House guests, party guests,
This is a story about a well-meaning (well, I think so anyway)
but clueless friend who I feel committed a major faux-pas this past summer when
I had my first baby. This friend, let's call her Karen, is a nice girl but has
always been somewhat self-centered. I've known her since middle school and even
going back that far it's pretty much all about her, whatever is happening with
someone else. Her wedding a few years ago was a pageant of epic proportions in
which every single detail was of monumental importance, the world needed to stop
while she made a decision about flowers, etc. It came off fine and she was a
sweetheart on her big day but dealing with the self-absorption got exhausting.
Nothing happened that would end our friendship or anything, though. We keep in
touch and talk on the phone or exchange lengthy e-mails about once a month or a
little less often, and I did consider her to be one of my oldest and best
This past summer I was due to give birth
to my first child, a baby boy. Everything went swimmingly with the pregnancy
until right at the end. At my 37 week checkup my OB became concerned about the
baby's position and sent me for an ultrasound. We found out that my son was
partially transverse in my uterus and also had the umbilical cord wrapped twice
around his neck. He nearly failed a "biophysical profile" and the
ultrasound tech thought he was getting maybe 65 percent of the blood flow he
needed through his cord. I went back to my OB, who wanted to try to shift my
son's position in hopes that he would settle into a better birthing position and
also relieve some of the pressure on his cord. He strapped on some monitors so
we could make sure the baby wasn't unduly stressed during the procedure. When he
tried to manipulate my son into position, he immediately went into distress.
Alarms going off, etc. My OB stopped what he was doing, my son went back to the
position he was in, and everything calmed down.
My OB then informed me that, A. a
vaginal birth wasn't possible, since he was basically lying sideways across the
top of my uterus, and couldn't tolerate being moved and ,B. he was obviously
having some trouble. My OB recommended I have a c-section before I went into
labor, to prevent any further problems. He wanted to do the section that
evening, but because it wasn't considered a "true" emergency (since my
baby was fine as long as he was left where he was lying), we couldn't get
permission to do the c-section that day, but had to wait until Monday, three
days in the future.
I tell you all this to give the situation some context - it
was stressful for all involved. This was a much-loved baby; it took us 2 years
to conceive him. Now we were faced with the knowledge that he was in trouble and
there was nothing we could do about it except get him out as soon as possible,
which wasn't as possible as my OB and the hospital perinatologist would have
liked. Babies do die late in pregnancy from being
strangled by nuchal cords and our baby was already having some difficulty; it
wouldn't take much more for a troublesome situation to become a nightmare. It
was also hard for me because we had been planning on a natural vaginal birth,
had been taking childbirth classes, practicing at home, etc. Now all our
preparation for a beautiful family birth where my husband would catch the baby,
cut the cord, etc. were out the window as our son would have to be born
surgically. We were also concerned because there was a possibility the reduced
blood flow and malpositioning would cause health problems with our baby, but no
one could tell us for sure what kind of problems to expect. My OB just told me
they were planning to have one of the top neonatologists in the area come to the
birth to check the baby out after the c-section.
We sent out an e-mail informing friends and family of current
events (downplaying the severity of the situation, as we didn't want
people to worry) and informing everyone that the baby would be born on Monday.
We tried to be as upbeat as we could. Karen had informed me that she would be in
the area with family around the end of the following week and at her insistence,
we had made plans to get together, as firm as plans can be when you're going to
be 38 weeks pregnant. It was July and I was hot and got tired very easily, but
she "really, really" wanted to see me and could fit a visit with me
into her vacation schedule, so I acquiesced. Well, now, instead of waddling
around miserable and uncomfortable, I would be a new mommy, fresh out of the
hospital, when Karen and her family came to town. Despite that, in response to
my announcement e-mail I got this e-mail back.
"HEY!! I am SO EXCITED!! I want to come by next week so
I can hold that sweet baby!! I can't wait!! See you soon, I'll call you and
find out when is a good time to come by!!"
She then left me TWO voice mails over the next
two days asking when they could schedule time to come over, because they needed
to block out time that wouldn't interfere with the rest of their vacation plans.
Um. There's really not going to be a good time. First off, they had no idea how
long I or the baby would have to be in the hospital. I was assured that if the
baby did have difficulties after the birth it might be a week or more before he
came home, and he might have to be in the NICU. Plus, the standard hospital stay
for c-sections is 72 hours - so I might have still been in the hospital when
they had time to visit. Secondly, even if we were able to leave early I was
going to be home for maybe a day, recovering from a c-section, with a brand-new
baby, on painkillers, breastfeeding, no sleep, etc. when Karen and her family
were available to visit. Not really optimal conditions for receiving visitors.
