Monday, May 16, 2005

i'm just not that into her

i first encountered ellen in a night class at fit 2 years ago. she sat on the other side of the room so thankfully i never really had to talk to her, because she was—is—the adult learner from hell. if you've ever taken a continuing ed class, you know what i'm talking about: needy, pushy, up in the teacher's grill all the time, hovering over every demonstration and asking a million inane questions...and then not managing to get one assignment done on time. a total nightmare.

then the next semester i'm sitting in the first day of printed fabrics and who comes and takes the empty seat next to me? you know it. she starts talking to me like we were friends in our other class, rambling on about who knows what and asking me to watch the like 10 tote bags and assorted crap that she's dumped on the desk while she runs to the office to talk to someone about some issue she was having with her schedule—i should have switched seats right then. but i'm a sucka sometimes. she sat there the whole semester and glommed on to me and basically wore me down to the point where i was friendly with her. it seemed harmless—she's crazy and annoying and a disaster, but she's not a bad person. just a divorced middle aged woman who is kind of at sea with her life and is immature and needy. and i only had to see her for 6 hours a week.

so this continued through another class the next semester. she continued to talk my ear off every class, i let her put some stuff in my old locker when i moved into a bigger one, i called her a couple times to let her know class was cancelled.... but we never did anything outside of school, we never even grabbed something to eat before or after class (she asked a couple times, but i evaded. people take no for an answer pretty easily from a pregnant lady). it was just a school friendship.

or so i thought.

the calls and emails started coming last summer. "just checking in, seeing how you are, if the baby's born yet, etc." i would email her every once in a while, but never saw her. in the winter sometime she called and said she was going to be in brooklyn for the day and wanted to come meet the baby, and i couldn't think of a good reason to say no, but then it ened up not working out—she called me a couple hours before she was supposed to come over to cancel because she had ended up in a totally different part of brooklyn than she thought she was going to be and it was getting late and blah blah blee, so she didn't come.

i realized that if she had managed to get it togeher to come visit i might never have shaken her, and that i needed to wipe my brow, say "whew, close call", and begin really studiously avoiding her—not taking her calls, not answering her emails. which is, of course, kind of lame, the avoidance game that we play when we want to break it off with a friend or wannabe friend. but lame as it may be, it's pretty much a social norm, and most people get the message after a few unreturned calls and emails.

yeah, well. i should have realized that i wasn't dealing with "most people."

she kept calling. kept emailing. for like 3 months, without any reply from me. it got to the point where i knew i had to do something, but i just couldn't make myself do it. until i got the message on my answering machine yesterday that went something like "kristen this is ellen, i really need a call back, i've called numerous times, and emailed, i'm so fond of you, you can't treat me like this." and as nutbag as she is, she was right. i shouldn't be treating her like that. [of course, she should learn to take a freaking hint....] i still couldn't face calling her, so i sent her an email:

hi ellen -
i apologize for not returning your calls and emails. i know that wasn't the right thing to do. i guess i was doing the passive-aggressive, cowardly thing that most people do when they aren't interested in keeping in touch with a person anymore.
so, finally, i will just be straightforward: as you said in your message on my answering machine, i know that you're very fond of me. and you were very sweet to buy wile a gift. but i'm not interested in keeping up a friendship with you. i'm sorry.
i'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, but you're right---i shouldn't treat you like this anymore, just not answering your calls and emails.
i wish you all the best, and hope that your new grandchild brings you tons of happiness.
- kristen

a couple of hours later, i got a reply. i took a deep breath, opened it, was an anti-spam email from earthlink telling me that i had to fill out this little form to be added to her list of approved people. of course. so fitting. so, i applied for approval and am awaiting her reply. will update when i get it.

i'm only a tiny bit scared that she'll show up on my doorstep.


sassy said...

i can't believe you have a quasi-stalker in your life i didn't know about! good for you for being honest with her. it's not always easy to do the right thing.

hey mama said...

i didn't talk abotu her b/c i was trying to pretend that she didn't exist in hopes that she'd just, you know, disappear. basically putting my hands over my ears and going "la la la i can't hear you you're not there la la la!"