Mar. 28, 2017

Don't Judge Me

We received a phone call around two in the morning one night from an old acquaintance. I call him an acquaintance since we really do not have much to do with him anymore. He didn’t necessarily want anything; he just wanted to talk and had asked what my husband and I were doing.

“We’re asleep,” I answered.

“Oh, I woke you up?” He asked.

“Yes. It’s two in the morning. What did you think we would be doing?”

He apologized profusely and then said, “I was told you and Reese stay up all night playing on the computer.

The following day I asked him who told him that. He answered, “Scott” (another acquaintance).

“Well, it's nice to know that someone who doesn’t live with us knows so much about what we do and how we spend our evenings,” I said. “What does he do; drive over to our house at all hours of the night peeking in our windows to see if we’re on the computer? We hardly ever see him so how in the hell would he know what we do?”

When I was sick with pneumonia it was Scott’s sister who came to my rescue and brought me nebulizer treatments. Through the course of one of our conversations she asked me why I didn’t call EMS and have them take me to the hospital.

“I can’t afford EMS,” I laughed. “I would just have Reese take me. It doesn’t cost anything then.”

“Well, you’re on disability, right,” she said more as a statement than a question. “They don’t charge anything if you’re on disability.”

“I’m not on disability,” I replied a little shocked, wondering where that idea came from.

“Yes, you are. You’re not working anywhere.”

“No, I’m not working,” I agreed, “But what does that have to do with me being on disability?”

She kind of laughed and said, “Scott told us you got your big payoff check in from your disability and that’s how you had all that money to fix your kitchen floor ($2,000 is what it cost to fix it).”

“Really? And Scott knows this how? When has he ever seen one of my bank statements, discussed finances with us, better yet; ask him if he even knows what bank I do business with. He doesn’t know anything about us or our lives, much less our financial status. But, if you want to listen to him, you go right ahead. He seems to know a lot more about us than we do especially for someone who we don‘t even associate with.”

I’ve thought a lot about that. There are people out there who assume things about others and present them as fact. Because we have computers and Scott has seen us on them during the day, he automatically assumed we were on it all day and all night long. Equally, because he knew I didn’t work but I was getting some work done on the kitchen floor, he assumed I was on disability and had received a payout check. Okay, I admit, he’s a special kind of stupid, as are the people who listen to him. However, what about my own family?

The closest family I have is a brother who lives in the next state. I haven’t seen him in years and he swears I‘m rich. One of the reasons he thinks this is because I’ve had two books published. The rest of my family lives 1,000 miles away from me. Most are up north.

I was talking to my nephew one afternoon and I was telling him that I primarily eat salads; vegetable salads and yet, I’m struggling with weight issues.

“It’s all that shit you put in it though,” he said to me.

“What shit?”

“You know; meat, eggs, cheeses and such. That’s where all the weight is coming from.”

I thought about that before I responded since it‘s not like he has lunch with me on a weekly basis. He lives too far away. Besides, in his defense, I think he was listening to one of my brother‘s discussing his presumption of my eating habits and not what he really knew to be fact. “What makes you say I put all that shit in it?”

“I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully, “I just assumed you did.”

Truth be told, I do not put meat, cheeses, and, God forbid, eggs, in my salads nor do I douse it with a lot of dressing. My diet is largely vegetarian. Although I do eat some meats, they are not in my garden salads. I love Subway salads. I love the look on their faces too when I tell them no meat or cheeses. Most do a double take. I pointed this out to my nephew; that I do not put “all that shit” in my salads.

“It must be because you eat at McDonald’s all the time then.”

“When did I eat at McDonalds?” It was starting to irritate me because as I said, they all live 1,000 miles away and yet, seem to presume so much about my life.

I haven’t eaten in a burger joint in years. McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, even Taco Bell are nowhere close to being on my menu. Subway is my fast food and even then, it’s far and few between. I’ve had a Lap-band put in which means I cannot eat fries and cheeseburgers. I’ll throw them back up and I hate Taco Bell.

Just because we do eat out once in a while does not mean we eat out all the time. That seems to be the general consensus though. If I tell someone, “We had dinner out last night,” suddenly, we eat out every night which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Less we forget, unlike what my brother believes; I am a far cry from being rich. I cannot afford to eat out all the time.

I have another brother who takes it upon himself to assume things about my life. I’ve told him the same thing; “You live 1,000 miles away. You don’t know a damn thing about where I go, what I do, who I speak to, so mind your own business and quit assuming things that you would have no way of knowing.”

It just amazes me to astonishment that people assume to know so much. I remember when I was younger, my brother Keith, and his then wife, Jonnie Dee, telling me that everyone thought they were rich. The reason being is because they had nice things so people “assumed” they had money to burn buying all these nice things for their home (they need to read my trash-picking story).

My brother Keith is a fanatic about keeping everything tidy and neat almost to the point of having OCD about it. I think he could drive Mr. Monk to drink. He’s a firm believer in, “if it’s broken and I can‘t fix it, I’ll throw it away.” He is not, in a million years, going to keep something around that is broken. As a result, people thought they had money.

Scott (and my brother Michael, as well as others, I’m sure) thinks we’re rich because as Scott explained to me, “You own two homes. I don’t even have one!”

I’ve tried and tried to explain to them, “Just because we have a home and you don’t, doesn’t mean we’re rich. It just means we manage our money better than you do. For example, we don’t go out and buy booze or drugs on a daily basis! (Which is exactly why we have very little if anything do with them).”

I wish I lived the life everyone has made up about us. I wish I were rich. I wish I did eat out all the time so I didn’t have to figure out what to cook for dinner every night. I wish …

I’ve told my husband, “If we ever lose one or both of our homes, everyone will swear it’s because we ate at McDonald’s all of the time.”