But Karen and her family were going to be in town, and since their vacation was
going to coincide nicely with the birth of our son, I
guess she figured hey, let's go ahead and drop by, even if that's not convenient
for the new family. I felt like our baby was more like an additional convenient
sightseeing stop on their vacation rather than a special person they really
wanted to see, as she kept emphasizing the need to set up the visit to
accommodate their schedule.
At that point I was overwhelmed with the whole situation and I
e-mailed Karen, as nicely as I could, and told her I just didn't think it was
going to be possible to make plans for her to visit. I didn't hear anything
back. We had the c-section as early as possible that Monday and the baby,
thankfully, was just fine. His initial APGAR score caused some concern but he
pinked up and started moving/yelling etc. and his second score was 9/9, so no
problem. We went home after two nights in the hospital due to a fast recovery on
my part. Baby is adorable, everything is fine. He does have congenital torticollis
from the uterine malpositioning, but is getting physical therapy and there
shouldn't be any long-term problems. I heard from Karen a few times over the
next few months but we never mention anything about the whole "visit"
A month ago I was visited by a mutual friend of Karen and I,
going back to high school days. He loved visiting with my son and was so happy
to see him. We were talking about our mutual friends, and I mentioned that of
all of our friends from high school (a group of about 6 of us), he and his
brother were the only ones who had gotten to see the baby. "Well, Karen
could have seen him but she said she got 'unceremoniously' turned away because
she didn't give you enough notice that she was coming." I was pretty
aghast. "That wasn't the issue at all. She wanted to come see him the day
after we came home from the hospital. I was in no shape to have visitors at that
point." My friend was embarrassed for having said
anything. He said that on a recent visit with Karen, she had said she was
"boycotting" seeing the baby now over being "turned away"
right after the birth, and went on at some length about how hurt her feelings
were. He told me I needed to chalk it up to Karen not knowing how it is when you
have a new baby, that she was kind of clueless about that kind of thing, etc.
Riiiight. I think I will chalk it up instead to Karen's incredible
self-absorption. It's one thing to be miffed over something like this (although
I don't think she has a right to be, myself) and something else entirely to
whine to other people about how maligned you are because you were "turned
away" from seeing a baby not 24 hours after he left the hospital. None of
our other friends demanded to see the baby until we were ready to have people
see him - from everyone else it was "let us know when you're ready for
visitors, we'd love to see the baby." No one else treated our son like he
was just another attraction on a whirlwind sightseeing
tour. And no one else whined and carried on when they weren't allowed to see the
baby exactly when it suited them.
I like to think of myself as an open-minded and forgiving
person but I think I might start forgetting to return Karen's messages. Who
needs friends like that, eh?
I have a well-traveled and spontaneous -- but a bit flaky --
friend. Let's call her 'Sally'. I have been a good friend to her over the past
four years, which have been difficult for her, and contained, among other
adventures, a return to adult college, a fire, a lost friend, a stalker, several
dating disasters and a squirrel (which is a tale for another time).
Sally just got engaged, to a man my husband and I have met a
only couple of times. Two weekends ago Sally and 'Gus' came up to our trailer
camp with her 6 year old daughter, his twelve year old son (who cannot swim),
and their neighbor, a retired and recently-widowed Alice type who looks after
the little girl after school, etc. & whom we also do not know very well.
After a fairly pleasant day trip, they went off home. During the goodbyes, I
extended an invitation for them to visit us during our week-long vacation. I
told them that our campground has a tenting area for visitors in the park at the
bottom of the hill in the woods, and if they get their camping equipment sorted
out, they could camp over a night or so, if they chose.
Well, she phoned the following Friday (my vacation had just
begun) to tell me that they had indeed sorted their camping gear and would join
us... "for Sunday night, Monday night, and we'll leave the kids with
'Alice' in the tent for Tuesday and Wednesday while we work back in town, and we
will return Thursday to spend that night, Friday night, Saturday night, and
follow you guys home on Sunday!" While I sputtered for air on the phone, it
went on. Could I share the fridge with them? Will we do the suppers together and
wouldn't that be FUN? Were there hookups at the tent? No? Oh, that could be a
problem for the giant air mattress... was my husband's son going to be there the
WHOLE week? And if so, could he and my husband sleep in the tent with this other
boy if the girls got scared? Apparently, Alice and I would bunk in my bed...
