5 Things I Want to Say, But Don’t

Unlike my mom who has amazing neighbors, we do not. Some of our neighbors are even downright scary (like the drug dealer in 10 or the lady that stands outside in her night gown yelling into her cell phone all hours of the day). It’s a compromise, I know. Low rent = more money for our future. But sometimes, I wish I could skip being nice and say what’s really on my mind.

Like the other day…I was headed to take out the trash when out of nowhere Larry appeared. This was the third time in a week! It’s almost as if he has a tracking device on me. For 20 minutes I stood, heavy trash bag full of cat litter in hand, listening to him drone on about everything from politics to bowling. I’m still Southern enough to know better than to be rude but gee whiz! that bag was breaking my arm! It’s not just Larry though. There are no shortage of people here who want to tell you how to live your life their way. That’s all well and good but sometimes, I just want to say:

I don’t care who you vote for! Call me crazy. This is America after all and I know I should be on one side or the other of the red/blue divide but I’m not. I’ve voted both ways, as well as Independent, over the years because I choose the person over the party. There’s no perfect politician and there’s no solution to America’s problems in politics. So no, I don’t care who you think aligns most with your values. The point of this exercise is to pick someone you think you can live with and vote.

I do have a real job! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the “bless your heart” look when I tell people that I’m a writer. It’s even worse when I tell them I work from home. The look is usually followed by a descriptive list of their children’s and grandchildren’s college credentials and professions. I’ve even had someone ask if I was looking for a real job before telling me that the book binding factory was hiring.

One income really is all we need. Angie has it even worse than I do when it comes to answering the “and what do you do for a living?” question. Folks launch a full scale pity party when she says that she doesn’t work. A member of my own family once asked if she was on disability. I understand that it’s hard for the average American Dreamer to grasp the notion that less is more but that really is how we live and it works. There’s no amount of money in the world that could ever substitute for the time we get to spend together, with our family, doing the things we love. The best things in life truly are free!

No, I don’t want your stuff. Not too long ago I found myself staring at photos on someone’s iPhone of all the glass trinkets they had collected in their lifetime. There were thousands of these figurines, bowls, and who-knows-what lovingly arranged in curio cabinets in this lady’s 960 square foot bonus room. She was very proud. And that’s okay, except that at the same time she was showing me her collection, she was also trying to pawn off 8 boxes of used clothing on me because I didn’t have enough stuff! I’m a minimalist. That’s kind of the point.

We’re both girls! So this is a bit embarrassing. Another distant relative of mine asked my mom which one of us (me or Angie) was the man. After rolling her eyes a few times, my mom said (and I chuckled), “I don’t have definitive proof, but I’m pretty sure they are both my girls”. This wasn’t so much a question of gender identity as it was a reconciling of stereotypical gender roles, which are still (sadly) prevalent here in the South. I work and Angie stays home. I must be the man. Oh wait…Angie kills spiders and I scream when I see them. She is definitely the man. I hate to burst the bubble but of all the things we’ve ever wanted to be in life, never once has either of us wanted to be a man. (My little sister wanted to be a cow when we were kids but that’s an entirely different story 🙂 )

So what’s your story? What annoying things do people say to you (or about you) that you’d love to set them straight on but don’t? And why? Are you too polite, like I am, or do you think, like Angie, that such things are just trivial in the big scheme of life?

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