Dear John: Hey Neighbor, Stop Leaving Nasty Notes on My Car!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Something happened this morning I am still really upset about. I live in a city area with a lot of apartments and a lot of cars parked on the street all the time. This morning my car had a note on it. Apparently, I had parked in a way that someone thought was too close to the driveway of their apartment building and the note they left was really nasty. Like, crazy nasty. And not that it matters, but my car wasn’t even blocking anything. It was close, but nothing like how the evil note-leaver made it out to be.
Why this is especially upsetting is that I know literally everyone who lives around here, and I’m on friendly terms with all of them. I must know the person who wrote this hateful message, but it’s actually a little scary that someone I exchange pleasantries with harbors so much rage. I have gone over all my neighbors in my head and I keep thinking, “Him? Nope. Her? Nope.” I feel like I really want to get to the bottom of this. But where to start? I am thinking of showing the note around and seeing if anyone has any idea. But maybe I should just drop it? It has really ruined my day. I wish people would stop and think how hurtful something like this can be. What do you think?
Bad Way To Start The Day
Dear Bad Way To Start The Day,
I know how you feel. I recently had an unpleasant encounter with an inexplicably rude cab driver that bugged me quite a bit for the remainder of the day. But after some time had passed, I no longer found myself fantasizing about punching him in the face through the window of his smelly cab.
Your situation sounds much the same, and you just need a little time. In fact, it’s several days later, and I bet you’ve been over it for a while, right? These things hurt when they happen, usually because we’re caught off guard or, as in your case, someone’s reaction is out of all proportion to the perceived offense. Unless the note threatened your safety somehow (in which case I would call the police), I’d just let this go. Besides, you’re not completely sure it was a neighbor – maybe it was someone visiting who was annoyed he or she had to actually pay attention while they pulled out of the lot. Doesn’t really matter, though. Forget about it, if you haven’t already.
Okay, I’ll come right out with it. I’m having an affair with my boss. I am a divorced professional woman in my 40s, so I’m not naïve. I know how that sounds, and I know all the typical responses. I’m not defensive about it because I don’t feel at this point in my life I have to justify my choices to anyone. Suffice it to say that my boss is in a miserable marriage, he and his wife will be getting a divorce, and our working relationship in this tiny office is as peers, not as boss/subordinate. I’m perfectly content with this situation.
My problem has to do with my friends. Since I revealed this to them a couple of months ago, they have been politely scornful about it and, when they say anything at all, their comments indicate that they see this as a cynical career move on my part and an exploitative lapse in judgment on his. They couldn’t be more wrong on both counts.
I recently learned of a couple of times that I have been excluded from social gatherings and I believe these to be the opening maneuvers in completely shutting me out. I’m hurt and angry. I want to clear the air with them, but what can I say without sounding like I’m trying to convince them of something?
Not That Other Woman
Dear Not That Other Woman,
Well, you do want to convince them of something, don’t you? You want to convince them not to judge you based on a personal situation you maintain is none of their business.
Fact is, you have some judgmental friends. Maybe this is something you knew about them before, but it didn’t bother you because you hadn’t been on the receiving end of it. (Just to be clear, it’s understandable, I think, for friends to react to your news with a bit of concern that this might not be a good situation for you. But having heard your explanation, a worthy friend would then trust your judgment and hope for the best, not shun you.) Unfortunately, some people feel better about their own lives when they feel like they’re in a position to look down on others’.
Were there other signs these friendships were so brittle? I wouldn’t expect too much to come of it, but if you want to try, see if you can get your little group together and lay it all out there: recap your situation; emphasize that despite what they think, it’s fine; and you were very hurt to be excluded from their get-togethers. Then see what they have to say.
Be aware, though, that this will give them one more opportunity to shake their heads at how badly you’ve strayed. And I expect they’ll take it.
Hi. I am a high school student (guy) and I have a lot of friends, both girls and guys. I get along with pretty much everyone, and that’s the problem. Being in high school, there’s always a lot of drama. And I get caught in the middle. All my friends tell me what’s going on and expect me to take sides, which I don’t want to do. In fact, when you really know what’s going on, it’s impossible to take sides. I can see everyone’s opinion usually. But I feel like I’m being pressured to take sides when my friends talk to me about these things. How can I let them know that I’m happy to listen and I’m happy to tell them what I think, but I don’t want to get INVOLVED? I don’t want to pass along messages, I don’t want to be forced to agree that someone’s a jerk when they’re not, I don’t want to do any of that stuff. Any advice for me? Thanks.
Stuck In The Middle
Dear Stuck In The Middle,
It doesn’t sound like you need much advice. You’re doing great.
