Monday, December 28, 2020

Guess who's feeling passive aggressive

Ah, my oldest friend. I love her more than anything, but man, she can grind my gears. Case in point: She is very comfortable going weeks without conversing with me. Remember, this is a woman who is retired, does no volunteer work, has no circle of friends and takes no adult education classes. I do not understand how she can't carve out 30 minutes on a Wednesday night to call me, but she cannot. She has no explanation for this. Yet if I -- who has a job and does have commitments to other friends and my movie group -- don't instantly return her calls or emails, she wants to know what's up.

Similarly, I have often called her and gotten a text in return that says, "Sorry, I was having dinner with my cousin" (with whom she lives) or "Sorry, my daughter is here visiting." OK, so when she told me earlier in the month that she was spending Christmas with her cousin and her daughter, I didn't bother to call. She questioned me about this, to which I responded I didn't want to bother her. "Oh, Dear, you never bother me!" Then why do you screen me and let my calls go to voicemail?

When she still hadn't mentioned the Christmas gift I sent her in plenty of time for the day, she responded that she "left it on the dresser and forgot about it." Oh, and my gift won't be here until God knows when because it's so hard for her to get a ride to the post office.

I am hurt and saddened by all this. I have always felt so close to her, ever since her daddy took us sledding and then out for hot chocolate. She is my touchstone. No one makes me laugh harder or makes me feel more comfortable. When I embarked on my battle with covid, she nurtured and supported me by calling every day. So it hurts to suddenly feel superfluous.

She has done this to me before, and I think I know her reasons. One is balance of power. I think that she resents that I'm still working, and as a writer,* while her career came to an ignominious end when she helped her doctor-boss merge with another medical practice and was repaid for her efforts by being let go. She was unable to find another job and became so broke that the finance company that had her car loan called me, as her reference, in hopes of getting paid. When she lost her apartment, she moved in with her cousin because she had to.

Another is depression. She battles it, it's a physical condition, and it's real. I think she gets so blue that she feels frozen. When I think of how she faces her depression day in and day out and tries so hard to be happy, positive and "normal," my heart breaks for her.

Her life is more difficult and more complicated than mine, so allowances must be made. I will make them. But I have to be allowed to work through my feelings before I just verbally open my arms to her again.

*She writes fan fiction every day and has begun reading "how to" books for aspiring authors. I've been supporting myself as a writer for 41 years now. She once said something so cruel -- so out of character -- that it revealed her resentment. "No offense, Gal, but I use what you write to light the barbecue."