April 14, 2006

No good deed goes unpunished

----- Original Message -----
From: "former friend" (ungrateful@freemail.com)
To: alice, uptown
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 3:22 PM
Subject: SEND AFTER TRIP

Preface: In the summer of 2004, I allowed this woman --invited her, even -- to stay with me for 8 weeks, room, board and rent free -- while she got a job. After seven weeks, she got a job. After eight, she left. She has been unemployed since January 2005.

Her boxes and clothing have lived in my closet (at no charge) for more than 12 months. I recently sent her an e-mail inquiring whether she wanted these belongings, since she had moved (rent and board free) to a friend's house six months ago. I live in an apartment. I wanted my space back.

Originally we had agreed she would take possession of her stuff when she got a new job. It's been 16 months. I needed the space, and since she could not or would not summon the energy to bunny-sit the off-White Rabbit, I doubt employment is forthcoming.

The off-White Rabbit requires two meals (pellets/hay and vegetables) a day, plus the newspaper in his cage needs to be changed every two days, along with giving him fresh water. It doesn't get more complicated than that.

FYI, I have yet to leave for my trip.

New rules chez Alice: three nights on the sofa, and you're out. The Bank of Alice does not lend more than $100. The compassion window is closed for the duration.


"Dear Alice:
"I said I would wait to discuss certain thing until after you returned from your trip and so I have kept my word.

"Now that you are back, I'm letting loose.

"1) There is nothing wrong with my behavior except that I left stuff in your closet too long. What you are forgetting is that we talked about this at lenght (sic) and
YOU agreed it was okay to leave it there until I got a job and then I would get the stuff.

"2) I don't care if I owe you the moon and the stars. How dare you speak to me in such a manner? (See copies of your e-mails below.)

"3) You had no right to threaten me with throwing my stuff away, keeping some of my stuff just because you felt like it. going through my personal things, and talking to me like I'm some sort of lackey.

"4) If you want to be friend with me, you'd better learn right now to treat me like an equal. Just because you were raised with money, have it now, and I owe you does NEVER give you the right to treat me any other way.

"I will NOT tolerate it.

"5) I want the rest of my stuff back and you are going to send it to me via insured FedEx or UPS. I am not schlepping in at your beck and call to get it this
time. If you threaten to throw it away, you will regret it in ways of which you have no idea.

"Just because my life is a mess does not mean I'm an idiot. You might have found yourself in the same boat had you not had the money to keep you out of it."

My reply:

I received this e-mail, a week before my trip. I thought we had resolved many of these issues yesterday, but apparently I was mistaken. You had previously apologized (per my sent mail file) for leaving the closet for so long. From this current e-mail, it seems you were trying to assuage me more than anything else. That may not have been your intent, but that is my interpretation.

I had anticipated you would have removed your stuff from my closet at some point sooner than you did; you had recently asked whether the closet stuff was bothering me, and I had said yes, that I wanted it to be over so we could resume our regularly scheduled programming.

There is a backstory to having someone's stuff in that closet that I don't feel I need to go into now, but my previous experience had been very unpleasant, and I may have been projecting some of that onto you. For that I am sorry.

As for any other belongings of yours, I think everything is accounted for, so I don't appreciate the threat of what might transpire if I came across anything of yours and did not return it in a timely fashion.

You did not send copies of the relevant e-mails. I assume you were referring to the e-mail that I wrote when I was crying and shaking; if that doesn't tell you how upset I was, I don't know what would. Regarding the e-mail in which I asked about borrowing a couple of things from you, I did not go through your stuff -- these were items on top of your stuff, and the only reason I went through anything of yours was that I was trying to help you by packing things in the spare boxes that I had.

Did it ever occur to you that I don't care about the money? That I was a lot more concerned with losing a personal connection to you, which was how the e-mail-only/your stuff living in my closet route made me feel. I am not saying it is right or wrong; it is simply how I felt.

I suppose also I did not make it clear that I never lend more than I can afford to give away. You don't owe me a dime.

I do take exception to your comments about my money. I don't think I ever threw it in your face in any way, and if you were uncomfortable accepting it, I wish I had known prior to our entering into any financial dealings.

I have inherited money because people in my family, my father included, died. I would rather, as I have said elsewhere, have a father. It took me a long time to get over feeling guilty for what I have, and I don't plan to return to that feeling.

Life is like a poker game, and this was one of the cards I was dealt. It came along with the depression and migraine propensity cards, as part of my genetic makeup.

I am concerned about your health and how you take care of yourself, but I think I have expressed that concern on many occasions, and there isn't anything I can add to what I've already said. Based on [a mutual friend's mother's] experience, I do think you have financial options viz-a-viz income and health care that you may not have completely explored; however, that is your business, not mine.

I hope that we can be friends. The off-White Rabbit sends his love (he's not throwing his hay pan around today, which I take as an expression of his happiness to have seen you).

all my best,

alice

Addendum: I hope I never see or hear from this woman again. Threatening e-mails and postcards have arrived all week, and I have blocked ungrateful's e-mail. I now think the off-White Rabbit was expressing his discomfort at ungrateful's presence.

I thought a simple thank-you was in order; evidently I misjudged this woman's grasp of etiquette. The only regularly scheduled programming I had anticipated has been permanently discontinued.

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3 Comments:

Blogger scout said...

Wow, Ungrateful's e-mail was pretty hateful, especially considering the kindness she's enjoyed from you and her current benefactor. Why is it that so many people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and circumstance are so richly rewarded as they drift through life? And then they chalk up the relative stability of their benefactors to luck and fortune. Argh.

1:50 PM  
Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Unbelievable! Some (actually most) people just don't have a clue.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Unbelievable!!! Clearly, another culprit in our culture's growing sense of victimization! Oh well...

Sorry you had to deal with such an ungrateful lout, Alice, but better to know now, right? Life's too short to be friends with people like that!

1:23 PM  

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