Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Life / Your Life

Isn't it funny how easy it is to conceal all the problems that are going on in our own lives? I can focus on just a small portion of what interests me, write about it, and readers assume that all is well. I don't mention the hectic days, sleepless nights, and juggling of different tasks and responsibilities.

I know of a brilliant blogger who always writes strong, in-your-face commentaries. I was recently very surprised to see her reveal that she is going through some serious personal distress. It's appallingly easy it is to put up a front without our even intending to.

That's why I was shocked to get an email yesterday that was grossly unfair.

About a year ago, I had been asked to have breakfast with an older couple and give them advice on website design. My son had been invited, too. When we sat down and discussed their situation, we gave them some pointers and ideas.

During the meeting, they asked us to create the site for them. I hemmed and hawed, and pointed out that I had two businesses (I now have three) and that we would look it over and give them some recommendations but couldn't guarantee anything else.

After the meeting, we sent them a couple more emails with observations on their current site and the recommendation to find another design company. We realized if we tackled the chore, we'd be in over our heads: My son is with me only part of the time, and when we're together we want to be able to make time to play together (we get so little of that!). After all, he's very busy too, since he's prepping for college next year.

Time went by and we never heard from them again. We figured they were as busy as WE were, and after a while we forgot about them entirely. During that time, one of my best friends found out that she has bone cancer and has been given two years to live, another friend struggled with drug addiction, another friend went into deep depression and threatened suicide, another friend had a messy divorce, another friend found out her husband was molesting her daughter, my father had health problems, I got very involved in some charity work, and life churned on even busier than before.

Recently my son landed a fantastic job as a writer (he will be getting paid a significant amount for his articles) and I sent out an email to some family and friends to announce it.

The email I got back from the couple floored me. It was written by the wife, who was very bitter. Perhaps she was always that way, I wouldn't know: I'd only met her that one time. She accused us both of being selfish (since we wouldn't tackle the website, I assume) and whined about how my son never acknowleged a small gift they'd given him at the time (in actuality, he wrote them a thank you email). She was unnecessarily very vicious in her attack.

Needless to say, I was floored! She doesn't know us and didn't care enough to ask US what was going on - she preferred to make assumptions. Her husband had recently been through heart surgery, and she was merely lashing out at people that she thought (or hoped) were more privileged and thus deserving of a good whipping.

I can only give her sympathy to a certain point. I know many good men and women who face adversity in their lives and continue to plod on, treating others with respect and doing the right thing even when it's difficult. I am one of them. Apparently, she chooses a different path.

What was most striking to me was how little she knows me. And, how little we all know each other.


United We Lay said...

Wow, that's incredible. People can be so rude. I guess there are times when you just have to cut people loose! I hope things are improving for you and your son. The writing job sounds great! Good for him!

Mr. Althouse said...

Hi Saur!

There are people in the world who have unrealistic expectations of others. They feel they are somehow entitled to whatever it is they think will make them happy. Almost always these "things" are external and often tangible. Materialism is often a parallel malady. When they perceive others to be experiencing good fortune, their envy causes them to attempt to "level the playing field," even if it is only in their head.

I think you are doing the right thing by taking the moral high road and not responding. It would serve no useful purpose. You, my dear, already have what they seek and they don't even know what it is: inner peace. Your sense of self-worth comes not from external validation, but rather inner beauty.

It's nice to venture over here every now and again - Your clarity is refreshing!


The Lazy Iguana said...

The old lady is probably upset because the Denny's ran out of packets of Sweet-N-Low to steal.

Hans said...

After the list of problems with friends and family seems to me you must be a bit of a jinx.

I wouldn't waste too much of the CPUs time trying to sort that one out. Let it go and move on.

mal said...

There are people that are not worth knowing. This couple sounds like they fit that category. Just walk away and forget it. You can not help people see if they keep their eyes closed. forgot to mention your own physical problems on the list of "distractions" *G*

~Deb said...

It seems as though the slightest offense will be taken severely, due to other problems they may be having in their personal lives. For instance, I have a blogger (not so important) who feels that he was very offended by my views, and has chose to focus his blog on me, and making accusations about me claiming I am being somebody else harassing him. WHY would people resort to attacking others verbally or taking offense to things that would normally be nothing, if “problems” weren’t taking place in their personal lives.

Take it with a grain of salt. A thank you email was sent, and she should have acknowledged that. What more did she want? Did she receive it?

People are “different”. I chuck it up to that.

I hope you’re doing well…been thinking of you!

Herr Krokodil said...


I think it was probably just your normal "I'm better and smarter than you personality" that got her worked up. Shake it off Hon.

Excellent post.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Herr Kroak, always the sage. ;o)

Deb, thanks, hon! I've been thinking of you, too. I owe you a long email, and I'll get it to you soon. Or even better, maybe I'll just call.

Mal, oh yeah, you're right! I DID forget to add that. ;o)

Hans, actually, I'm the lucky rabbits' foot. People who need help have a way of finding me. They're almost never needy or users, though - just people who temporarily need a boost. And my friends have been friends for a very long time, so this has just been a bad year for everyone, for some reason. I guess it's just the price of having so many friends - you get to know them SO well that you know the secret turmoils that surface friends simply don't know.

Lazy, :D You know, you are probably on to something.

Mike, thanks, hon. You are your usual wonderful self. If you lived any closer, I'd marry you. :D

UWL, hi sweetie! How's baby? I need to catch up with YOU, too!!! Yeah, people can sometimes be so ... strange.

Bryan said...

So true. What little we really do know of each other. We can make generalizations of course, but nothing of any real depth can be discovered unless lives are truly intertwined.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I am always onto something. I have my finger on the pulse of Florida. I have spies all over the place feeding me intelligence. This is how I know old people never buy fake sugar. They steal the packets from the tables at Denny's. This is why they put so little out on the tables.

Old people get mighty cranky and upset when the shuffleboard court has to be repainted and the waitress does not leave extra packets of Sweet-N-Low on the table.

United We Lay said...

The baby is great. He's standing and holding on to things to walk around, and he's got 2 teeth now. He's a very fast crawler, and he LOVES Elmo's world.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Fuck 'em.

Cranky Yankee said...

oh the drama....