Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sin of the Week, 6/08/08, in which in reveal my hatred of Jaw

There is a person I will call Jaw. She is a good, nice, friendly, well-intentioned person. I don't like her even a tiny little bit. The reason I don't like her is that when I am leaving to go somewhere, I have typically budgeted enough time to get to my destination on time, but not much more. Jaw, because she lives in my neighborhood and has a seemingly endless assortment subjects to discuss with me, never lets me get out of the neighborhood without wasting a good fifteen minutes of my time with her insipid prattle. Some notable Jaw sidewalk subjects include:

1) describing her child's habit of sticking her tongue out while doing her homework.

2) explaining why it's for the best that I never got married because some people are just supposed to be alone.

3) explaining (over and over) why even though her mother almost became a nun, she is raising her daughter Jewish because it just feels right.

4) describing the vasectomy scars on her husband's manparts and exclaiming with joy that they can now do it whenever they want!

5) has she mentioned lately how glad she is that I never got married? Because it is just so obvious that I am one of those people who is meant to be alone?

6) reminiscing over the time when she thought she might be pregnant, but whew! what a thrill to find out it was just a viscous fluid filled cyst on her left ovary and that they could drain it with a big long needle. Through her vagina.

7) telling me how her child is in the gifted and talented program at school and how that's probably because she was breast-fed for three years.

8) not that I would be able to relate to anything having to do with having a family, or anything.

9) how I should definitely finish my PhD because my career will continue to go nowhere until I do (please note that Jaw herself never finished her Master's degree).

And now to the sin.

Most of the time when I am obstructed by Jaw, I cross the street and wave. It's rude, but to even say hello to Jaw means fifteen minutes of conversation at a minimum- and I can be pretty sure the conversation will piss me off. When I do find myself confronted by Jaw and there is no way out, I smile, say hi, oh, I am fine, how are you, how is your husband's vasectomy treating you, gosh you were right all those times when you said I was so defective that I didn't deserve a man and a child in my life, I am so glad I spend every day of my life in unrelenting loneliness and despair, that was definitely meant to be, you are a genius, how's your daughter's tongue, OH, I am going to be late for my unfulfilling job, so I have to go, bye bye.

Yesterday, I did 16 minutes of time with Jaw, and I was not able to perform gracefully. Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Jaw: Hi! I am so glad I ran into you!

Nina: Hi! I really don't have time to talk because I have to run stairs.

Jaw: Did I tell you that ________ won first place in her school art contest?

Nina: Nope. Not until now.

Jaw: She did! I am so proud! She makes drawings!

Nina: (awkward pause during which Nina says nothing).

Jaw: How is your dad?

Nina: Dying.

Jaw: Really? Well, you know you have to keep your chin up!

Nina: I disagree.

Jaw: Well, yeah, but you can't do anything about it, so you might as well just be happy. Focus on the good!

Nina: Well, Jaw, you sometimes forget that I have an dead-end job, no husband, no children, and no money, which means my list of good* things to focus on is rather short. If I did have any of those good things to focus on, maybe I'd keep my chin up. But I don't, so I can't, and I am muddling along as best I can.

Jaw: that's the spirit! You were really not cut out to be married anyway, and you do have a job, so that's better than being unemployed.

Nina: Yep! Well, I have to go now.

Jaw: Oh, I wish you could stay and talk! Bob got a raise and we are going to buy new furniture and it would be great if I could tell you all about it!

Nina: I have to go now.

Jaw: We are getting a settee!

Nina: I am late.

Jaw: We might get watered silk wallpaper!

Nina: I am going now.

Jaw: Come up for tea when you get back! I'll show you the decorator's swatches!

Nina: Doubt I will have time.

Jaw: How can you possibly be so busy all the time? It's not like you have kids. I never get to visit with you anymore!

Nina: Goodbye.

Jaw: Call me when your dad dies! I will bake you a pie!

And... then I turned my back on her and went to the stairs and went up and down them and was pissed off the whole time that God put this person on the earth just to torment me.

Reader, I hate this woman. I really do. She means well, but I just despise her.

Help me. What can I do?

