lock your car”.  Today, I am wishing for a recipe for this balance, some simple instructions I can follow in my relations with others.   Or maybe I should just think about stuff like liposuction, it’s sure easier on the psyche.      

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