She died and I didn’t care

Posted: July 26, 2019 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Photo by Marco De Waal on Unsplash

I wanted to care but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. Nothing I said to myself could get me to change my mind or feel anything but…nothing. Just…nothing.

It was as if I was reading about some random stranger’s death with a cursory glance while I sipped my coffee and wondered if I had enough gas to get to work or if I should leave 5 minutes earlier to get it.

I didn’t like her, not one iota, but I felt that I should feel something when I heard of her death. I wasn’t surprised by the news. I had seen her posts on Facebook for a fundraiser her son was doing for her. She had pancreatic cancer but wanted to try an herbal program that boasted of wonderful success in remission for all types of cancer.

I had felt sadness when I first found out she was ill but not for long. I had not seen her in years, so she was no longer part of my life.

I didn’t judge her for trying or have much of an opinion about it. It was her life and far be it from me to say what anyone should do once they’ve been given a death sentence. I don’t know what I would do so I can’t say what someone else should do.

She looked horrible in her profile picture. Much older and worn, but that’s to be expected when you’re dying. She still had the great hair and red lipstick and smile, but she had aged 25 years since I had seen her 5 years before.

I felt nothing when I read about her illness. I felt bad that I was ambivalent about her and her pending demise. The more I tried to feel something, the worse I felt.

Is it possible to feel numb and annoyance at feeling numb at the same time?

I didn’t like her when I knew her and worked with her but I tried to. I felt that I should like her since she started working for us a few years before.

Things at work had slowed down. We were looking for someone to bring in sales. I knew things at work would be better if I liked her. I even tried to be nice and insincere to smooth things over. I failed at it and she could tell.

I don’t have a poker face, but there have been times when I would have paid a million dollars to have one. To be able to hide my feelings and thoughts, carry on with an insincere but pleasant conversation, and get away from them as soon as possible.

But I don’t posses that ability. I am envious of people who are hard to read. Is is something a person is born with or is it something that can be self-taught?

My boss asked me if I would be friends with her and include her in my circle of friends. She and I knew some mutual people and they all seemed to like her or at least I thought so.

I was never unkind or cruel. I am not that way, but it’s not a matter of what I do; it’s a matter of what I don’t do. If I don’t like someone, I don’t have long conversations with them. I am short with my responses and greetings, my smile disappears quickly from my face but it’s there just long enough to be seen as polite.

She was brash and rude and the main topic of all her conversations was how great she was. She would go on and on about how many people loved her and how lucky we all were to have her around. By her insistence that we needed her, the back end intention was we were doing everything wrong and she was our only savior and chance at survival. The fact that we had all done well for 15+ years was no longer relevant.

She proclaimed herself as our savior and we were not in the market for one.

She talked her way into our small company and I, like others, were hopeful she would be an asset. We had been struggling lately with our sales and needed a full-time individual to take the lead.

We were doing okay, but wanted to push the business to the next level. It was a logical decision to bring on someone full-time and take the job off of my boss’s plate.

We weren’t looking for a miracle; we just wanted another employee who would learn about the company from the ground up and help us push it further along.

She had had some success with her own small business and she came with some good recommendations. The fact that we all had mutual friends made her appealing to us.

My intense dislike of her wasn’t immediate but it didn’t take me long to begin to dread coming into the office. Having her barge into my office with unsolicited advice on anything and everything, commenting about what I was wearing, and how she thought I could improve my job performance, were things she did on a daily basis.

She had ruined a dinner party at a friends house when she began to tell everyone what an asset she was. When she started on her third glass of wine and told my best friend how lucky I was to know her, my friend rolled her eyes and left the table.

That’s when I began to suspect that I wasn’t the only one didn’t like her.

Funny how we try to like people. We first must lie to ourselves before we begin lying to others.

She shouted when she spoke, barged into offices even if the door was closed, knew more than anyone else. She was impossible to train. You can’t teach anyone who thinks they not only know the subject, but they know more than the trainer.

That particular day was when I came close to throwing the training binder her across the table. I know within a few minutes of working with someone if they can be trained. Most can be, but the few that can’t, it’s because they don’t want to learn. It’s as if admitting they don’t know something, it makes them feel like prey.

  • You have to be vulnerable while opening your mind to new ideas.
  • You have to admit you don’t know something before you can learn it.
  • You have to be willing to be stupid in order to gain knowledge.

All of this we could have dealt with if the numbers had been there, but that was not the case. Her inadequacies began to show up quickly.

First it was the padded (false) stats. Everything sounded good, according to her, but upon inspection, not so much. The money wasn’t there and then when it did appear, the new clients asked for refunds before even starting.

Her appointments kept cancelling on her. It was as if she were a magnet that repelled rather than pulled.

I felt sorry for her. She made me uncomfortable because she seemed so desperate and alone. The more I attempted to befriend her, the more I felt my integrity slip away.

The day she was fired, she cried on my shoulder. I limply put my arm around her shoulder and patted her back. I felt a twinge of remorse for not feeling anything but relief that she would be gone. I felt as if my comfortable world was about to return.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t like her and didn’t have to. I wished her no ill will and had hoped she had gone off onto better and more interesting adventures.

I am sorry she’s gone too soon.

Have you ever known someone you didn’t like but wanted to? Was it something that bothered you or not?

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Comments
  1. Sometimes it bothers me when my reaction to something isn’t what I feel it should be. I don’t have to dislike someone to feel numb about their passing. I did not – and still do not – feel much about the passing of my maternal grandparents. They were nice enough, but we never became close. My life lost nothing through their absence. Without some kind of personal feeling of loss, I can’t really grieve.

    Yes, there are times I’ve felt I should like someone and just didn’t. Thing is, that’s what happens most of the time for me. Perfectly nice people, without the annoyances you’ve mentioned, they’re just not on my frequency.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Definitely a frequency vibe. She wasn’t a horrible person; just incredibly obnoxious. I think the only reason it was ever much of a blip on my radar was because of it being a work situation. Being a small company, it was impossible to avoid anyone.

  2. doovinator says:

    I didn’t feel much like I “should’ve” when my father died. He was never very nice to me. I understand that he could be generous and kind to others, but that wasn’t me, and I didn’t realize just how mean he was until I had kids of my own. I’d remember some awful thing my father had said or done and realize I was JUST AS OLD as my little son, and I’d NEVER be so mean to him, never dream of it. Others can feel how they felt about him, I understand, but as for me I didn’t love him; he never gave me any reason to.

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