Monday, April 24, 2006

Help! I need advice...

Okay, so I might be over-reacting, but I’m more than a little irked at this moment.

Today, I’m eating lunch with…well…let’s just call her “Suzanne”. We are just, you know, chit-chatting away, mostly about nothing, when I happened to mention that I had read that my neighborhood has one of the lowest incidents of crime in all of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I had been waiting to bring up such a statistic. Suzanne is one of those people that moved way, way north of the city in an effort to “escape” crime-ridden Dallas. I’m not saying that Dallas is the safest city in the United States, but I believe that crime – whether we like it or not – happens everywhere. There are things you can do to make yourself less of a target, but let’s face it – if someone wants to get to you or your things – there is very little you can do to stop them.

Plus, I feel that you are putting yourself at a much, much bigger risk driving from Addison or Frisco to downtown Dallas on I-75 everyday, but that might just be me.

I live in an historic neighborhood in East Dallas. Yes, it is an up-and-coming neighborhood and yes, it is bordered by some…less up-and-coming…parts of town. It is, however, a good neighborhood. The neighborhood association hires off-duty police officers to patrol the streets, and it is one of those rare places where neighbors look after their neighbors. I love it, and – most importantly – I feel safe living there.

Suzanne, on the other hand, is always making snide comments about my neighborhood. She says things to me like, “Don’t you get scared walking your dogs around there?” and “If I lived where you live, I wouldn’t go out once the sun went down – it just wouldn’t be safe”. Most of the time, I try to ignore her commentary. It just isn’t worth arguing with her. Plus, I’m the only one who has to feel comfortable living there, not her. She has her feelings and I have mine.

However, today I feel that she crossed the line.

I have been racking my brain for the last two and a half hours in a vein effort to figure out a way – any way – that what she said was NOT intended to insult me. Suzanne is a nice person, but she often says things without thinking first. For instance, she is trying to lose weight. She’s not fat, mind you, but she is the first person to admit that she’s put on a few pounds here and there since she got married. Several weeks ago, she turned to me and asked, “So, do you want all the pants that I’ve had to buy in bigger sizes? Once I lose the weight I’ve gained, they will all be way too big for me, but they will probably fit you fine.” Again, my first instinct was to get mad, because I felt that I had just been insulted. Then, I thought about it and realized that she didn’t mean to offend me in any way – she really believed that she was doing me a favor by offering me her “fat pants”. Granted, she could have phrased it a little better (and maybe could have made the offer in private as opposed to in front of others), but I thought that her heart was in the right place, never-the-less. So I moved on.

But today I have not been so lucky. I can think of no other way that I can interpret what she said (and, believe me, I’ve tried). When I mentioned that crime statistics for my neighborhood were some of the lowest in the Metroplex, Suzanne quickly responded with:

“I bet it is only because there isn’t anything over in your neighborhood worth stealing in the first place.”

I put the emphasis on the word “worth” because that is the word she emphasized at the time.

Luckily, I was too shocked by her comment to say anything back, and our conversation continued on like normal. Problem is that I’m hurt, and I’m worried that my overall patience for and with Suzanne is quickly waning.

Can anyone think of a way I can interpret what she said that isn’t insulting? I know that she probably didn't mean to imply that my neighborhood, my house and my possessions aren't worth anything. Problem is that I can't think of how she meant anything different, either.

Any thoughts?


RR said...

I'm sure she didn't mean it as a slight to you personally. I firmly believe that. However, if she makes another comment like that to you again, you might mention to her that, by her logic, her neighborhood should actually have a higher crime rate, since apparently there is more "worth stealing" there. You might also tell her (calmly, politely, and without hostility) that you understand that she doesn't mean that as an insult but that she might want to refrain from making that sort of comment to other people because it's easily misinterpreted.

And by the way--I come from a super safety-paranoid family and am trained to sense danger where none is present. I have never felt unsafe in your neighborhood.

Deals On Wheels said...

Yey! You are back! My voice of reason has returned!

The Runt said...

Maybe she was referring to the fact that your dogs own more stuff than you do...and honestly...who would want to steal Frankie?!? jk

Amstaff Mom said...

This poor woman was not blessed with the gift of tact, and one of these days it will come back to bite her on the derriere.

Way to hold your tongue, Deals. But maybe you can explain to her that the manner in which she remarks does come across rather harshly at times. Since it doesn't sound like she means it.

Youch, though. There were some zingers in there!

Deals On Wheels said...

Runt: You are just jealous because you don't have a Frankie...

AM: Thanks for the support. I feel bad because sometimes I get so frustrated with her. Most of the time, I chalk it up to her being "young". By "young" I don't mean an age-wise (she's only one human gestation period my junior), but more "young" in the sense that she's very sheltered and lacking in life experience. It's not her fault - she's simply a product of her upbringing. RR once said to me that she thought “Suzanne” should have been the age that she is now in the 1950s. I completely agree. “Suzanne’s” world view is kind of like the Donna Reid Show: Perfect on the surface in a world that makes sense in black and white.

Katie said...

hmmm would you like me to sick my attack horse that protects my country living home where i often forget to lock my doors on her? although the crime rate where I live is slim to none so does that in turn make my stuff have little worth?

I agree with JCol, this poor woman seems to suffer from verbal diarrhea and says exactly what she is thinking without actually hearing the words out loud, not knowing her I can only assume that as your friend she meant no harm but didn't really think of the points of connection from her comment to you and your stuff

but if you need my guard horse just let me kno

Deals On Wheels said...

Katie: You should really move. People weren't meant to live in Nebraska (which is where I've decided that you live - Oklahoma sounds much, much too populated compared to the rural lifestyle that you apparently prefer. A lifestyle that you could only realize in a place like Nebraska, where only one other person resides).

Thanks for the support, though. I'm interested in your guard horse - is he, by any chance, a horse on a stick? Possibly a puppet? Do you have long, drawn-out conversations with him (in which the horse answers you English)?


You do don't you? Just admit it. You will feel better.

Deals On Wheels said...

A comment from my aunt (received via email):

A mindless, idiotic comment--only to be expected considering the source. Funny thing is, when I first moved to Washington in 1969, I lived in a wonderful house in the ghetto. It was in SE Washington near the Marine Barracks, we were the only white people in the block, I had a date one night with a Marine one who told me he was afraid to walk me to the door, and when Mother and Aunt Sis came to visit, the taxi didn't want to take them to our house. Our neighbors truly did look after us and we never had a bit of trouble. At the same time, the Administrative Assistant in my office was held up at gunpoint in Georgetown, and it was only when I moved into a security high-rise in Foggy Bottom that my apartment was broken into and I was robbed. (Happily, I was not home at the time!) RR's comment was well said!

However, I still do not think you should work late at Fair Park and walk to your car by yourself! (Couldn't resist adding that...)