A Stranger

I am having a strange problem. Friday, I saw someone at the mall before I was to go grocery shopping. She acts like she has known me for years. I’ll call her “K”. I asked her where I know her from and she said, “Here,” meaning Barnes & Noble. She seems vaguely familiar. But she acts like we’ve been best buds forever.

I assumed I would remember her after a day or so. Nope.  I am now convinced she has confused me with someone else. Part of the problem is that it is not uncommon for people to remember me and for me to not recognize them at all. I am, apparently, memorable.I was voted most memorable in my high school class. But I am also a touch Asperger-y. Remembering faces and names is not my strong suit. Part of why I don’t gossip is that I cannot be sure of whom I am talking to. With an emphasis in HR, a husband in AA, and having volunteered at a battered-women’s shelter, I have been trained out of going up to people in some super-friendly way and saying hi. I willingly look unfriendly as opposed to risking people’s anonymity.

And she has started making demands upon me. She wanted me to call her back yesterday and I didn’t. She wants me to come to her place on Wednesday. Not gonna happen. She invited me to her wedding! Are you kidding me?

I am unsure how to handle things. I don’t want to upset her, but I feel like I have led her on. I did give her my cell phone number Friday, which she called Sunday. She does seem vaguely familiar. The real problem is that I already don’t have sufficient time and energy for the few friends I have. One of my best friends is having a heart valve replaced this month and she will truly need my help. This is the friend I plan on seeing Wednesday, not K. Do I just not answer the phone when I see her number come up? Do I try to explain things to her?

She seems like a nice enough person, but a little intellectually challenged. More street smart than book smart. And I was too weak to not give her my phone number when she asked.

I will confess to an evil thought. She told me she was engaged. I asked her for how long. She said eight years. I asked her when the wedding was and she said 2020. I am tempted to tell her that she is not getting married and that the guy is just stringing her along because it might get the focus off of me. But I don’t want to open up a can of worms that would unnecessarily throw her life into turmoil and create chaos for everyone that must deal with her.

What’s weird is that she is only three or four years younger than I am. Her hair is almost as gray as mine. I feel like we are the same age, but she is 25 years old emotionally and I am 80 years old emotionally. She is engaged. I have been married pushing thirty years and am making end-of-life choices for an ailing husband.

I just don’t like having a total stranger make demands on my time and energy. Over the years, I have had many people that wanted to be associated with me because they see me as smart. I was always wanted on quiz bowl teams in high school. People that wouldn’t give me the time of day the rest of the school year suddenly claimed a level of friendship that only existed in their minds and not in reality. I don’t want to be this girl’s “smart friend.” I am tired of being used. People want to claim my friendship as an affirmation of their choices. “See! Cindy agrees with me and she’s smart!” Church people wanted my approval, even when they had been christians for fifty years and I had only been baptized a couple years earlier. It is quite icky and repulsive. I have had my lifetime fill of it.

I attracted this girl into my life for some reason. If there is a lesson here for me, I want to learn it quickly and not have to repeat this all over again at a later date. I want to let her down easy, but she doesn’t seem to be taking hints, such as my lack of enthusiasm for seeing her Wednesday. My hesitance doesn’t seem to register with her. Subtlety is not going to work with her. She acts like we are long lost friends. And I have zero memory of her. I have to do or not do something that will get through to her.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

2 responses to “A Stranger”

  1. Ninasusan says :

    You may just have to jump through the Fire and put it out there….put out what you just said. Weird! She’s not pulling a scam is she?

  2. cdhoagpurple says :

    I’m too cynical for a scam. I don’t give out personal information and I would intentionally make her uncomfortable if I thought she wanted anything slightly inappropriate. That can be fun.

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