by Daniel D’Addario
Some people in life are nice. Or they’re nice to me, and then really funny when they’re mean to others. They compliment me on my clothes (or pull me aside, ever so gently, to tell me when a certain item needs to be retired from rotation). Some people, other people, are famous, in that way people are sometimes-mention their name when you’re temping at an office, or around the Thanksgiving table and you’d get blank stares, but everyone that I care about impressing knows them. I die when I get a casual email from them-but seeing them around is even better!
But other people, people I once knew and loved, I have been forced to remove from my life-because real life made me hate them.
The real world-so uncomfortably, as I have discovered!-shows all too often how people are so funny and smart online but are then total jerks if you actually talk to them. I just go crazy sometimes with this real-world relationship stuff! It will be so much easier when people just use computers for everything. For now, I’m stuck with sometimes seeing these…. people, but I’m cutting them out as best I can.
Cutting people out of your real life isn’t as clean or perfect as pressing a button. I wish! For instance, there was, let’s call him “Jim Ponywatch,” the guy in my book group who was always clearing his throat in the most annoying way. It was so uncomfortable when I reached my breaking point and asked him to stop coming to our meetings, especially since he’d brought the Emmenthaler that month.
Also it was pretty uncomfortable when the rest of the group kicked me out instead-the new David Mitchell is pretty hard to read alone!-but it’s pretty thoughtful that “Jim” crosses the street when he sees me. So I don’t have to hear that raspy cough anymore.
Gosh, I hate to call him out in this passive aggressive way but I have to do it online, because I’ll never see him in person again!
You know what? Everyone is such an asshole! Why is everyone such an asshole? It makes things really difficult; life takes a lot of focus for me now. I signed up for a FreshDirect account I didn’t need to get away from the produce guy who I think leered at me that time.
And my former college roommate (and former friend, ha ha!) “Beth” just can’t stop calling me to talk as I’m getting ready to do something really important, so then I have to deal with that for an hour before I can move forward-or at least, I HAD to, until I decided to stop taking her calls. Doesn’t she understand I have a life outside talking to her?
And all those cousins who talk about how they’re not pregnant yet but they’re “having fun trying,” or people who check out back issues of People from the public library, and the last guy I slept with, who had a DVD of Full Metal Jacket on his bedside table and asked me if I wanted to watch it with him. I just have to keep my blinders up, all the time. Monsters, everywhere.
Then there was my brother, “Spike,” who’s constantly talking about things that are just so boring-his work, his cooking class. He’s innocuous over email and in chat but really, such a jerk in real life. So self-absorbed. Just because I work from home doesn’t make me less of a person, you know? To say nothing of the fact that he likes the Black Eyed Peas. I had to stop going to family events so I wouldn’t have to deal with his stream of vacuous nonsense.
But I think I’ve found a good replacement-this guy I met at the post office when he was getting The New Criterion out of a P.O. Box. We haven’t talked yet, but I bet he has a lot of good stuff to say. I bet he’s a good listener, too.