* So that I do not leave you all with the impression that I really believe everything about my life is bad, here is a short list of good things that I still count on the credit side:

1) I am sort of healthy.
2) I have a computer full of invisible friends who are so nice to me that my faith in basic goodness, decency, etc. has improved dramatically.
3) I have visible friends, good ones.
4) I have, for the time being, one living dad, two living siblings, a sister in law who is as good as a real sister, a brother in law that prevents my real sister from being a complete jackass, and a nephew who will build a rabbit ranch out of blocks with me any time I say that sounds like fun.
5) My step mother, despite her insanity, does the best she can.
6) Julie still puts up with me.
7) I am unencumbered by the kind of drama, intrigue, and misery that is inevitably caused by dating (this is where Jaw, that crazy _____, has a point).
8) I have no known allergies.
9) I have both my legs.
10) My teeth are good.


Annie said...

Jaw sounds like an idiot. I am not even so sure she is well meaning.
Speaking as a woman who is older than you and unmarried, never been married, I have heard that line too many times about some people are meant to be alone. Yes, it may be true, but who wants to hear it! Did she really say that last line? If so she is cruel and not well meaning at all. Perhaps you should move to avoid her forever

LAS said...

I am not so sure she means well either.

Julie said...

I "put up with you" because I love you to death.

Joel said...

You made me nervous for a moment. I glanced at the headline and thought it said "my hatred of the Jew." Seemed a tad out of character. (But boy, you'd be getting some interesting comments!) :)

I respectfully disagree with Annie and Las. I would be hesitant to assign to malice what can be explained by cluelessness. Jaw does sound self-absorbed and lonely. There are some people who desperately crave conversation and have no idea how to actually have one. (Go ahead and flagellate me for the split infinitive.)

Kate P said...

Oh, man I haaate those kinds of conversations. No official diagnosis, but does she have any other signs of Aspbergers? There's someone I work with who asks me how my weekend was/how I'm doing strictly so he can tell me all about himself and his family, and he's textbook--highly functional, but textbook. (Countless times I've probably committed the sin of complaining how unfair it is that this guy was able to find a mate and have kids, while I'm still single.) Once I figured out that he does that, and probably by the grace of God, I now humor him and let him tell me all about all the trips he's taking and how much money he's spending. . . because I realize he's never gonna change his tactless ways. And maybe this is developing my character in some way. I hope.

Finn said...

Jaw is a narcissistic little twat. It is not, therefore, a sin to dislike her. It would be a sin not to.

"Call me when your dad dies. I'll bake you a pie!"? Her head is so far up her ass it popped out the top of her neck again.

Joel said...

Kate, Asperger's leapt to my mind, too. The utter inability to grasp social nuances makes conversations with an Aspi kind of like chewing on tinfoil. My oldest son has it, and everything he knows about social niceties or tact he's had to consciously teach himself. Finn, the line you quoted sounds like something my son would have said a couple of years ago, with literally no idea of the implications.

Then again, narcissistic little twat is always a possibility, too. Plenty of those walking around masquerading as people.

P said...

I can't think of a more hateful person. All I can think of is mace.

LizB said...

Like Joel, I misread the headline at first. Thought you were about to share a whole new and unexpected side. Oops.

I have a Jaw, too, although my jaw doesn't insult me and belittle me. She just talks my damn ears off with pathetic neediness until I want to slap her and scream, "Snap out of it."

ricki said...

I was wondering what some others were wondering...could this woman have Asperger's or some other kind of condition that makes her say things that are patently offensive to others, and her not get it?

I don't know how you'd feel about this, but if it were me? I'd immediately call up a HUGE crying fit, collapse in a blubbering mass of tears on the sidewalk, and as she approached me to "help," scream "GET AWAY! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! YOU ARE TORMENTING ME!" and see if that had any effect.

If it did - she'd be out of my life, so it would be a win.

If it didn't - I'd be able to conclude she had some kind of social deficit, and so I'd be better able not to take the awful awful things she said personally. (Seriously: who says, "Call me when your dad dies, I'll bake you a pie"?)

I'm a nice person but I have some pretty sharply defined limits.

nightfly said...

Well, you know - I think that you show Jaw a lot of grace by counting to her credit things that would probably get her acid stares from a good many people.

I won't say chin up or any such, but I do wish you joy and peace. (And a drama-free beau, should you cross paths such a one.)

Kate P said...

Joel--thanks for fixing my spelling! I knew something was wrong but I couldn't figure out which consonant to remove. :)