Tuesday, January 1, 2013

No Skills

Reading people is part instinctive.  You can tell from the time you're very young, whether someone is mad, happy, sad, tired, etc.

But to fine-tune that skill takes common sense and a little intelligence, two things this big ol' dumb gal is lacking in.

New Year's Day seems a natural occasion for thinking about the past, really my own past and mistakes i've made, especially mistakes in choosing friends, people who were not friends but i thought they were, and how looking back it seems incredible that I didn't catch on that they were anything but friends.

Dumb, i know!  How can you not know?  Even just two or three years ago this refusal to see what was right in front of me, was still going on, at my advanced age.  It took an enormous crisis to jolt loose my rose-colored glasses.

I remember working at a Pizza Inn restaurant near Atlanta, when I had just gotten away from a terrible common-law marriage situation.  I was in my early 20s, in the early 70s, and enjoyed having a job and being on my own, starting over.  I worked in the kitchen and made friends immediately with the new waitress.  She needed a place to live and i offered to share the rent at a rooming house with her, and we moved in together.

Over a couple years we had lots of adventures and wild times and I thought we were just fine and dear friends. We both got jobs at the new Steak n Shake across the street from the Pizza Inn - she was a waitress and i was working in the kitchen, training for food prep.

One day we were riding home together, I remember it was a beautiful day.  She turned on the radio and some popular song was playing, and thoughtlessly I remarked that i didn't care for that song.

Suddenly she turned to me and mimicked me in a high voice:   "I don't like that song, I don't like this, I don't like that!" 

I was shocked!  She had never spoken sharply to me, irritated like that.  I was so hurt, I told her to stop the car so I could walk home.  Then she made fun of me for being hurt at nothing.  I got out and walked home, and when I got there, apologized to her!  I just knew whatever was wrong had to be my fault.  It just never sank in that the girl was sick of me, didn't like me, and was simply using me until she didn't need me to help her pay bills!

After some months, we parted ways and I only saw her two times after that - she had moved to Charlotte, NC and I don't remember what her name was after she got married up there, so we lost touch.  She was only one in a long line of users who could recognize a gullible dummy desperate for friendship and approval.

Had I known better I could have lived better, but I didn't.  It's taken over forty years and many similar situations for me to learn to accept what I see and feel - to trust myself!  and so, to develop some self-protecting, people-reading skills.

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