I recovered my composure enough to tell here that MY vacation
includes sleeping in a bed with MY husband, but did not know what to say after
that. I made an excuse to get off the phone. I told my husband, and of course,
this turkey started to spiral down. We called her back Saturday afternoon, and I
told her as gently as I could that while we were looking forward to seeing them,
I had some concerns about this whole thing. With the intent of getting her to
scale back on some of these out-of-control plans, I told her that, since we had
never had tent guests before, and I couldn't verify the comfort of the area, we
would prefer if they took the children back with them when they left for town
during the week. She protested even this, saying it was just for a couple of
extra days, as after all, she would be back Thursday, for God's sake -- which is
when my husband got on the phone. "Look, Sally, this just isn't going
to work. We want to be able to get in the car and drive our family around, and
we can't squeeze in extra kids if you're not there with your car. We want the
parents to stay with the kids." At this, she said coldly, "Well, then.
I'll talk to you LATER." And hung up on us. She called back a little later,
and we did not pick up. She did not leave a message.
Some time later, when we could close our jaws again, we came
to the conclusion that Sally and her new fiancé were thoughtless Alpha-dog
jackasses who first tried to take over the plans of our entire vacation, then
escape their own children to have some play time of their own, then were
petulant jerks when they were thwarted by us finally saying no. No one
showed up at our camp site, thank God.
Once, when I went on a band trip in high school, I was rooming
with three other girls, as was standard practice. Every student was paired or
"buddied" up with another student, and then two sets of
"buddies" were assigned to each hotel room. My "buddy" ended
up being someone that I chose by default, as she was really the only other
person I knew, as I had just transferred to the school that year, and didn't
know many people.
She had a lot of annoying habits, including hogging the shower
because she just NEEDED to wash her hair after going swimming, or else the
chlorine would wreck it (as if the rest of us didn't have that same problem).
Her religion required her to wear pants or ankle-length skirts (can't show any
leg--don't know how a bathing suit was okay, but whatever), and yet, for some
reason, once in our room, she was comfortable with going topless to put lotion
on herself. Okay, we were all girls in the room, but still, there are limits,
and I really don't like the idea of someone else going topless in front of me.
She would stick her toiletries right in the way of the bathroom door hinge, so
that opening or closing the door often became impossible. Repeated requests for
her to please put her lotions, shower gels, etc on the counter or in the
bathroom where they belonged were ignored.
The kicker, though, was that she had her period, and when we
decided to go for a swim, she changed her pad, and left the used one on the bed!
And not even on her bed, but on one of the roommate's beds! When we confronted
her about it, she said, "Well that's what maids are for!" Uhhh...no.
Maids are for emptying the trash and vacuuming the floor, not dealing with your
nasty dirty USED sanitary napkins, not unless they're already in the garbage
can! It was just so gross! And she wondered why, on the next band trip, I
declined to be her "buddy".
My son met a girl on the Internet (ugh). She was from Iowa,
rather unstable background and we are in DC with my son of 28 a college
graduate, had his own home and a very good job. We are a military family, so he
grew up with manners.
This girl had issues and decided his mother was competition.
When she came to town to visit the first time my son purchased tickets to a
concert. We met them at a steak house for dinner prior to the concert and sat in
a booth. The girlfriend sat directly across from me, but refused to look at me
through out the entire dinner. When I tried to chat with her she refused to
acknowledge me or speak to me, she just looked the other direction. This left my
husband and son confused and a bit dumb founded. It gets worse...
During the concert my husband and son left at intermission. I
tried to make light chat with her as etiquette dictates...she turned in her seat
and put her back to me. It gets worse...
On her next visit my son and "the girlfriend" drove
to our weekend home for the day to visit us. Horror of horrors, we got snowed in
for three days. During the entire time she refused to look at me, turned her
back on me even when we were all sitting in the living room, and when we were
eating she refused to look at me or respond to casual chat. Once while my son
was in the kitchen and my husband upstairs, I found the two of us once again
alone, I sat on the sofa with her and tried to engage her in conversation about
her chosen profession (she was studying to be an elementary teacher, yipes!),
she turned her back on me. I kept chatting away trying to be polite and a good
host (interpret - a saint). She refused to talk to me. My son came in from the
kitchen and asked who I was talking to...not realizing who until he got fully
into the room and saw her with her back to me. I finally lost it (and my
sainthood) and said, "I guess I'm talking to a f_@_#$ing brick wall"
and got up and went upstairs to our bedroom.
