Stunned

For the last two months I have been part of a local production of The Sound of Music and through that I have made some friends. One, in particular, happens to be a guy. For the purposes of this blog entry and any future entries, he will be called The Comic. The Comic is a very nice guy. When we started chatting I was up front with him and told him I don’t swing in his direction and he was perfectly fine with it. I decided to say something early in our friendship because I have encountered many guys over the years who think they can change me.

During the performances, The Comic has joined those of us in the nun chorus while we are off stage. He’s shared many stories about his parents and growing up with a Puerto Rican father and a mother from Alabama as well as stories of his previous experiences in theatre. All of it has left both myself and others in stitches of laughter.

Last week we had three days of performances for students/kids so I took vacation time off from work. On Tuesday and Thursday I hung out with The Comic after the show and we did a few things together and it was nice to have someone new to do stuff with. The only person I really do stuff with around here is India because all of my dearest friends don’t live nearby.

Wednesday I had lunch with another friend from my volunteering at the hospital. She’s an older woman, 87. I think I’ll call her Feisty. She’s a little Italian woman, first generation American in her family. I met her back in January when I invited the guy who is directing the production to see the movie at an old neighbourhood theatre. Afterward we went to a coffee shop and it was fun. It was a nice day and after eating, we walked around one of the lakes at the local park. As we walked, she talked a lot about the Director (our mutual friend) and their pending trip to Italy this summer. Apparently Feisty has known a lot of people in the theatrical community over the years and she spoke of one guy that she gets together with semi-frequently for dinner. He’s here for a short time working at a local university in their music department because he is apparently a well-known opera singer.

Back to The Comic. We had lunch again on Thursday, then went shopping. During the course of the afternoon, I mentioned knowing Feisty and how she knows the Director. Somewhere along the way, he made the connection that he knows the Opera Singer that Feisty knows. So I’m thinking, oh this is cool, two friends of mine are connected by someone else they both know apart from me. Naturally I looked forward to Sunday (yesterday) to introduce them to one another when Feisty came to see our performance.

On Friday I went to the hospital, as is my usual routine, and somehow managed to arrive a full 15 minutes early despite leaving the house later than I usually do. Not sure how that worked out, but whatev’. I decided to pop into the gift shop where Feisty works to say hello since I had some time on my hands. She was in the storage room so I walked in and chatted a bit about the previous three days’ performances and then I made the comment that I knew someone who knows the Opera Singer who is also in The Sound of Music. She asked if I meant the guy Opera Singer is rooming with and for a second I was caught off guard because I didn’t immediately recall The Comic telling me that he has a roommate (still don’t remember, but maybe he did). I confirmed his identity anyway and her swift response was to tell me that he’s (The Comic) bad news and that I should watch my purse around him. He would take my money in a heartbeat. So sayeth the Opera Singer.

I was shocked to say the least. I think I murmured something about not finding anything wrong with The Comic, to which she shot back, “Do you think the Opera Singer would lie to me?” I didn’t know, but I quickly made an excuse to get out of the gift shop. I spent the better part of the next two hours completely at a loss as to what had happened. I went back and forth between thinking I should believe Feisty and thinking she just didn’t know what she was talking about. It was really gut-wrenching, mostly because I’d really hoped to have another friend here in town to do stuff with. By the end of the two-hour shift, I had concluded that the best way to deal with things was to talk to the Director who knows everyone involved.

I felt better about things after our chat. I came away realising a few things about the whole situation.

  1. The Comic knows about my sexual orientation; Feisty does not.
  2. When The Comic and I went to lunch on Thursday, he forgot his wallet in his car, but didn’t realise it til we were already in line at the restaurant. I had to practically beat him over the head to get him to let me pay for his with the idea he’d pay me back.
  3. After the chat with the Director, I learned that Feisty had a great deal of cash sitting around her house which was promptly stolen by a carer she had hired to help with her older (99 year old) sister. This has probably led her to believe everyone will steal from her and therefore others as well.
  4. If the Opera Singer is so scared of The Comic stealing from him, why does he stay in the same house? No one is forcing the Opera Singer to stay where he is.

