Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Shower Curtain Reprise

There are times when I follow those links at the end of my posts that say "You might also like:" and am surprised by something that I have written in the past. Sometimes I think that I need to write that in the present-- or at least share the old post. The post The Shower Curtain from 2008 is one of those (there shall be more in the future):

She walked into the kitchen where I was cleaning up after dinner and said, “I want this.” Actually, it was more like a command than a request or a statement.
I turned from the sink and looked at what she was holding. It was the new shower curtain that I had recently purchased, still enclosed in its clear plastic case.
“You live in a hotel,” I replied. “What would you do with a shower curtain?”
“I’m gonna cut it up and make it into a dress,” she said.
“That’s absurd,” I said. “That cloth is too heavy for a dress. Besides, I just bought that and…”
“But you ain’t using it now and I want it!”
“I am going to put it up. Soon. So you can’t have it.”
“Well, can I have your coffee maker then?”
Do you get the drift?
Every time she came to my house—no, every time I was in contact with her anywhere—she wanted something.
Once she “borrowed” my expensive (to me) Bose radio because “I ain’t got no music to listen to in my room.” When I asked for it back, I learned that her boyfriend had pawned it. (Luckily I was able to retrieve it after paying $70.00 to the pawn broker).
Another time she left my house with my nicest chess set in her backpack. By the time I had realized that it was gone, she had lost four of its pieces.
I could go on, but the memories actually hurt.
I had tried to help her when she was down and out and stranded in Louisville. She had been introduced to me by an ex-parishioner who, I later learned, was fed-up with her “I wants.” I assisted her in returning to her Pennsylvania home and thought I had done a mitzvah—a good deed. Within three months she was back in Louisville—and in need.
In that manner she bounced in and out of Louisville—and my life—for two years. And each time she contacted me her situation was… desperate.
Eventually even an old helper-dude like me learned and I would say no to her demands and not back down. Eventually I learned what it means to befriend a manipulative drug addict. It’s a relationship with lots of pain and few, if any, rewards.
The last time I heard from her was about 15 months ago. She telephoned—collect—from a jail in Arizona. I did not accept the charges.

The shower curtain she wanted now hangs in my bathroom.
+ + + 
In case you are intersted, there is a new post on my new blog, Nick's Pics, entitled A Farm Town Christmas.


  1. Genial brief and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

  2. Sometimes we help most when we don't help. But that isn't easy for those of us who are born "helpers," is it? Slowly we learn. Often too slowly.

  3. Takers just want you to give all the time, they don't want to be 'helped' in the truest sense of the word. :(

  4. Anonymous: OK, but I really don't understand what you're saying.

  5. Lynilu: You are so right! We "helpers" do learn very slowly, don't we. Perhaps it's because we can't picture or understand one human being exploiting another human being as we have been exploited by those to whom we reach out in compassion.

  6. Akelamalu: I am so afraid that you are right. It's as if they have no concepts beyond their immediate 'I want.' That includes not even getting their ne3eds met -- just their wants.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. I hate having to say no to people but sometimes that's all you can say-even though you know they'll keep trying.

  9. Silver Neurotic: I, too, dislike saying no to people. And, yes they do keep trying! The woman in this story was especially difficult to refuse: she always threatened to prostitute herself to get what she wanted if I didn't give it to her. Of course, at some point I learned that she was exchanging sex for drugs, so her threat was rather empty. It's sad that people con and manipulate that way.

  10. Nick, that shower curtain would look really nice in my downstairs bathroom. Can I have it???