Just so you know it was not just my imagination, neighbors
stopped by during that weekend to visit, not knowing the situation...and all
commented later on her rudeness.
After that weekend, my husband asked our son to not bring her
back again explaining that our son had his life to live as he chose and that he
would not choose a grown son and a rude girlfriend over the rest of his life
with his wife. After that my son came alone. After a two year relationship from
hell…they broke up and my son now sees it as it was.
10 years later I am still wrestling with who had worse
manners. Her for being a b_ _ _ ch, or me for cursing about it (and losing my
I was a new immigrant from the Middle East, arriving in Canada
for the first time. I had no family there. Fortunately (or so I thought) an old
friend of my mother's lived in Toronto. We'll call her Melly. I had been in
touch with her off and on for the past few years, so I'd asked her if I could
stay with her for a little while until I found an apartment. She said that would
be all right - she had a townhouse and plenty of room - provided I obeyed her
rules. Here are some of those rules.
1. No touching the walls.
2. No spilling a drop of anything, even water, on the kitchen counters or
3. No using the toaster when Melly isn't at home, in case I burned the house
4. No ironing clothes, because that consumes electricity.
5. No flushing feminine protection down the toilet. This rule was repeated to me
three times. We do have flushing toilets in the Middle East, and I knew what not
to put down them.
Since it was Melly's house and I was her guest, I obeyed all
the rules and said nothing, but I seemed to keep making mistakes. For instance,
while I was in the shower, I put a bottle of shampoo on the edge of the bathtub.
The bottle fell off into the bathtub with a little thump. Next thing I know,
Melly was at the bathroom door. "What happened?" she said. "I
just dropped a bottle of shampoo," I said. "Oh, my god," she
said, as if I'd cracked the bathtub in two.
On the first day that I arrived in Toronto, I reached her
house late at night, exhausted from running to catch planes (thanks to problems
with a flight). The next day, she insisted that I go to the Service Canada center
and get all my paperwork sorted out, so I did, but since it was a thirty-minute
walk to the place, I was tired. I went to the room she'd given me and had a nap,
for which she called me a "weakling". By the time I'd lived with her a
week, I was quiet and cowed. Luckily I found an apartment through one of Melly's
friends and ordered furniture for it. Melly wanted me to move in there even
before the mattress and bed frame were delivered from the furniture store; where
I was supposed to sleep is anyone's guess. I'd made an acquaintance in Toronto,
so I asked him to help me move the mattress, so I'd have somewhere to sleep.
Melly was furious when she found out. "If you have so
many friends here, why didn't you go and stay with them?" she said.
"Why should I put up with this? This is my bloody house! You think just
because you have an education, you can behave like this? What kind of a woman
are you?" In other words, she threw me out of her house when I had been in
Canada for exactly nine days. Also, it was eight p.m. at the time. Feeling
shell-shocked, I packed the only bag I could carry and took the subway to the
new apartment, then returned the next day with my friend to take the rest of my
things. Melly didn't even allow me into what my friend and I called "the
Bates Motel"; we stood on the porch while she handed me my stuff.
The happy ending is that my new landlady is a wonderful, kind
and decent person who treats me like one of the family. Melly is ancient
history, and I hope no other unsuspecting people fall into her clutches.
I'm really not sure who was in the wrong here, myself or my
host. I went to college with Alicia and we became good friends.
After graduation, I moved to California and she remained in Connecticut, near
the school we attended. We kept in touch on a regular basis, calling each other
about once a week or so. She even visited me twice and we had a great
About a year after her last visit, I had was given a career
opportunity back in Connecticut. I called Alicia to tell her I'd be in the area
in about two months and I'd love to stop by and see her. She immediately asked
where I'd be staying and I answered that I wasn't really sure, probably in a
hotel nearby. She asked why I didn't want to stay at her apartment and I replied
that with business (it was a company affiliated with mine, so I'd be attending
meetings, along with interviews for a good portion of the trip) I wouldn't be
around very often and didn't want to be a bad houseguest. She insisted that
I stay with her, that it didn't matter how much I was with her, she just didn't
want me staying in a hotel when her home was right there and she had an
extra room. I agreed.
