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There is a woman who comes into my place of work who has been calling me Jen for about four months now. The first time she said it, she was walking quickly past my desk and threw out a pert “Hi Jen!”
I responded to the “Hi” part before I realized that she had called me Jen. From then on, every time she came into the library, I would get either a “Hi Jen!” or a “Bye Jen!” I kept waiting for situations to present themselves that would straighten this out without me having to do anything about it. I thought the time that she saw both Jen and I sitting at the desk together would clue her in, but she actually acted as if she had never seen me before, let me answer her question, and then an hour later said “Bye Jen!” as she was leaving.
I’m just leaving this alone. The funny thing is, I don’t think she ever even talks to Jen, but I might be wrong.
There is a woman who lives along the route that I run every day. No matter how early or late it is when I run by, she will be on her porch, sitting in a plastic chair, wearing what looks like a nightgown, smoking. Occasionally, she has with her an oxygen tank, but she’s still smoking. I run outdoors year round unless the sidewalks are so clogged with snow that they’re unpassable, but she’s always out there, smoking. I wonder now if we’re friends just because we’ve seen each other so many times. I imagine that she either admires me or loathes me. Maybe she’s lonely and wishes I would stop and chat; maybe if I tried to stop and chat, she’d throw her lit cigarette at me.
I think I’m going to phase in a friendly smile and possibly a head nod, just to see what kind of a reaction I get.
There is a man who comes into my library and thinks that the two of us are best pals. I don’t know his name, but he knows mine and has asked me out. When I turned him down, he elected to keep me in “the friend zone” much to my dismay instead doing the thing where he awkwardly avoids eye contact or (even better) goes to a different library. He keeps me up-to-date with what’s going on with him, even as I try to appear incredibly busy; and often pauses for long stretches which I assume are times for me to ask questions about whatever he’s prattling on about at the moment.
I refuse to ask questions.
Unfortunately, he is not dissuaded by my lack of question asking, and carries the conversation all on his own.
I’ve now taken the approach where I am trying to convince him that I’m a terrible human being. This seemed like a logical next step after refusing to ask questions about his health or diabetes even when he would say things like “I’ve been having some health issues lately… was in Boston for a few days, that’s why you haven’t seen me.” I put this new plan into effect when he recently asked if I had big plans for the weekend.
“I’m running a 1/2 marathon on Saturday.”
He then launched into a description of physical feats that he’s engaged in–mostly 5ks, it’s important to stay fit (he’s at least 40 pounds overweight). Then he asked if I was doing it for some kind of charity.
“You mean, like am I raising money for cancer or something?” I asked.
“Oh absolutely not. No way. I just like running and getting medals.”
Then I waited, hoping that he would be incredibly disappointed in my lack of human decency, but he thought it was hilarious.
I need a new approach.