Now that I am a wizened, self-aware 40-year old, it’s like a veil has been lifted from my eyes. I understand how the world works in ways I never knew before. The gift of this new self-awareness is that I now know that there are people who hate me, even though they don’t even know me.
I know what you’re thinking: Who? Who could hate little ole me? I’m just tooling through life compulsively blogging, paying my therapist gobs of money to cure my character defects, and trying to raise citizens of the world with a minimum intrusion from Disney princesses and hypermasculinized violent weapon-y toys.
But, I’ve seen it on their faces and felt their hot breath as they sigh in my direction. They hate me. They do.
- Anyone standing behind me in a check out line. I’ve suddenly become the lady who has to give exact change. Maybe it’s because I am back on the budget wagon and I’m trying to use cash, but I am sensing that harried customers of the local drug store aren’t enjoying the extra 7 minutes it takes for me to find that penny that I just know is at the bottom of my purse.
- Anyone who leaves me a voicemail. Some people ignore their Twitter accounts, or their husbands or the plants on their windowsills. Me? I ignore that big fat icon on my iPhone that tells me about my voice mails. I won’t look at it so I sure as hell ain’t gonna listen to them. Now, I’m pretty sure that those people who ask, Didn’t you get my voice mail? hate me. Like that telemarketer who’s been leaving me messages since April.
- People helping me set up an appointment. This list of receptionists, admins, and assistants is long. It’s my habit to call to make an appointment– my son’s doctor, my daughter’s haircut, my own pap smear– but I never have my calendar with me. So, they offer “Thursday at 4:00?” and I inevitably say, “Well, I don’t have my calendar with me. I may have something else that day. Not sure I have child care. What else do you have?” Then, they offer, “We could do Friday at noon?” To which I say, “Friday? Usually Fridays are bad, but I think my therapist is going on an 8-week cruise starting that Friday. Or maybe the next Friday. What else?” They hate me. Who could blame them?
- The help desk at work. I’m certain they see me calling and scurry from their phones like mice when the lights turn on. And I call often. The poor people on the other end of the phone have to deal with a frantic me who can’t figure out Word Perfect (a requirement for my position), and has a hard time describing the problem. How could a computer professional not have some ill will towards the weekly call from me that goes like this: “I clicked on that thingy and then those lines disappeared but those boxy things are still at the bottom and I can’t make them go away.” They start talking to me about macros and “reveal codes” and I burst into tears talking about how Ms. Potter in fourth grade nearly gave me a B in computer because I “had a bad attitude toward technology.” (Ms. Potter hates me too.)
- Commuters trying to get home. My bright idea for getting exercise is to run home from my office. Brillz, right? The only problem is that I leave my office around 5:15, having stretched and queued up my playlist. I am ready to run. But it’s rush hour and throngs of people are busy walking to the train. I do my best to bob and weave through the crowds, but sometimes I get confined in a mass of people. So there I am doing that thing where I’m practically running in place and breathing heavily because I just sprinted a half a block– I am looking for my opening in the crowd. I am getting too close. I am breathing too hard. I accidentally step on the heels of a banker-looking guy who isn’t too thrilled to see my happy ass treating the sidewalk like my personal treadmill. His look says it all: He hates me.
Don’t be fooled by the brevity of this list. There are others. The lady who has to stand behind me at the salad bar while I pick out the broccoli from the vegetable medley dish. The postal worker who has to explain to me where the mailboxes are inside the POST OFFICE. The Gap clerk who has to explain to me that my coupon expired two years ago.
So who hates you? Anyone I know?