Thursday, March 8, 2012

Scared of you

Josh texted me that he was having a friend over for dinner tonight. I've met this girl a bunch of times. She's always struck me as dull, with no sense of humor. Thing is, because Josh is so awesome there's got to be more to her then what I'm seeing. What I see is someone who's the type to wear sweater sets and pearls, to always be on a diet, to only have sex in the missionary position.

She's polite of course, but stiff and there's no depth, no personality. She's not the girl you'd pull into the bathroom at a party to tell a secret before running out and dancing on tables together. So anyway, it was not thrilling to hear she was going to be there for dinner. Especially since I wasn't planning anything impressive meal-wise.

Josh and I have had some Serious Money Talks lately, and I am trying to be better about what he calls "spending money to make life easier or more fun" and what I call "wasting money." After tutoring I stopped at the store and bought an already roasted chicken.  When I got home she was already there, sitting primly on the edge of the couch with her back ramrod straight and ankles crossed.

She jumped up to ask if I needed help, watching as I kicked off my shoes while balancing the chicken and my messenger bag. Chicken in the oven on 200, just to keep it warm, while I washed my hands before making salad, quinoa, and asparagus. Alex was laying on the floor doing homework and I heard her ask if she wouldn't be more comfortable at a desk.

I poked my head out of the kitchen to ask Josh to come help, but really I just wanted to know if I should plan for dessert or if she really was on a diet. He grinned at me. "I'm not on a diet." We keep a Mrs. Smith's apple pie in the freezer for emergencies. Deciding this girl was not worth my effort, tonight's company caused dinner to qualify as an emergency so the second the chicken came out of the oven, I pumped the heat up and tossed the pie in for an hour.

During dinner when the scent of apple pie moved to the dining room table, Danielle got all excited. "Did you make whipped cream too?" Yes, in the middle of the night, while you were sleeping. "There's vanilla ice cream."

The girl dabbed her lips after every bite. She and Josh talked about places they've traveled, and where they hope to travel. She used the word "summer" as a verb, of course. I ate and rolled my eyes a lot. After dessert, at which she asked for and got a tiny piece of pie that she ate half of, I told my sisters to clean up from dinner.

The three of us went to the living room, and she sat back in her seat, on the edge, ankles crossed again. I asked if she likes Barnard. She does, thank you. That was all. She didn't ask anything about my school. She didn't say why she likes her school. After two more questions that received stiff, one-word answers I excused myself to go finish cleaning the kitchen. Really though I just sat on the counter eating pie out of the dish.

She poked her head around the wall and actually gasped. I kept eating the pie, as she asked if I needed any help. I wanted to tell her no, it'd be a shame if she chipped a nail. "How come you never really talk to me?" Oh. Hadn't really planned on going there, but since it slipped out, let's go.

She re-adjusted all her jewelry before answering me. "If I were being truthful, I guess I'm a little scared of you." ME?! She's the one who comes across like she'll shatter if you accidentally bump into her. So that's the story of my awkward conversation with an uptight girl who wipes her hand on her skirt after shaking your hand.

She is scared of me. She claims I'm "a bit more street" then she's used to. As she told me this, I cleaned my fingernails with my pocket knife. Just kidding. It was a horridly difficult talk and I kept wishing Josh would come interrupt and save me. Unfortunately my knight in shining armor thought he was doing me a favor by letting us bond.

I am tired and need to get ready for bed and could end this by telling you she shared some pie, we bonded and now we're going for tea next Tuesday. That didn't happen though. She stood around for a few more minutes, I kept eating the pie and let her try to make conversation until she gave up and left to find Josh. I was relieved. She wasn't worth the cost of that chicken, and it wasn't worth how much I paid - it was way too salty.


Anonymous said...

I'm floored by how ungracious you were to her. It seems like she really tried to open up to you, in her imperfect way, and you have no sympathy at all. Why?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous above. That girl is a product of her environment and life experiences just like you are. You don't even know what her experiences are because you can't see past what you perceive to be the "money" issue. How are you going to be successful in life if you can't get rid of that chip on your shoulder about people who have money? You will be meeting a lot of them in life, it can't be avoided, so you might as well learn how to live with it graciously. Perhaps you were just as scared of her as she was of you.

sam said...

I cooked her a full dinner! I tried to talk with her about her school, her life, both at the table and after dinner and she gave me practically one-word answers. She talked about African safaris and when Josh tried to bring up places he KNOWS I've been to so I could be involved in the conversation she was like "Oh everyone does Florida for their first trip or three-day weekends, but nobody would call that a proper vacation!"

So yeah, I gave up. I wasn't scared of her. This was not our first meeting. I was uninterested in her. She was bitchy and uptight. When she asked if she could help by the way, I gave her some food to put on the table, and she took it, brought it to the table, and then BROUGHT IT BACK and PUT IT BACK on the counter, claiming she didn't know where to put it and then walked out. So yeah she offered to help twice, but clearly she didn't really want to help.

