Life’s Rich Knots

Your Friend’s Problems

A friend of mine allowed a 35-year-old man to park his RV on her property and hook up to her facilities in return for the completion of an agreed-upon punch list of work. The man had broken up with his wife and lost his job and blah blah boo hoo.

Six months later he has yet to fulfill his obligations and my friend claims she has asked him to leave. Since his truck is in a thousand pieces in her garage, I don’t see this happening without a sheriff.

I disliked him from the first day I met him. He’s a pathological know-it-all with the personality of a blister. He talks about himself obsessively, borrows my friend’s car, and walks into her house anytime he pleases. As he’s sucking up her electricity and hot water using her washer and dryer, he’s complaining about her cigarette smoke. I was curt with him until, in respect to my friend’s wishes, she asked for my cooperation.

A month ago he reconciled with his wife and moved her in without first asking permission. The wife does nothing but sleep and assist her husband in relating pathetic tales of woe. They are accomplished con artists.

I have since stopped speaking to him and his self-aggrandizing logorrhea is met only by my cold glare. My friend does not want to provoke them, so I must seethe quietly. At times I must get up and leave or I will explode in fury.

Our role in a friendship is often difficult to define. Is a friend’s job to empathize, yet remain a detached third party? Isn’t it natural to feel outrage when a friend reports exploitation or abuse? But at whom—the abuser or the victim? Maybe some people have a subconscious desire to be a doormat, or maybe I do not know how to be a friend.

Subscriber Button Drama

WordPress keeps trying to social-mediatize us. They took the Subscribe by email button off and replaced it with Follow at the top of the page. So many people complained that they returned the subscribe button, but with an obnoxious update—it announced to the world how many subscribers you have. Blogging is not Facebook. We are not here to play Farmville or Mafia Wars or endure the anxiety of publicly accumulating “followers.” Many blogs are specialized, personal outlets, and discussion is our goal. How many subscribers we have is nobody’s business but our own. I just now noticed that the number of subscribers information is gone, so thank you WordPress for listening to your flock.

A Little Antidote

I once worked for two Connecticut veterinarians. They were specialists in conditions other vets were stumped by, and charged usurious fees for consultations. One day as I was assisting one of the doctors in a poisoning case, he said to the client, “don’t worry, we’ll find the right anecdote.” I didn’t understand how relating a clever account of a humorous incident would help the dog one bit.

36 responses to “Life’s Rich Knots

  1. That’s a sad story because it’s people like that guy who make the rest of us think twice about doing a good deed.

    • It’s a con artist’s stock and trade to be charming (at first), which is why they are so successful. One must try to call upon our sixth sense to smoke them out before they scam you. It is sad, because my friend is so nice.

  2. It is difficult to watch a friend being taken advantage of. My rule of thumb (and I am much too mild for my own good but I am not going to change at almost-60) is to offer what is asked for. I might bring the subject up hoping I can offer my feedback, but sometimes, because they are who they are, they can’t do what we would be able to do. Our feedback, while it applies to the situation, might not apply to their personality. I am probably making no sense at all. I can feel your concern and I am sure she can, too. That is what is important. Yes, I do think it is natural to feel outrage, but she needs to feel it in order for change to happen, and sometimes feeling it isn’t enough for some, either.

    I love the antidote/anecdote bit.

    Nice to touch base with you again. It’s been a while (or is it awhile?). HA.

    • Hi Char, thanks for comment. I’m afraid I haven’t handled this very well. My sense of justice has been rattled and it’s hard to keep my mouth shut!

      • I am sure you did just fine with your friend. She knows you are concerned for her and want the best for her. That’s what counts. We all handle things differently. I bet she appreciates you for who you are!
        BTW I have friends (and a daughter) who wish I would open my mouth more and they let me know just that. I know where they are coming from and often wish I was like them, but I just AIN’T. They love me just the same and I love them just the same! ;:

  3. Believe it or not, a newspaper years ago ran a story about a vet being treated for wounds inflicted when a dog to whom he was administering an anecdote attacked him. I guess one must watch one’s anecdotes – what’s amusing to us may not be to someone else!

