I lead a very isolated existence. While I do have friends, wonderful friends, most of the live out of state or work during the day. Tom and I only have one car, which he uses for work, so if I can’t walk to my destination or take the T (our form of public transportation), chances are I will have to wait for the weekend to get there when a car is at my disposal.
Someone recently looked at me sorrowfully and said, “But you sometimes don’t see people for days at a time. Doesn’t that make you sad?”
My reply was, “Are you kidding? That is my dream come true.”
Yes, retirement was tremendously hard on me. I had worked since the age of fourteen, and over the years, got very good at my job. It was a huge part of who I was and when I lost it, I lost a lot of self-esteem. I missed not working for a long time, but I never missed dealing with the lunatics and jerks with whom I had to communicate daily. It didn’t matter where. Every company has them. If you are lucky, one of them is not your boss.
I am not a people-person, much preferring the company of dogs, and few special people that I can count on the fingers of my hands. I’m older now, and don’t have time to waste on people who don’t give a flying hoo-hah about me.
When I was young, I loved going out, getting invitations to weddings and soirées , looked forward to the annual company Christmas party, and enjoyed clubs and concerts. When did it all go South? I don’t know exactly when. There was no defining moment. It all happened over the course of years, and it’s getting worse.
It was a gradual thing, this misanthropy. Back then, I think I was too innocent or youthfully stupid to realize that people (in general) just plain suck. However, I also don’t think it was as bad then as it is now.
Judging by the amount of venomous rhetoric we hear politically (from all sides), the constant spewing of hatred, the rise of unspeakable cruelty against defenseless animals, and the filth/bullying via the Internet show that human fury is ramping up at an alarming rate. We are not a happy society.
Look at the some of the marketing that we don’t even think of anymore – kids are into Angry Birds, Burger King has Angry Whoppers, ads show food slapping people in the face. Children are playing video games that feature slaughter in gruesome fashion, and think nothing of it. We are immune to it. Violence is commonplace and has become the norm.
Even if we don’t go as far as violence, what has happened to common decency and manners? No. I’m no Emily Post, but I do get up for the rare passenger on a bus who is older than I, hold doors for people, speak respectfully to store personnel and wait-staff, and automatically say please and thank you. It’s the way I was raised. It doesn’t make me special, it is just plain courtesy and should be automatic.
I say I dislike people because megalomania at best, and violence at worst lives in so many. I know it’s not in me. I know it’s not in those I love, but I don’t know it’s not in those I don’t know. My friend recently questioned my hesitation to give people the benefit of the doubt. I used to. My feeling now is why should I give my trust to someone I don’t know, opening myself to accept a stranger when I don’t know what is in their heart? It’s no longer a desire to make a good impression, sometimes it is a desire not to be hurt – psychically or emotionally.
We live in an increasingly dangerous world, a frightening world. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m nice. I am polite, and I am professional. I am a pleasant and cooperative co-worker. Until I get to know more about you, that’s all you’ll get.
On a personal level, if I meet someone who just wants to talk “at” me, with absolutely no interest in a dialogue and just wants to talk about themselves with no interest in me or having an exchange, I have no problem with cutting the conversation PDQ and walking away. What do I care if they are thinking, “What a rude bitch she is!” How much could they have cared about me in the first place? Life is too short to be a sounding board for some self-centered stranger who thinks you have any interest whatever in their family tree or their impacted molar.
Not everyone wants to shoot you, but there are people who like to mess with you, to make you feel small because it makes them feel good. As you get older, you can recognize the signs. Yes, there are some who enjoy a lovely, lively conversation. I enjoy a casual chat as much as the next person, but there needs to be some back and forth for it to be enjoyable to me.
Another trend that bothers me tremendously is this: where do people get the impression that they can say anything they want to you? What gives them the right to not even hesitate to make a disparaging comment on one’s appearance or condition? When you take umbrage, they act all innocent, like, “What’s your problem? What did I say? Man, she’s got a problem.
For example, one of my very few remaining vanities is being told I look old. Complete strangers have told me I look far older than I am. One cab driver and a bus driver both told me I would have no problem getting senior citizens passes although I was not old enough. One idiot at a party told me I looked like his grandmother – and he was 50!
Ok, rant is over. Tom will be up soon, and I will have to dial in on the day and get a read on how it’s going to go as I have to go into the city today to get some errands done. That means I’ll be riding the rails – both commuter and subway, so we’ll see how the day goes.
I hope yours is a great one.