Sorry if you think I was a bitch, but I think she's a bitch and won't bend over backwards for someone like that in my own home.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Sam. I don't think you're a bitch. You're just trying to find your way in the world and it's tough being young under any circumstances. I guess that after reading some of your last few posts, it still seemed like the rich people thing was an underlying problem. You've overcome so much already, I just hate to see that get you down or stand in your way. Didn't mean for it to sound so harsh.

Kizz said...

Clearly she was an ass. I admire that she had the balls to actually say she was scared of you when asked point blank. I admire that you had the balls to ask her.

It's just as clear that she has no idea how to help, that's why she didn't. She knows she's supposed to but she has no skills. Which is stupid, yes, but true of a lot of people no matter what their tax bracket.

It's a fair point, though, that you're going to run into this kind of person, this lack of skills, no matter where you go from here. You have a lot of skills, you asked about her school and knew how to make conversation. Some other skills worth cultivating are the right excuses to get out of situations where this stuff is going to happen. Rather than getting caught not doing what you said in your excuse maybe you have too much homework and have to go do that in your room (with a pie and a fork). She's not going to come in there and Josh can let you know when she's leaving so you can say goodbye. A good faith effort is important but you fulfilled that. A good escape is just as important, but as you know from your conversation skills, it's crucial that both parties leave feeling OK about it.

Karen said...

I think it is interesting that she answered she is scared of you. That just speaks volumes about her lack of experience in the real world. You are not scary. You are not "street," whatever that means. I am confused as to why Josh calls her a friend. What is going on there?

Sometimes when people just can't see something interesting about someone else it is because they just can't empathize or picture themselves in the other person's shoes. She's trying to picture herself in your shoes and she finds that frightening. You can't picture yourself in her shoes because she won't tell you even the simplest things about her life.

She might also feel that it is not worthwhile to get to know you better, or even how to engage you in conversation because she finds the assumptions she's made about you and your life to be frightening. I'm pretty sure you can imagine what her life is like and you find it boring and confusing - why spend money on an African safari when you can save XXX dollars and ....

There is something that tugs at her heart and you did not discover it. She thought engaging in conversation about travel would elicit some fun. I guess you could have asked her about her experiences in Africa - what did she find most difficult to understand, what did she find most interesting, blah blah blah.

Just Me said...

I don't get too-rich people or too-stuck-up people or too-pretty people. Whenever anyone gives me the vibe that they think I don't quite meet their standards I have zero interest in getting to know them.

I suspect she gave off this vibe to you.

In cases like this, I am polite but give only as much effort as is required, and try to avoid future contact with them.

Anonymous said...

I guess I just don't see what you have to gain from being a bitch to her. She's Josh's friend and if you prove you can't take the high road (and by high road, I mean the Very High Road of approaching your interactions with his friends as a real opportunity to learn something new and interesting about them) I guess I see some real potential negative fallout in your relationship with Josh.

Lil'Sis said...

I probably would have acted the same way as you after all of her snubs, I have little time or inclination to show effort when someone is so very disinterested; she was insulting, rude and condescending, I too have no idea why Josh is friends with her, wonder if she is a different person altogether around her "own kind" - and if so, that's just another reason I wouldn't want to waste my precious free time on her, phony is no good in my book.

You weren't a bitch, throwing pie at her, that would have been bitchy:)

ashley said...

Sounds to me like you were more than polite, made an effort to converse, cooked her a meal, and didn't do anything unkind to her. It doesn't seem like she made much effort at all. Anybody who grows up with a lot of financial/academic advantages in life, should at least be able to handle basic socializing and conversation.

Nina said...

It seems to me that you were perfectly polite. You're being honest about how you felt about her on your blog, which you are rightly entitled to do. I didn't read that you called her prim, or uptight, or stuck-up to her face so I don't see the problem. You didn't like her, but you didn't go around saying that to her face. You're not obligated to like everybody. It seems to me your social skills are just fine. The only possibly rude thing you did was to not engage her in that last conversation, but really, how the hell are you supposed to respond to someone who says they don't talk to you because they're scared of you because you're too "street" (whatever the hell that means!)? Honestly!

You're not obligated to be perfect Sam. You're allowed to think negative thoughts about people in your head and even vent about them on your blog.

TKD said...

I agree with Nina. It's better you express your dislike for her on your blog than anywhere else. You have this blog for you to process your thoughts, not to always say what we (your readers) want to hear. I've always loved your brutal honesty.

I don't think you treated this girl wrong. If anything, I think that Josh should have lightened your load with this situation a little. I would have expected him to help you cook, try harder to make mutual conversation (even showing you off!), and be the main host to his friend.

Suzy said...

I would have been eating pie in the kitchen too. Never buy an open floor plan house, less space to hide in!