  4. Well Darlin – Maybe your friend could just disconnect water and sewer lines to the RV. Is it by chance illegal to have an RV as a residence on her property? If it is, I’m sure the sheriff would be glad to help get things back to normal. Remember – she needs to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer – where there’s a will…

    You should be able to edit your email subscription widget and take it back to normal. I know mine is still OK with some editing and we are using the same theme. Surely there’s a way.

    Take care –

    • Hi Cowboy, there are a number of ways to make an unwanted guest pack up and scram—the problem is getting the host take action. She’s the one who has to make the call to the sheriff since it’s her property. Or, she could simply let ME loose on him, he’ll be out of there in no time!

      WordPress returned and fixed the widget because people complained, and I’m impressed with WP for actually listening to their bloggers. It’s fine now, thank goodness!

  5. Like you, I have a hard time not charging in and remedying the situation myself. If she feels threatened in any way your friend needs to consult with the sheriff’s office about the best legal way to handle this. The fellow sounds a little overly self-involved and may not be able to pick up on obvious social cues.

    Liked the “anecdote” story! You should have pointed out to him the difference with antidote. Of course you probably would’ve lost your job.

    • Hi Bill, he’s a sleazeball and I feel powerless—if my friend won’t take action, I’m more than willing to—but alas I am not allowed to. Consider this scenario: if you worked at a job where a woman complained every day that her husband was abusive, wouldn’t you want to kill him? Or her, for taking it? I know I complain about life’s misfortunes, but personal abuse is an entirely different story and the victim is as much to blame. Why upset co-workers or friends with tales of abuse? There comes a time to man up and deal with it.

      I hear people misuse words all the time but long ago gave up correcting them, they’ll just argue with you. Those two vets were so arrogant and wouldn’t have listened anyway!

      • This I know for sure. If I worked with a woman whose husband or significant other was abusing her I would either report it to the police or deal with it myself. My choice would depend on which would be most effective.

        The hard part is that you agreed to not be involved but are because this woman keeps reporting these incidences to you. That’s just a terrible spot to be in.

  6. It’s up to the friend to wait until the sheriff calls for statements. At this point, it sounds like your friend’s leech has to be dealt with legally.
    As for the emotional and advice part of friendship, seething is useful because it is honest and honesty is so often not a part of ‘friendship.’ Even if you were ignored in your displeasure with the squatter, it’s clear that you had the best interest of your friend in mind. She ought to appreciate that once the dust settles. If she doesn’t is she really a friend worth seething over?
    best to you.

    • Yes, honesty is a real friendship-killer, and seething is useful but not healthful—my blood pressure stats prove that. Every friendship pitches dangerously on a fine line. Hard to come by, hard to keep—especially for the scrappy. Oh alright bullheaded. Thanks for your comments… ‘squatter’ perfect word, hadn’t thought of that.

  7. This post was certainly worth waiting for. I reckon when the bloke brought his wife in that was definitely crossing the line — no ambiguity there — that freeloader has to go! However it is up to your friend to decide this; interfering may only backfire.

  8. When I did Raj Yoga — even though I found out later it was sort of a cult— we were taught one thing that has always stuck with me: do not get involved in other people’s troubles ; if you do and something goes wrong —- and it invariably does —- you’ll cop the blame from ALL parties involved. Be there as support.

    • JL, it’s a good policy and one I too try to adhere to, but don’t have the personality for it. I guess it depends on the troubles and who or what they involve. I think eastern philosophies oversimplify the detached lifestyle, it’s not always realistic.

  9. Six months later he has yet to fulfill his obligations

    When I began reading this post, I thought who is this woman and why is she writing about me? I have been in that situation. I’m not timid or shy, but you might be amazed at how difficult it can be to get rid of these people once they become squatters on your property. Not only did the guy not do anything but leech, he frequently announced he would be gone for several weeks as he needed a vacation. From what, I would wonder..his life was a vacation. The only redeeming fact about the guy was that he rolled his own cigarettes, but instead of store bought rolling papers he used pages from the bible. This amused the hell out of me.

    “don’t worry, we’ll find the right anecdote.” I didn’t understand how relating a clever account of a humorous incident would help the dog one bit.

    They do say laughter is the best medicine. It could be that the dog had an extremely discerning sense of humor.

    I love the painting in your header. I recognized Bisbee immediately. Great blog, and in the words of the governator…I’ll be back.

