Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Thorn in My Side

Okay, this is gonna bug me for a long time.  I won't embarrass myself by posting it somewhere reputable like Open Salon; I'll only embarrass myself by posting it here.

It's embarrassing because it sounds like an issue a teenager would have, but I'm still wrestling with it: why would someone arbitrarily, reflexively dislike me?

There's me, in the center of various social circles.  In a Venn diagram, you can picture me as a dot in the center of the page, and around me loop four separate circles, like hula hoops spinning around a pencil (aerial view).  Some of the people in these circles know each other (shades of blending) and some are completely unrelated (pure primary colors).  You know how these things look.

There's this other person who appears in most of these circles.  I run into her at private parties and large social occasions.  I run into her when I least expect it.  Getting a conversation out of her is like pulling teeth, except not as easy.  We've had several conversations, and every time I run into her she acts like she's never seen me before, but it's that disingenuous act, that very contrived act that also communicates she knows exactly who I am and is hoping to discourage me.

But what did I do?  I never dated her, I've never done anything horrible to anyone she knows. Is it my clothes?  Do I not dress cool enough?  Do I not pose hard enough?  Who I am is who I really am, not who I appear to be.  Why does she treat me like shit?  What is she basing this off of, what is her working premise?

This isn't usually an issue for me.  Months, maybe a year can go by without me thinking about it, and then she turns up somewhere and pulls this same old shit again, and I wonder what the hell is going on.  When we have so many social interests in common, when we have so many friends from so many different circles in common, why does she act like this?  I don't want to date her, I never did.  She just seemed like she would be an interesting person to talk to, so I don't understand why she decided, before meeting me, that I'm beneath her contempt.

I don't understand.  I can't relate to that.  If I dislike someone at first sight, I can tell you precisely why: an article of clothing worn a certain way, an inappropriate hair style, an affected mannerism.  I can isolate the trait and explain to you what it means to me, when else I've seen it, my associations with it.  Can she?  Can she pick out any one thing about me she has a problem with?

I don't understand, and I'm antagonized by this thing that exists outside of my understanding.  If I knew what it was she hated and I disagreed with it, that would be fine.  At least I'd know.  I'd know she's wrong, but I'd know; the matter would be settled.  I could say, "Okay, she's a prejudicial c**t who has based my entire existence upon a sweater I wore once," and that would be the end of it and I could move on.  I would feel content to ignore her at social functions.

But there's no object like that.  She takes a pleasure in being mean to me and she delights in my cluelessness.  And you can call it past-life issues but it really bugs me as to why.

1 comment:

ilexcassine said...

I know several people like this. I just chalk it up to the idea that they are full up on friends and can't handle anymore. Or that they are in a hard core clique mode and since I'm not in their clique, well, I don't exist. Its weird, and a little self-esteem blowing, but as a grown up I have other friends I can go play with so, eh, whatever. I sympathize with your reaction though.

It is odd though that teen age antics don't seem to end even in one's 30s.