I assume your friends are coming to you because they trust you. Of course, any of us who are participants in “drama,” as you so aptly put it, wants someone to tell us we’re right, no one has ever been treated as shabbily as we’re being treated, and the other side couldn’t be more wrong. But life is rarely (okay, never) so cut and dried.
So be frank with them. Tell them what you said in your letter: you’re happy to listen and they can trust you not to blab (that wasn’t in your letter but I hope it’s true), but you don’t want to take sides, act as a go-between, or do anything else that drags you into whatever’s going on. Some people may take an “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” attitude, but I think most of your friends will understand where you’re coming from and appreciate your perspective. Throughout life, it’s difficult to remain on good terms with both sides of a conflict. (Wait until you know a couple getting divorced!) But no one can make you choose sides, and if they try to force you to, that’s their problem, not yours.
John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected].
Related Slideshow: 10 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
St. Pat’s 5K
If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, think about participating in the St.Pat’s 5K. The Tour de Patrick includes three 5K races in three different cities. On March 8th the Tour de Patrick hits Providence with the race starting at 11am at the Rhode Island State House. Make sure to register for the race online. After the race, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at 12 pm on Smith Street. For more information, click here.
St. Pat’s 5K: Rhode Island State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI, 02908
Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade
On March 15th don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of Newport’s 58th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at 11 am at Newport City Hall and will include everything from marching bands to clown units. After the parade make sure to check out the alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day family celebration which will feature bag pipers and Irish step dancers. Entry to this event is free and you’ll have the chance to win giveaways and cash prizes. Click here for more information.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: 43 Broadway, Newport, RI, 02840
St. Patrick’s Day Family Celebration: The “Hut,” Golden Hill Street, Newport, RI, 02840 (Behind Newport Public Library)
South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Brought to you by the Allied War Veteran’s Council, South Boston’s one and only St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on March 16th. This parade is said to be the second largest parade in the country and is seen on live TV. The parade starts at 1pm. Make sure to check their website for the parade route as well as a list of pubs and bars recommended by the parade commitee. For more details, go here.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127
11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade
If you want to keep the Irish spirit alive after St. Patrick’s Day, the 11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade is on March 23rd. This single day celebration has over 2,000 marchers and 30,000 spectators. There will also be decorated floats, Gaelic music, and the famous Irish jig. The parade kicks off at 1pm and is an event you will not want to miss. Keep checking their website for parade route information. Click here for more information.
11th Annual Mystic Irish Parade: Mystic, Connecticut
Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival
St. Patrick’s Day is not a one day celebration, at least not according to the Harpoon St. Patrick’s Day Festival. On Friday March 7th from 5:30 pm to 11 pm (doors close at 9:30 pm) and Saturday March 8th from 2 pm to 9 pm (doors close at 7:30 pm) step inside the largest brewery in Boston and enjoy food venders selling corned beef and cabbage and cash bars featuring Harpoon Celtic Red. Also get ready to dance the Irish jig because both nights feature 4 or more live bands. The coverage charge is $20 at the door (cash only). For more details, visit their website.
Harpoon Brewery: 306 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210
Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Connecticut has another great parade on Sunday March 16th in Greater New Haven. This parade which begins at 1:30 pm is a free event and is the largest spectator event in Connecticut. This parade features 3,000 marchers, bag pipers, clowns and marching units, and will be broadcasted on FOX CT. Click here for more details.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Derby Avenue and Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, 06511
A Little Bit of Ireland
Described as pure Celtic magic, the A Little Bit of Ireland show on March 15th and 16th at the Reagle Music Theatre is now celebrating its 16th anniversary. As the largest Irish show in New England, this show features Irish tenors, Riverdance, a master Irish comic and a peek at Irish cottage life. There are three shows and tickets start at $35, purchase them online. Visit their website for more information.
Reagle Music Theatre: 617 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA, 02452
One of the best parts about St. Patrick’s Day is of course the corned beef and cabbage dinner. Durgin Park located near Faneuil Hall in Boston is known for its traditional New England corned beef and cabbage dinners so you won’t have to miss out on this Irish tradition. For more information, click here.
Durgin Park: 340 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston, MA, 02109
Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Worcester County is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Massachusetts and take pride in your Irish- American heritage. The Worcester County St. Patrick’s Parade Committee is a nonprofit organization dedicated to a safe family-oriented parade, which begins March 9th at 12 pm. Click here for details.
St. Patrick’s Parade: Park Avenue, Worcester, 01602
Faneuil Hall is not the only place to enjoy some traditional Irish cuisine, RiRa is a popular Irish pub in Providence that serves some great Irish food including a Guinness stew and house brined corn beef. Make sure to check their website for events, they often feature trivia nights and live music. For more information, visit RiRa online.
RiRa:: 50 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI, 02903
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