The karma of a pessimist
Last week I came back from the hospital on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I still wasn't feeling well after surgery, but I just couldn't stay at the hotel at the hospital another day; I was going stir-crazy, and decided to come home. That decision was also aided by the fact that the weather was expected to take a nasty turn, and I wanted to drive while it was clear.
When I got back to the apartment, I had to get my stuff up to my apartment on the second floor. Since I couldn't carry much with the incisions in my chest, I thought it would take three trips up and down the stairs. I tried to do it quickly and quietly, because I'll guess that 50% of the time I come in and out of my apartment more than once, my neighbor across the hall comes out of her apartment. Sure enough, on my third trip up the stairs, as I was slowly dragging my heavy suitcase behind me, she was standing on the top landing.
I was actually glad she was on the top landing, because she's a very large woman, and if she had been coming down the stairs it would have been very difficult to pass her. The first -- and only -- thing she said was, "Doesn't this weather suck?!", to which I replied, "I'm just glad to be alive." I then walked into my apartment, and closed the door.
The thing you might need to understand is that every conversation with this woman all year has been the same. "Doesn't it suck living here?", "I hate blah-blah-blah", "Did you see what that stupid dog did?", "They don't maintain this apartment complex", etc. I admit, I referred to this apartment complex earlier this summer as The Slums, but since a lot of people have been evicted it has actually been quite nice. I know all my neighbors here, and I didn't know any in my last apartment complex.
As I've been watching a television series named In Treatment (a psychology drama) the last few nights, I've come to wonder what this woman was like as a child. Surely she couldn't have always been like this. I also wonder if she sees how she is at all. What sort of person begins every conversation with a negative statement?
I know all the neighbors treat her in a similar way to what I did. Everyone always makes an excuse, "Er, hi, I have to go", etc., when dealing with her, at best. As a result, I wonder if her attitude doesn't keep getting more and more extreme. (She knows nobody will talk to her so her statements become more extreme.)
Earlier this summer when she said she hated living here for the umpteenth time, I said, "Really, what a shame. I love living here. Why don't you move somewhere that will make you happy?" I tried that tact several times, found out she comes from Oregon, but in the end, IMHO, she's too lazy to move, she'd rather just complain. As a result, nobody will talk to her any more. (There is more to add her, but I don't want to create a problem for other people.)
The point of this article was going to be about "The karma of a pessimist." I got derailed because of my anger, and didn't really do this any justice, but I hope you can see that our utter avoidance of her is based on her attitude. I still regularly talk to my other neighbors, including one guy who rarely works, and another woman with a really terrific attitude who I could spend hours with, but this woman has isolated herself from everyone else. I know from experience that people who are very heavy can be a major turnoff to skinny people, but I think if this woman's attitude was the same as the woman with the terrific attitude, I don't think there would be a problem. It's all about attitude.
I guess there are two reasons this comes to mind tonight. One reason I can't share, because I don't want to involve other people, and a second reason: I've thought about having a Christmas party, and inviting all the neighbors I know, but then there's this woman, who would be a real drag on the party.
I don't have a strong ending here, other than to suggest that people pay attention to their own behavior. Do you say a lot of pessimistic things? Pay attention. Do you talk incessantly, and don't get the message when people say, "I better be going"? Pay attention. I don't suggest lying; if you're feeling blue, feel blue. We all do sometimes. But if you're always negative, you may have a real problem, and should get help.