I try much too hard to be nice to strangers.
Example 1. I’m too sensitive when I upset someone; I feel guilty hours after I’ve done nothing wrong. I was on the El one day and apparently kept bumping into some girl, who turned to me and very Chandler Bing-ish asked me if I could be any ruder. I apologized profusely and sheepishly walked to the other side of the car feeling like an idiot. I tried to recover my good karma by asking everyone I saw for the rest of the night if I could buy them a shot of Rumplemintz. No one accepted my offer and I think it was the universe trying to tell me that I did nothing wrong and therefore didn’t have to make up for it. (And also probably that I should stop drinking Rumplmintz.) But really, not my fault. That girl shouldn’t have chosen to stand next to the tipsy girl on an almost empty train car. It was St. Patrick’s Day after all, what did she expect?
Example 2. Last week when I went to Taco Bell I was given the wrong order. I sat there for a couple minutes with the burrito in my hands wondering if I should just eat it instead of returning the food. I knew it would be delicious, everything there is, but it wasn’t what I had my heart set on. I finally decided to tell them they got my order wrong so I could get that chicken fiesta burrito I’d been craving. When I went to return the faulty burrito I apologized to them. It’s not my fault they messed up. It’s not really their fault either. Who really cares? It’s Taco Bell. But yet I apologized to them? What’s up with that? “I’m so sorry you have to make this thing for me that takes 45 seconds to throw together. I’m sorry.” And then after that, when I got the new food, it was still the wrong order, but I didn’t return it because I didn’t want to apologize again for them messing up. I ate the second wrong burrito, but I didn't enjoy it because the first wrong burrito was better.
Example 3. I need to learn to just tell boys I don’t want them to have my phone number instead of giving it out willy nilly and then screening my phone calls for weeks. I was trying to walk to the library on my lunch break when a Turkish man stopped me and asked if I was Polish. I said "No, I’m from Ohio, but my heritage is actually Dutch." I put my head phones in and tried walking away. He followed me and kept talking to me and tried to buy me coffee over and over. I kept trying to cross the street in the opposite direction of him but he walked me all the way to the library and then asked for my phone number. No, it didn't occur to me to make up that I have a boyfriend and it wouldn’t be right of me to give it out. No, it didn't occur to me to give him a fake phone number. That one wouldn't have worked anyway because he called me right away and insisted I pull out my phone so he could be sure it was correct. At least I had his number, so I knew not to answer.
It's been 36 hours since that fateful lunch break, and I’ve gotten five text messages and four phone calls from said Turkish man. I didn’t respond to any of these. It sure was nice for him to text me ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ and then call me 11 minutes later to tell me the same thing in a voicemail. Several hours later I get another text from him saying:
“Hey lindsey im at gamekeepers bar I want to buy u drinks and i can support u financially im rich so can u come here?”
I politely say I’m not interested.
“Why? I like u honey and im ready to pay ur bills and make u happy.”
So I say no thanks.
“Ummm ok i thought that u liked me too im disappointed.”
What part of me not responding to him made him think I liked him? And what did he see in me that made him think that I wanted someone to pay my bills? I can support myself, thank you very much.
But, the point of all this is that I should really learn to be more honest with strangers and not try to be super nice all the time and just say things so they’ll be happy. In the end, I’m going to end up talking about the person after the fact. Wouldn’t it be nicer in the long run if I'm up front? I’ll do things differently next time I meet a stranger on the way to the library. At least I don't have to worry about my Turkish suitor calling me again. Oh, wait. He just texted me.