As time passed, through Friday evening and all of Saturday I realised that things weren’t so great. I started to panic because I could suddenly envision the introduction happening on Sunday quickly follwed by her telling him off. I was utterly mortified at the thought of Feisty saying anything to The Comic that was even remotely similar to what she told me on Friday and more specifically her tone of voice.  By Saturday night, I knew my only course of action would be to simply walk away. I would either retreat back into the theatre or to my car and simply drive away.

Sunday morning came and I was dreading the performance. During intermission, I received a call from Feisty on my cell. I missed it and had to listen to the voicemail message. Listening to it I suddenly realised that I don’t want to see Feisty for a while. I’m not sure I want to be friends with her anymore. I don’t want to be told who I should and should not be friends with. My mother tried to force a friendship on me when I was in my 20s. I didn’t take too kindly to that either.

Thankfully, Feisty didn’t stick around after the show ended.

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5 thoughts on “Stunned

  1. I have two comments… the first pertaining to The Comic and the second to Feisty.

    Reguarding The Comic:
    If Feisty really is telling the truth, it is highly possible that he “forgot” his wallet in the car and was just seeing if you would pay for him. (I have an aunt who does this.) Is there a reason he couldn’t just go out to the car to get his wallet? I’ll give The Comic the benefit of the doubt on this one, but if he continues to let you pay for things that might be a clue that there’s some truth to Feisty’s comments about him.

    Reguarding Feisty:
    I completely agree that friends shouldn’t tell friends who can and cannot make good candidates to hang out with. It is possible she really is trying to look out for you and giving you a warning. Then again, it’s also possible that she’s senile and just going over-board. People react to things differently and, since she’s first gen. American (was she born here?)– Feisty might have some kooky behaviour that is culturally linked.

    More than likely, though… she probably doesn’t want to see you get hurt and while The Comic may or may not be a threat she should still give you the option to choose what to do and who to socialize with.

    I wouldn’t completely sever ties with her at this juncture, but I definitely wouldn’t talk about The Comic with her again.

  2. He couldn’t go get his wallet because we’d taken my car. And he had plenty of other opportunities to get me to pay for something, especially when we went to the movies Tuesday evening, but he didn’t. And he’s currently unemployed so he could’ve very easily used that as an excuse at any time to get me or anyone else we’ve been with to pay for him.

  3. First of all, I have found that if “crap” can be talked about someone, it will be. I am wondering if Feisty isn’t jealous of your friendship with “the comic”. If your experience with “the comic” has been a positive one, my only advice would be to not let them rain on your parade. It is second hand information, and who knows who is really saying what. A comment may have been made when the stealing initially happened, and Feisty has decided to run with it.

    My experiences in the theater have led me to some amazing life long friendships…but the drama doesn’t stop on the stage. Matter of fact…it can get hairier!

  4. My only comment would be to not be so hard on Fiesty. Like Jade said, she’s probably trying to look out for someone she cares for (that would be you). She might be mistaken, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t offering her advice as anything other than a token of caring.
    As to why she sounded a little defensive, it’s probably because a lot of people tend to disregard what elderly people say as being paranoid or just senile nonsense. It’s hurtful when that happens. Even family often take that stance.
    Remember too that Fiesty is NOT your mom, so you have to make a conscious effort not to project your mother’s traits onto her. Just because your mom may have tried to influence your friendships in the past doesn’t mean that Fiesty is trying to do the same thing. She cares for you and she’s trying to look out for you, just as you would do for a friend!
    I would stay friends with both, just keep ’em separate. If Fiesty asks about The Comic, just say that you’re keeping her words in mind.

  5. I guess I’d try to be friends with both, but keep them apart. I’d make sure that both understood that I was friends with the both of them and neither were going to tell me who to be friends with. If they can’t handle that, their free to walk away.

    I don’t know the people involved, so I cannot give any more advice than that. It sucks being in the middle of something like this, though. I’m sorry you’re going through that.

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