I arrived two months later, rented a car and drove the hour to
Alicia's apartment. She seemed ecstatic to see me and we spent the afternoon
making dinner, as she invited some old college friends over who were still
living in the area, including Carly and Grace. We spent the night reminiscing
and overall, had a wonderful time. I went to bed rather early, around 11 PM,
because I had a meeting at 8 am the next morning. Carly, Grace and the
others were there, talking. I said goodnight and that I hoped I'd be able
to see them before I left in two weeks. For the next week or so, I
had business plans nearly every day, usually for a good portion of the day. I
made every effort I could to see Alicia. We cooked dinner together often, and I
chipped in for groceries. We went out over the weekend to dinner and a bar and
had a great time. The Monday of the second week, however, Alicia
became rather cold and ignored my efforts to see her later in the
One night, we had made plans to see a movie, and instead she
went out with Grace and Carly. Whatever, she obviously has the right to. But no
call, no note, no apology for simply ditching me. I figured, it was one night,
she forgot. Everything hit the fan, though, that Saturday. I was to
leave Sunday and I was in her guest room, packing. She comes stomping into the
room, demanding to know why I would ASK to stay at her house if I was just going
to ignore her the whole time. I was baffled and I told her so much. She said
that she would have never let me stay if she knew I was just using her for
"free room and board". Now I admit, although I made as much time for
her as I could, the large majority of my trip was made up of business. But I was
confused as to why she was yelling. Didn't I tell her this in the beginning? She
continued screaming, saying my business meetings were FAKE (of all things) and
that I was really going out with old friends all of the time and I was just
using her. I really didn't understand. Then she started yelling that Carly and
Grace thought I was a total bitch for not going out of my way to see them. I
tried! The only non-business outing I made without Alicia was when I went to
visit my aunt, who lived about an hour away. And she knew this.
She demanded money from me ($500) for letting me stay there. I
wrote her a $100 dollar check and said that I believed that covered what I
hadn't already covered. (Remember, I was helping pay for groceries and I
normally treated when we went out, out of gratitude for letting me stay. Not
only that, but I was INVITED.) She and I no longer speak. I also
decided to keep my job back in Cali. But I wasn't sure who was in
the wrong here. I admit I wasn't the best of houseguests, coming and going as I
needed to, but I truly tried. I could understand her anger if I hadn't told her
this is what I would be doing, but she knew, and she agreed. In fact, demanded I
stay with her. I feel slightly guilty, but I think I'm right here.
My grandmother and mother have always given etiquette a great
deal of importance. Proper table manners, proper introductions... these
were hammered into my brain from a very young age.
Kimberley C. (a co-worker of mine) visited my home one
Saturday afternoon. I was in the kitchen cooking, and my mother, who was
also visiting, was seated at the kitchen counter, thumbing through a
catalog. Thinking it would be funny, Kimberley strained
herself and deliberately passed gas (loudly) right in front of my mother, who
was horrified. I was ashamed to have invited this person into my home, and
I could tell by the look on my mother's face that she was offended.
Kimberley, however, stood there giggling. My mother made some inane
excuse, picked up her pocketbook, and promptly left my home. I was
humiliated and speechless.
Another story involving Kimberley is even worse (I don't know
why I continue to associate with this woman). involves being humiliated by
her in public. I have a BFA Theater, and was directing a play at a local
playhouse. I arranged to get Kimberley a complimentary ticket to attend
the show, hoping that a little culture would "rub off" on her.
At intermission, I invited Kimberley backstage to meet the cast and crew in the
green room. I got her a cup of coffee and excused myself to use the ladies
room. When the stage manager came backstage looking for me, Kimberley
loudly announced (in front of my entire cast and crew) that, "She's in the
bathroom taking a s***". I have not invited her to another show, and
have gradually been distancing myself from her ever since. I should
also mention that Kimberley is 35 years old, married, and the mother of a four
year old boy who is rapidly developing the same, appalling behaviors as his dear
mother. Lovely behavior in a woman her age, don't you think?
This is a segment from the sordid stories of Crazy Casey.
Let me start off by explaining that she was the college suitemate of a good
friend of mine who is a part of a small group of friends who all hang out
together. Being our friends roommate she would often get involved with our
group as well. Periodically we would all travel out of town on
“mini-trips” to new locations. Usually we would stay at a cheap hotel
and split the bill.
On this particular trip we were heading close to Casey’s
parents home so Casey piped up that we could save some money and stay at her
parents. Being college students with limited money
we agreed that this would be a great idea so long as her parents were okay with
us being there. She said her parents were okay with us and so we set off.
