Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Houseguests.

It's been an exhausting sort of 18 months, these months where blogging has been more frequently absent than present. It's been the kind of 18 months that you go into with the most noble of intentions, all smiles and sunshine but you get kicked in the teeth and handed a parking ticket instead.

After a foreign-exchange student gone wrong for 8 months, we played host, for 14 weeks and 3 days, to a family member fresh out of rehab. It's difficult to determine which was more taxing...the privileged child of wealthy parents who turned his nose up at all things American and put his pajamas on at 2pm, or the senior citizen who demanded gluten-free meals after three decades of consuming grain alcohol by the gallon.  Either way, they both slept in until 11 and wouldn't do their own damned laundry.

The damnedest thing is we spent months, MONTHS, trying to do the right thing, trying to take care of people who didn't appreciate it, in fact - resented it - and feeling guilty because we resented it right the hell back. You know how hard it is to hide in your own house? Stupid open floor plan.

Larger than that, some folks we considered dear friends, people we would've bent over backwards for...how do I put this eloquently? Let's see...they screwed us over. They said, "Hey, know what? Eff off, nice people. The fact that our utter lack of effort has affected your very livelihood doesn't bother us. And you know what? Screw your kid, too."

That. That's the shit that zaps the funny right outta me. That scrapes the goddamn give-a-shit outta me. Those symbolic house guests that you let into your life thinking they like you as much as you like them. But really they're just there for the free night's stay and the hot meal. They're going to use your good towels and leave the bed unmade.

My father, the person I'm probably most like, has a saying, "People are no damned good." I used to think it was an all-encompassing sentiment. But it was a warning. Take care of your own. Take care of the people who take care of you.

My husband, the person who has put up with me longer than anyone else has a saying, too. "You can't fix stupid."  I've been trying to fix everybody, with opportunity, with my time. I thought I could fix stupid. But people? Turns out they're no damned good.

So. This year and all the other years to come...I will not fix stupid. I will concentrate on treating the people well who deserve it. Starting with me.

Well, whaddya know. I almost feel funny again.

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