That’s what I’m talking about! Heck yes. I went back to the gym this evening and burned 300 more calories at the treadmill. I got a second wind! Who knew that would happen? Go me!
It’s been a great day. I got an email stating that there would be no contest results until this time (midnight) tomorrow. That was a bitter disappointment, but it hardly compares to getting bad news in that regard.
Right after that disappointment, a perfectly timed distraction arose: Sonya sent me a photo of the health issue she’s been dealing with, and I freaked out. I was like, Sonya! You need to see a doctor posthaste. Posthaste! But she was off somewhere else on social media (talking to her mom, I later found out) and not reading my messages. So I was like, Sonya! Don’t make me phone you! I’ll call you on the phone! Just watch me! So help me God, I’ll do it! You need medical care! Posthaste, Sonya! Posthaste! Because when I get really worried, I start speaking Victorian.
Well, she continued ignoring me, so I went downstairs and dialed her number. I called three times, and there was no answer. No voicemail message, either. Was I dialing correctly for an international call? No clue, but she’s answered a few times before.
So I went back upstairs to my computer, and she must’ve known I’d been calling, because she finally showed up. She said she’d been talking to her mom and that it was all fine. She had to spend a long time convincing me that she didn’t have a horrific illness. She’d been telling me about it recently, but either she was downplaying it or (more likely) I downplayed it inside my head, which I tend to do. Often, you have to hit me over the head with a problem (particulary if you’re being academic and non-emotional), or I’ll remain hopelessly dense. Or you can do what Sonya did today and draw me a picture. That also works.
So I was like, you’re sure you don’t have [horrible disease]?
And she said, both doctors told me it’s [common illness]. I just can’t get it treated! I think I’m allergic to the medicine.
I was relieved.
At any rate, by the time my nerves recovered, I’d quit caring about the contest results. Then, Sonya and I goofed off for a while before she went to bed. (She lives six hours in the future.) I told her about my positive book review, and she said that I’m the only author she knows who writes good campy smut. That made my day! 😀 Must be a niche market for it.
My friendship with Sonya is so easy and natural. At first, it was more formal as we were getting to know each other. But it was also hindered by the mutual acquaintance who introduced us. Mart was a devilish man who was feeding both of us misinformation about each other. We saw through it, but it still made things… I don’t know… formal and somewhat forced for a while. Like, he told me Sonya was a sex addict with whom he felt afraid to be alone. Now, if I can just say how outrageous and idiotic those implied accusations are, there aren’t even words for it. He told her equally idiotic stuff about me. And yet, he’s the reason we’re friends.
I can’t help but appreciate the guy. He must’ve been at war with himself. He did a lot of scuzzy things to me that were very upsetting, but at the same time, he kept encouraging me to have a relationship with Sonya. Go figure. Outwardly, he kept causing problems for me, but inwardly, he led me to my best friend. You can’t make this stuff up.
Although I’ve met Sonya in Prague twice, I never met Mart. He was living in Prague when I met Sonya (online), and she knew him from her in-person writers’ groups, but he moved back to Great Britain before I visited Prague. He was devilish. Well, he was a Scorpio. (I sincerely apologize to every other Scorpio out there who I’ve just offended.)
Anyway, then I watched my dad’s gameshows with him and then went to the gym.
Dear Annie: We occasionally will have friends over for dinner, and there have been times when they simply won’t leave. I’m not talking about an hour or two; many times it’s three or four hours after dinner!
We love our friends and are happy that they feel very comfortable with us to stay that long. My wife and I are both retired, so it’s not like we have to be up early the next morning, but we do have other things we’d like to get done before turning in. I try to drop subtle hints but to no avail.
What’s a polite way to wrap up a delightful evening that shouldn’t be more than a few hours? — To Leave or Not To Leave
Dear To Leave or Not To Leave: It sounds like your subtle hints are not working, so it’s time to start from the beginning. Next time you invite your friends over, instead of just putting the start time, add an end time. That way, everything is clear before the dinner even begins. Another tip could be to have a goody bag with a cookie in it. You could drop a subtle hint like, “Here, don’t forget your cookie on your way out.” Honesty coupled with kindness is always appreciated. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Oh no. [Shaking my head.] Well… no. Still, no.
“Here, don’t forget your cookie on your way out.”
That sounds about as rude as saying, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out,” but with a cookie. Admittedly, the cookie adds panache.
I’d be more direct, but not in a mean way. I’d yawn, stretch, and say, “This party has worn me out, but in a good way. I’ll sleep like a log tonight and have pleasant dreams. We’ve really enjoyed your visit.” Then I’d shoot my (fictitious) spouse a knowing glance so that he could add, “Yeah, it’s been great. We should do this more often.” And then we’d rise to our feet in one fluid, coordinated movement.
When I’m the invitee, I look for such hints. However, the letter writer doesn’t really specify how obvious their hints have been, which makes it hard to know what they’ve already tried. I do like Annie Lane’s advice about giving times upfront. “Care to join us for dinner from, shall we say, 6:00 to 8:00 this Friday?”
Hmm… Ask Amy’s advice is usually much better. Let’s see here…
Dear Amy: A very dear friend of mine is dating a man who is racist, phony, full of himself, selfish and has publicly humiliated her in the past.
He nearly killed a few of his and her family members by being reckless with covid safety, too. These family members narrowly escaped, so now he thinks he’s in the clear and continues to be reckless. Needless to say, I can’t stand him.
My friend recently asked me in an email conversation if I like him.
This is a simple enough question, seemingly, but I have avoided answering since I’m not sure what to say.
I don’t want to lie, but I also know that honesty could cause a serious rift.
How should I respond to suit both my conscience and our friendship?
— On the Fence
On the Fence: A judicious answer is called for. We do not live in judicious times, however, so let me try to provide a possible script: “I assume it’s obvious that I don’t agree with ‘Sean’ on some pretty basic matters. Most important to me, however, is how he treats you. In my opinion, he doesn’t always give you the respect I know you deserve, and I sometimes find that upsetting. The most important thing for you to know, however, is that I’ve got your back, no matter what.” (c) Ask Amy
Good script! Interesting question.
Since I think it’s okay to lie, I wouldn’t be morally opposed to stretching the truth here. There are so many options! Lie outright, trash-talk him outright, and anything in between or not covered there.
There’s an episode of Frasier where Niles asks Frasier if he (Frasier) thinks that Niles and Maris (Niles’ horrible wife) are meant to be together.
It seems like a no-brainer to me (Niles should’ve run screaming long before he did), but Frasier spends the whole episode pondering his answer. He philosophizes and muses over things like destiny, fate, and so on. He takes it very seriously because he thinks Niles really looks up to him. In the end of the episode, we find out that Niles is going to do whatever he wants to do (read: keep going back to Maris) regardless of Frasier’s advice. (Frasier ultimately concludes that they don’t belong together.)
But if I were in this situation of not knowing how much honesty my friend could handle, I’d feel her out. “He’s not perfect, so can you be more specific? This will help me give a more nuanced answer,” or some such. If she replied, “His haircut. Isn’t it dreamy?” then I’d agree that it’s dreamy, and I’d throw in some mild criticism of his choice of shoes to justify my earlier statement that he’s not perfect. If she replied, “What do you think of his outlook?” then I’d share a few instances that concerned me.
But that’s my advice for the hesitant letter writer. If it were me, I’d be very honest in this situation. As outspoken as I am, I think we all know I’d see the question as a writing prompt that I’d go to town with. Ode to the phony racist, a poem by Meg in haiku.
Well, this has been fun! It’s been a great day all around.