Had her dorm room been any indication we should have known
better and booked a hotel room. First of all Casey’s house was pure
squalor. The kitchen had dirty dishes everywhere and between 8-10 full
bags of garbage sitting on the floor. No one seemed to care that they were
there; no one seemed to want to take them to the curb. The place smelled
like they had been sitting there for months. The whole house was covered
in dirt and grime. Not just the dust that settles in most peoples home,
but a greasy dirt that gets into your skin if you touch anything.
Every room was packed to the gills with junk and debris. I would guess her
parents were hoarders (who, by the way, grunted a hello and then disappeared for
the rest of the time).
To top it all off we were to stay in Casey’s room which was
equally a mess, had dead spiders and insects in old webs among the litter, and
had a large dirty cage with two big iguanas living in it. Mind you, I have
nothing against reptiles. In fact I quite like them, but these poor
creatures were living in a very disgusting environment within a cage that must
not have been cleaned in ages! We had to smell them all night long and
hear them rustling about right next to the bed. None of us slept very
We couldn’t get out of the house soon enough the next day!
Crazy Casey was pleased as punch to have “shown off” her parent’s house
and all we could do was thank her for the hospitality and quietly say to
ourselves “never again”!
She asked if they could bring their daughter for a birthday
party…the child was turning 1. She wanted her daughter to have a
birthday party with my young daughters. They would be spending the night.
I bought the cake and all the trimmings….and gifts.
They arrived with tubs of photos. They insisted my
husband and I view them. Many were photos of nude mom in a bathtub.
So we had the party…she didn’t want my children in any of
the photos she was taking………in fact she didn’t want my children to be
close to her daughter. After “the party” she showed us a picture of
her daughter with a larger gift…….given weeks before. This wasn’t
the child’s birthday……It wasn’t even the 2nd party!!!!
To top things off…when mom heard from her husband that we
had a whirlpool bath she said to me, “I know where I am taking a bath
tonight…and you can take my picture.” I went to bed.
My sister M and I are friends with a girl, K, whose 29th
birthday was on Boxing Day. She invited us over on the day for drinks in the
wading pool, and we both accepted.
On Boxing Day morning, prior to leaving for K's house, I
phoned and asked if we should have lunch before we came. K assured us that there
was plenty of food left over from Christmas Day, and she would be glad to have
us help her finish it all off.
When we arrived, she had laid out several different dishes and
encouraged us to "dig in". My sister has a healthy appetite, and we
were both starving as we'd missed breakfast. As such, we had a good-sized plate
each. While we were eating, K's mother (who does not live with her) arrived, and
began to mock my sister about the amount of food she was eating. My sister felt
very uncomfortable, and did not finish her plate (which was really not a huge
plate at all).
We enjoyed the afternoon despite this. Several days later, K
called me up and laughingly told me that her mother had gone on and on about how
she'd never seen a girl eat so much as my sister did, and that she was surprised
M wasn't the size of a house. K had called my sister before she called me to let
her know what her mother had said as well.
I find this to be unbelievably rude. We had offered to eat
before coming, and were assured that there was plenty of food. This food was
laid out for us, and we were encouraged to eat as much as we could. For her
mother to then mock us for eating too much (and honestly, I reiterate that my
sister did NOT eat a huge amount) in front of us and then talk to her daughter
about it afterwards is very impolite, especially as it wasn't her house or food,
and really none of her business in general. For K to call us up afterwards to
repeat her mother's words is even more rude.
We are still good friends with K, but we don't visit her house
if her mother will be there. We don't feel welcome.
It had started rather nice: I'd met Jill and Jane on a blog
site because of having some interests in common. We'd chatted a few times and it
had always been nice and funny. Both were – so it seemed to me at this time
– cultivated, well-mannered, nice and interesting people and so one day as
Jill told me, she'd spend her next summer in Europe, I invited her to be me
guest for a week or two. The next day I learned Jane was to spend her summer in
Europe too and even in my country, so I invited her too. The three of us looked
very much forward to our time together and so, one nice Saturday, after a lot of
shopping, cleaning up my flat (well, okay, I have to admit: I'm not a super
housekeeper, but both girls knew that beforehand) and my car, I drove two hours
to the town where I was supposed to pick Jill and Jane up at the main station.