    • Hi Honji, I hope he left without drama. In the case I’m “observing,” I fear there will be drama, and not the good kind.

      I once dated a state senator back in CT who constantly used the word “irregardless” but would argue with me when I corrected him. Then I had a proofreading job at a newspaper whose typesetters refused to make my corrections. Once we had a full-page ad that read “In Memorium” and they refused to fix it to “In Memoriam.” They said “it doesn’t look right.” I xeroxed the page from the dictionary, highlighted the word with a marker, and sent it back to typesetting. They said the dictionary was wrong. Idiots. I don’t have a problem with ignorance if people want to learn, it’s defiant ignorance I can’t stand.

      Thanks for compliment on my painting—I’ve had it made into postcards and prints but don’t have the marketing motivation to get out there and sell them. It’s hard to sell anything here, it wearies me. Plus ever since the Monument fire I have little enthusiasm for Bisbee. Thanks for writing!

  10. It’s a relief to hear I wasn’t the only one peeved by the change to “Follow”. It’s such a buzz word right now, and for some reason buzz words make me cringe. But mine still says “Follow”. What gives?

    • Hi Kay, well it looks like they’re keeping the “follow” along the top, but at least they gave us our “subscribe by email” back. Yep, the new sense of the word “follow” has been duly recorded by the lexicographers—there’s no escape from social media. Doesn’t “follow” smack of celebrity obsession? And now, everybody can be one!

  11. Being the strong quiet type. No really. Okay lets go with ‘quiet type’. Am more apt to talk it over with the friend till they see the true light of the situation. That said, if they don’t view the situation as you do, chances are you’re not going to sway them your way. There are varying degrees of friendship. Guess one has to access the risk to the friend, to the friendship and to yourself.. When it comes to true friends, you have do what you think is best for the friend regardless of the outcome. The dude sounds like trouble….hums the theme song from COPS…

    Am with you. He should be put the by the curb.

    • Hi Hudson, it’s not that she doesn’t see the situation, it’s just that she’s too nice. I don’t like to see nice people get walked on, it makes me mad, then I’m not nice at all. Truly kind people are rare and we should build shrines to them and kick the butts of people who are mean to them. It’s a catch-22 because the kind people don’t want you to kick anyone’s butt even if they soundly deserve it. I really hate this guy and his wife and am really weary of their trashy aura. I will do the best I can to be a friend but I think I have to ban any further conversations with my friend regarding the squatters—maybe that way it will save both of us…

      • Not knowing whether your friend reads this, I probably should not say this. However, what I can say that hasn’t already been mentioned; it’s unlikely that I will offend her, These two just sound seedy. I doubt very much if one should feel safe with these two so close. Both are the type of person where nothing good will ever come by befriending them. They only bring grief and sadness. Their life will spiral out of control and suck anyone close into the vortex they created. I would be fearful of them. Watch your back and your pocketbook at the very least.

        • No, she probably won’t see this. But maybe we should be thankful that someone wants to beat the snot out of someone on our behalf. That someone cares enough to get angry when we see exploitation. This couple will eventually move on and take advantage of the next nice person they encounter. It happens all the time—this one just happened to be within my orbit. I am much, much more distrusting of people than she is, so I always watch my back. It’s sort of become second nature. Doesn’t help one develop strong bonds with people, but I’m used to that.

  12. Why does it bother me?

    It is so difficult to watch a friend get scammed over. But the only person who can resolve it is her. It will drive you mad, so I would say that you need to tell your friend how you feel, but then leave her to it, and maybe change the subject when she brings it up. I think we all have a friend who has backbone issues. And some people just revel in the knowledge that they are getting used. Self esteem issues are a pain in the rear!

    And I only just noticed the followers thing, I changed it last night. I felt exposed I tell you! I like the notion of sharing stuff, but all this competitive behaviour is starting to get right on my last nerve!

    • Hi WDIBM, it is hard and I imagine it would be an issue for you too! ‘Backbone issues’ perfect phrase, I’m going to use that. I have plenty of self-esteem issues myself but something like this I would be hopping around ready for a fight long ago.

