Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “bug.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
It took me decades to realize being angry is part of my depression. Anger is so often outwardly focused whereas depression is so inwardly focused, so the connection between the two isn’t obvious. Everything bugs me. Everyone bugs me. Chips the size of Buicks land on my shoulders. Bugged, irked, irritable, grouchy, grrrrr.
I don’t walk around punching people. I might feel like it, but while I might be crazy, I’m not that crazy. I have been known to flip off one of the many bad drivers here who just can’t comprehend left turns. I don’t have a lot of outlets for my irritability, and so I write blog posts about what’s bugging me. Lately, spurred on by the mess about my apartment, remembering lousy favors has been making me grrr. Yesterday I posted about the woman who out of so-called kindness destroyed nearly everything I own. There are two other fake favors that are looming large in my current situation.
I have the room!
Things were desperate, or in my case normal, at the end of 2014. I had a place to stay but had been laid off and was living in the middle of nowhere hillbilly southland, where the unemployment is skyhigh. There were no jobs to be had, and cold weather was approaching. While I had a roof over my head, I couldn’t afford upcoming heating bills. I was going to be either frozen or homeless or both. Another long story short: Mark, a guy from Facebook, out of the blue offered to let me stay in his basement in New England. He has a house with a fully finished basement with its own entrance and bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom were shared upstairs. I didn’t know Mark except from Facebook. Of course my warning bells went off! But this was also Hail Mary time, and so I agreed. I took as many precautions as I could and moved.
Mark let it be known on Facebook that he didn’t have many friends. He is my age, single and in the medical field. He likes art and photography, as do I. I thought we could be friends, and do stuff together, like take photographs of the area, go out for pizza, you know, friends stuff. I made it clear that it was only friends stuff before agreeing to move. I didn’t have much money but did have food assistance and so I thought I could chip in and cook. I’m a good cook and also love to bake bread, and who doesn’t like fresh, homemade bread? (Mark.)
As soon as I moved in I learned that his snarky, grumpy comments weren’t just for Facebook. He has no friends because he’s a mean, crabby guy. He had no interest in doing anything like photography or pizza. He just wanted to surf the Internet for porn. He did several inappropriate things, which some people here will recall that I wrote about. He routinely suggested he could metaphorically throw me out into the very deep snow any time he wanted. I stayed in my dark, basement room as much as I could and made as few ventures upstairs when he was around as possible. He tried to psychologically push me out of there because he has this weird notion of himself that he is too nice to physically do it, because physically evicting me would have been wrong whereas mental abuse is A.Ok.
Mark had me so stressed out that I was physically ill from it. I believe the experience at his place is what pushed me into this latest version of PTSD. (I don’t think it can be Post TSD if the T is still ongoing? Whatever.)
We could have made a bad situation (my employment, his isolation) better for the both of us. We had an opportunity to add to each other’s lives. Instead, he made a generous offer and turned it into a nightmare.
We’ve been there and we’ll help
As soon as I could leave Mark’s I did. In fact, I left earlier than I could afford to just to be rid of him. I landed in the apartment where I am now being asked to vacate.
This apartment, along with several others in the area, is family owned. The landlords are very hands on (often a little too much so). I’ve lived here three years and am on my fourth job (and that one is now if-y). They’ve been supportive and I have thanked them and done as much as I can do for that. They have helped me out in several ways.
Last fall, when our entire department was let go so the work could be outsourced, my landlord’s were angry at the company. They had been active on the community board for that place and they weren’t pleased that local residents were being ousted for distant outsourcing. My landlords came to me and offered to help me while I looked for a job. They did. I paid half-rent, my entire unemployment check, while I looked. I kept them updated on how everything was going. When I got this job I resumed paying full rent. I let them know that the unemployment wiped me out and that I’d start repaying the back rent as soon as I could.
They didn’t say anything. Not a word. They didn’t ask when I could start repaying. They didn’t ask for a schedule. They didn’t say anything except they understood and that long ago they “had been there.”
Several weeks ago I was told by them that they could be getting much more rent for my space. I figured they wanted to raise my rent. The first mention of back rent was when they shoved the vacate letter in my hands. This surprise couldn’t have come at a worse time. They couldn’t have fucked my life up better had they set out to fuck my life up.
All three instances have things in common:
- In all three cases the other person offered. I never asked. Their suggestions never even dawned on me to ask!
- I thanked all profusely and often. I did what I could, with my limited means, to help them help me. The woman who stored/ruined my things? She loves garage sales and reselling things. I gave her a bunch of really nice, resalable items, for her to do whatever she wanted with. I also paid her small monthly storage fees. Mark? I offered to help with cooking and cleaning. I was rebuked. The landlords? I paid them as much as I could as fast I could.
- I kept in frequent and detailed contact with all of them. In Mark’s case I told him exactly what to expect before I arrived and before anything finalized. He obviously chose to ignore it, but it was done.
- Lousy, infrequent to nonexistent, and partial communication from the other people.
- Three examples of what could have been heart-warming, faith-in-humanity acts of kindness were turned into this-is-why-I-hate-people-and-have-trust-issues ordeals that made no one happy.
I honestly don’t know what the lessons are here.
Yeah. This all bugs me. I’m having to pack up my ruined things into moving boxes now. So these bad favors are all being stuck into my face at the moment.
The moving boxes that are still in storage? Well they could be full of real bugs, thanks to JoAnn storing things in the swamp. When my BFF and I were arranging the boxes we wore heavy gloves and jumped and squealed and were totally paranoid about the large spiders we were sure were in there. But that’s another post.