A Hard Week Ahead
Seven years ago this week, my father passed away. He bravely battled various forms of cancer for 15 years. Eight years “clear”, cancer resurfaced. It continued to be a battle on and off for the remainder of his life, which ended at age 63. Way too young. From year-to-year, I have mixed emotions about the relationship I had with him and a thousand other little, and not so little, things.
On a whole, this is an extremely hard time of year for me. I know for some people, they bury a loved one and after a few months or maybe a year or two, they don’t think about it much. However, I’ve been burying people damn near my entire life. I have next to no immediate family left, and unfortunately two members of my family have really pissed me off over the past few weeks, this was exacerbated early this morning to the point of me seeing blood. Extended family pisses me off, period, but I’ll save that story for another day.
Some people have trouble with the word “No.” or, “It’s 12:30 a.m., I JUST fell asleep, I am in agonizing pain, LEAVE ME ALONE until later. Let me fucking sleep!” I think they’re simple, honest statements and requests, but apparently some people struggle with comprehension. If I tell a person at 8:30 PM that I am going to bed, then I strongly encourage them to leave me the hell alone unless their issues fall into one of the following categories.
A) You are bleeding and I am the only person within a 10 mile radius that can help save your life.
B) You’re on fire and need me to help put it out.
C) You need to be bailed out of jail, and in truth there’s not much I can do until morning any way, so leave a message and call back in the morning. Provide pertinent info, I will find you. Believe it or not, they DO allow you more than ONE phone call.
D) You are drunk and have no money for a cab. I will send one your way.
E) Someone has died, in which case, please leave a message because I really do need to sleep to be able to handle this in the morning.
I think those are pretty fair categories, but some people are anal-retentive and cannot listen to simple instructions. Consider what constitutes a TRUE emergency by emergency standards and proceed accordingly.
My second family issue is with a person not thinking before they speak, talking down to me, being disrespectful regarding someone they do not know, and making demands that I find over the top for someone who has not known me their entire life. Moreover, after well over 10 days of pure silence from my end, they call or e-mail acting like NOTHING is wrong, but they include an additional demand that just plain makes you want to smack them.
Generally, if I don’t respond to an e-mail within a few days, it probably means I am BUSY. I do work and I DO have a life, but in some rare cases, I am ignoring you for a while so that I don’t tell you exactly where to fly and how high. 98% of the time, it’s truly just the fact that I am busy. I almost always call people back if they’ve left me a message, BUT if I don’t call you back within 1-7 days and have repeatedly explained that I am not feeling well and that I am going through some heavy shit, respect that answer and stop shoving yourself down my throat.
Unless you are my brother, Aunt, or one of my dearest friends don’t EVER call me at 10:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and assume I am “spending the day all alone” because that’s how your day is going. I hate assumptions, you know what people say about them, so just DON’T. By the way, I was COOKING, so I didn’t have time to reach over and spend the next 7 hours “chatting”. I think my days of speaking to people I barely even like are 100% OVER. If I take the time to call someone myself, it’s genuinely because I want to speak to them, care about them, and like/love them. The list gets shorter by the day.
On an entirely different subject, it is starting to annoy me when people use languages I don’t speak as a means of “good wishes”. English is my first language. I am well know for saying thank you in Italian on a consistent basis, no matter where I am. I am also well known for answering the phone in Italian, Spanish, or Russian. These are simply things I do, BUT it’s not out of an attempt to annoy someone. In fact, I try not to do it all the time because I understand it can be annoying on the flip-side too. So why would you constantly do it to someone when you KNOW they don’t speak the language you’re using?
I have yet to decide whether or not to say something about it. In fact, the “demand of the day” is that I speak to the previously aforementioned person right about the time I plan on making dinner tonight. Mind you, I was not asked about MY schedule, simply INFORMED that she’d be calling between one time and another because that’s when she’d be home from all of her appointments today. I had a hard time not responding with “I’m NOT speaking to you right now.” I really want to tell her off, but I think it’s best said in a few weeks when I’m calmer. I really want to make a great meal tonight and do some Chanukah prep, so I definitely think pointing out all of these things is best kept for a post-holiday discussion. In fact, I think it’s good karma to rid myself of it before the end of the year.
If I’ve repeatedly said this is a hard time of year for me, you can either be supportive and back off, or simply let me know you’re available if I need to talk, but you don’t need to be a monkey on my back. I don’t respond well to tacky aggressiveness.
As we go into the holidays, do you have any family members that drive you absolutely insane and/or make crazy demands of you and your time? Or invite themselves over when you truly don’t want to be bothered? Please let me know how you deal with this insanity in the comments section.
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