      You changed the number of followers just last night? I’m confused…you mean WP didn’t take it off for everyone?? If they continue to push and expose bloggers’ personal info, some will quit I tells ya. And blogging is good for the soul—usually.

  13. I haven’t looked into this regarding WP Though to the best of my knowledge the changes you mentioned never happened with me. Would that not have more to do with the apps created for wordpress and not wordpress per say. Only thing that has happened to my wordpress was that my hyperlinks went a muck. Think that was of my own doing and have since fixed that.

    • Hudson, for about a week a lot of bloggers reported their subscription by email button was gone. Someone started a WP forum and plenty of people complained. A lot of people don’t like the “follow” button, it’s kind of icky and confused people who aren’t into the whole social media thing. But WP listened, restored the subscribe button, and apologized. But they put the number of subscribers each blogger has right on our sidebars—I think that’s very bad policy. But now it’s gone and back to normal. The same week no one could read their subscriptions by going to the “manage your subscriptions” page in WP. I use that a lot so it was annoying, but WP again apologized and said they were having tech problems that week. It’s possible it didn’t happen to everybody on WP, I only know about the folks who raised hell!

  14. Sorry to hear of your friend’s troubles. I can see how this would be very difficult for you. You hit on it directly, they are professional con-artists. Sounds like they are “messing with her mind, placing thoughts there with their own agenda.” Your friend has rights and she needs a group of people to come to her aid and get those people out before something terrible happens to her. These are just the things we hear about everyday. I hope your friend does not become a statistic.

    I am worried for both of you. Call an attorney, the police, someone. Remember, power in numbers.

    You know, that type of person relies on the fact that you won’t do anything to upset your friend. I am very worried.

    And, please take care of yourself.

    • Hi Barb, thanks for writing and your concern. I can’t call the cops, that’s not my place to do that and would only cause more trouble. They wouldn’t listen to me anyway as it’s not my property. She has to do it. I lost my temper last time I was there with both parties and now I’m in the doghouse. If people won’t stand up for themselves, I can only help if they ask for it. If they don’t want it, I can’t sit by and watch it so all I can do is retreat. I never want to see these scammers again.

  15. Maybe it’s because I have a few years on me, but I no longer have time for the kind of crap your friend is putting up with. Once upon a time, I wanted everyone to make nice and hoped for lollipops to fall from the sky. Now? Not so much.

    People who engage in bullying, intimidation and abusive behavior usually aren’t amenable to logic or negotiation. The first words that came to my mind when I read your post were “restraining order”. The fact that one hasn’t been sought suggests there’s some kind of payoff for your friend in the current situation.

    To shift contexts just slightly, it’s a simple fact that people can get addicted to drama and the adrenalin rush it brings. Addicts are addicts, and they love creating co-dependent relationships. It’s at least something to think about.

    And WDIBM is right – if you move the jerk off your friend’s property, but your friend doesn’t make the changes that allow HER to get rid of him and his truck parts, within six months she could be doing the same thing because she feels so bad for getting him run off. You can be her friend, but you can’t live her life.

    Oh – that stupid “follow” button. I did a little ranting of my own on the forums. Last I looked, there was a checkbox in my widget that allows me to either show the number of subscribers or not. It may be that as they’re backing out of this latest bad decision, themes are being changed individually rather than across the board.

    • Hi shoreacres, I’m the same way—I cannot stand a steady stream of bullshit from anybody. Never could. I have no patience at all with people who don’t keep their word, and don’t understand how some people accept constant excuses and apologies and go on believing. I don’t know what the payoff is, I’m not seeing it, it may just be gullibility. I know that in domestic abuse situations, many times there IS a payoff, that’s why women stay. I’ve seen it over and over—even in my own biological family long ago. It’s not about fear like many would like you to believe—it’s more a co-dependent disease. Once you’ve expressed your disgust diplomatically, then in frustrated anger, there’s nothing more you can do. Only for an animal or a kid would I take matters into my own hands, and have done so. An adult woman has to make her own choices.

      Glad you ranted on the forums, I did too. See how that works? People rising up and taking action when it’s called for…

      • Shoreacres, I just found the widget and fixed it. I didn’t know this was now a choice. Apparently when you’re logged in you don’t see it—at least I didn’t, I thought it was gone. Thanks for pointing this out!

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