Jane was already there as I came and though we'd never seen
each other before, we found each other and started to talk. Only after 10
minutes I knew already that I was in a spot of trouble – she didn't look back
in my eyes, didn't return my smiles and didn't seem very interested in what I
said. On the other hand I wasn't much interested in what she told because she
mostly talked about the friends – people I didn't know – she'd just left and
how often and how much beer she'd drunken with them.
Now, I'm someone who rarely ever drinks alcohol beverages and
never beer. However, I'd known already that she likes the stuff, therefore I'd
bought a few cans for her which were in my car.
Approximately half one hour after Jane, Jill arrived and
though we hadn't known each other beforehand either, we got along like a house
on fire. The three of us went to my car and started the tour to my home town –
with Jane grabbing the first can of beer and drinking it. Inspired by the beer,
she turned around to Jill who was sitting behind me, showing me her back and
talking to Jill in a rather broad, American accent. Now, English isn't my native
language. I learned it while living in England and therefore I'm not too good
with American accents. So I told Jane – very politely – that I wouldn't
understand her as long as she speaks so quickly. Jill didn't mind much. She
loudly and quickly chattered away while drinking her second beer and ignoring
Jill's attempt to include me into the conversation.
I felt rather irritated, but didn't show it. Instead I asked
– around half one hour later – for a second time if she couldn't speak a bit
slower. This time I got an answer: "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking
After two hours we arrived at my home town. Jill, obviously
feeling embarrassed by the behavior of her fellow compatriot, suggested having
dinner at a restaurant and said: "Jane, what do you think? Shouldn't we
invite our host for her driving?" Jane only grumbled something because she
was busy with searching for the third can of beer – and I needed to tell her,
that bringing a can of beer into a restaurant really is not done in my country
(actually I don't think it's done in USA either). Besides she could order beer
there. So she did and besides she had a plate of food. Only she didn't like the
food much. While Jill and I enjoyed ours, Jane was telling us (or better said:
Jill. She obviously thought it too tiresome to speak clear and slower to me)
that the Chinese restaurant she'd eaten in the day before with her friends was
so much better. Afterwards she didn't mind Jill and me paying the bill (Jill is
a student too and living on a rather modest budget and I'm a free lancing writer
what means I'm not rolling in the stuff either).
After the dinner we went home – and there Jane got rather
irritated because we ran out of beer. I hadn't counted on her drinking four cans
at one evening. So I went down to my parents' flat (they live in the same house
as I) and lent two bottles from my father. While drinking them, Jane asked if
she could use my computer for checking her mail. Obviously she got something
interesting because the next two hours she sat in front of my computer, reading
mails and surfing the net while Jill and I sat on the sofa chatting. Actually
I'd have liked to check my mail too – but I didn't get a chance because Jane
was occupying my computer.
The next morning it became even better. First we went to a
shopping mall. While Jill and I looked for what we'd like to eat the next days,
Jane was only interested in beer and put around 20 bottles of different brands
in our shopping car, telling cheerfully that she'd like to try the local brands
for deciding which she'd like to drink for the rest of her time at my place. Of
course, she let it to me to pay for her beer and well – first I didn't mind
too much. I was the host, so I actually was prepared to pay for her drinks.
The next place we went to were the stables where my horse
lives. Both of the girls knew before their visit that I'm the proud owner of a
wonderful horse and that said horse needs to be trained and looked after every
morning. And both had told me they'd love horses and look forward to meet my
Jill, sweet girl that she is, was delighted by my black boy.
Jane – well, let's give her credit: I think she was a bit afraid of him (he's
really big and strong). So she kept distance to him – and I understood and
even tried to introduce her to our stable maid who's an American too and besides
someone who's interested in music too (Jane is a student of music science, Jill
is an opera singer, I was once a professional bassoonist and our stable maid
hasn't only studied music herself, but is married to a conductor at the opera in
my town). Jane wasn't much interested. Instead she wanted to have a beer – at
11:00 h in the morning! And of course she couldn't have one from the car because
they were too warm. So I gave her a few coins for getting one from the cooled
automat in our stables. At least the beer kept her occupied for the next 15
minutes, then she started to show that she was bored and asked how long we'd
need with the horse (I'd told her before that I need at least around one hour
with him every day!) and what we'd do in the afternoon. She wanted to do some
sight seeing which was fine with Jill and me – I'd planned already a trip to
the beautiful monastery where I went to school once.
We went there and got our next lesson in rudeness by Jane.
