Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I figured it out!

I know why I was so exhausted last night! I rode the train all the way home with The Saddest Boy Ever. And he's one of those people who, while very nice, is just such a big, gaping wound of intense need that being around him for 45 minutes just wore me out.

After an extended period of unemployment, he got a part-time retail job at Macy's, which means he and I share almost exactly the same commute from our jobs in the Loop to the condo building we both live in.

He must be nearly 45 now and spends most of his days caring for his mother -- a stroke victim who was unpleasant and hygienically challenged even before her health took a turn for the worse. He's always alone and never mentions any friends. He used to work part-time at the local Jewel, but he quit/was let go (I have trouble following the story) after an on-the-job accident. As he has recounted to me time and again in the laundry room, they blackballed him from working for any other grocery store chain in the Chicagoland area -- really? -- and then he came down with gout. "My doctor said, 'you should be dead.'"

So now he's feeling strong enough to work 20-24 hours/week at Macy's. The el makes him nervous, he's not used to "a big corporation like Macy's" because they have sent him to sensitivity training already (I wanted to ask, "Good God, what did you do?", but I decided I don't want to know), and he works in crystal and fine china, where he doesn't see an awful lot of customers. I think his biggest problem is loneliness. And my heart goes out to him, it does.

But he also seems to have a crush on me, and I'm never, ever going to have any romantic feelings for him, so I am wary of spending much time with him. And frankly, he's a human remora, and sometimes I'm just not up to being a big fish all the time. It can be exhausting!

But I don't want to be mean. He has a good heart and he seems very alone in the world. The original "Eleanor Rigby." But geez! I can't do this every day. So from now on, when I leave the house and get on the platform, I'm going to look furtively to the left and right, darting my eyes about at all times, so I can hide behind a pole or a tree if I see him.

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