Although she knew that I really love the place she ran around, looking very
critical and always telling Jane and me that the churches and monasteries she'd
seen before she came to my place had been more interesting and more beautiful
(well, the one I was showing them is part of the UNESCO's World Cultural
Heritage Program, but this obviously wasn't good enough for Jane).
At home again I was cooking – with Jill's help while Jane
was once more occupying my computer. At dinner then … okay, okay, I know:
table manners are different in our countries. Yet I didn't have a problem with
Jill's while Jane … I really couldn't look at her. She hung over her plate and
shoved the food in her mouth as if she were afraid of not getting enough (it was
plenty!), all the time speaking with her mouth full and telling us what great
places and churches and monasteries she'd seen before she came to my place and
she blabbered about their history and such stuff. Only in a few cases she was
wrong and once I tried – politely – to correct her. She ignored me once more
and I thought: "Okay – how could I believe I'd know something about the
history of my country and about a church I've known since I was a small child?
Jane knows better!"
After dinner it became even better: Jane was once more
occupying my computer and I had to tell her three times that I would need to
look at my mail too (I'm self-employed and it was a business day I'd taken off
for my guests!). Then she stood behind me while I did so, waiting impatiently
until she could go back to her stuff.
While I was at my computer Jill had looked at my CD collection
and found something she wanted to listen to. I sat with her on the sofa, the CD
was running, Jane was at the computer (drinking beer of course). Jill and I
liked what we heard, but Jane didn't. She told us clearly that the singer we
were listening to couldn't sing her way out of a wet paper bag, that the
conductor was doing it all wrong and the entire production would have been
"sh**". I didn't say much to that – I was too busy with rolling my
eyes, yet Jill was stupid enough to defend the singer – only for getting told
that she wouldn't have a glue (remember the above? Jill's an opera singer
The next day, the same game: Jane became impatient in the
stables and complained about the manners of my horse (he didn't do anything to
her, but he'd become a bit nervous because she was so impatient around him) and
that she wouldn't want to hang around "all day" in the stables, but
rather do some sight seeing again. Besides she needed another beer or better two
of them while waiting for Jill and me becoming ready with the horse. And on our
way to our next destination – a wonderful old city with three great old
churches (one of them part of the UNESCO WCH program too) – we needed to stop
at a service station for getting dear Jane more beer (don't ask who was paying.
It wasn't Jane). The churches then – well, we already didn't wonder anymore as
we learned from Jane that they weren't as great as the
churches she'd seen before. We even didn't wonder about the ice cream parlor I
invited her in not being so great like the one she'd been with her other.
In the evening of this day my patience was running so thin I
really would have liked to struggle her – and I'm sure Jill would have kept my
coat in the meantime. Yet we got lucky: Jane told us she'd decided to go back to
her other friends earlier and if I couldn't help her to get a trip back? Happily
I ran to my computer, found a ride for her and no, I really didn't mind that I
had to do some international phone calls for fixing it. I was already so fed up
with her I would have paid a train ticket for getting rid off her.
The next morning then Jill and I drove Jane to the place where
she had to meet the guy who gave her the ride. Jane jumped out of my car and
into the one of the guy, called "bye" and off she went – without
even saying "thanks". Actually Jill and I didn't mind much – we were
so glad to be without her, we felt like celebrating.
Even now, one year afterwards, I didn't get a "thank
you" from Jane. In the first months after her visit she didn't talk to me
on our blog site, now she's started again without ever mentioning her visit.
Probably she thinks I'm a bad host because I didn't have enough beer in the
house or because I didn't spend all the time she was around with sight seeing.
I just got an invitation to home decor party. At
the bottom of the invitation read the following: "Snacks
welcome." Gosh, you mean I get to travel to the host's home,
buy some cheap looking crap, pay the exorbitant shipping/handling fee, 8
percent tax on said crap, and I GET TO BRING MY OWN REFRESHMENTS?
Sign me up to host one of these babies. With all of the
money I could save by asking my guests to supply their own Little Smokies and
Cheez Whiz, I could buy all sorts of wicker butterflies and plastic picture
I invited about 30 of my closest co-workers to a restaurant to
celebrate my birthday. Since I invited, I paid the bill. Someone - I'm not
sure who - decided to invite 2 friends of their own. I didn't want to make a
scene, since I knew these 2 people as well (but not well enough to pay for their
breakfast). I will never invite coworkers to breakfast again!!!
Page Last Updated September 18, 2008