Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Which Ms. Frivolous Tosses Dear John, the Baker

Just now I got off the elevator with a six-foot, three-hundred pound man who lives on my floor of my building. He has a crew-cut,  looks like a retired football player and he works out at Gold's. He also bakes a lot of cookies.

A long time ago we had two dates, within the space of a week. After the first one, I was talking on the phone in front of my window and he was watching me from the window in the hall, where the building makes a 90 degree angle. It didn't last very long, but I noted it. Still I didn't pay enough attention. After the second date (I should tell you these were coffee dates or walk dates), I hugged him good-bye and said I hoped he'd call me again.

That Big Chocolate Chip on His Shoulder 
I got a blistering e-mail about how men have to do all the work to get dates. That he had already bought two cups of coffee and it was my turn to ask to go for a walk. That he didn't appreciate the tack I had taken, my tone of voice, and so forth.

I added this up with the themes of his conversation. At the time, he was looking for a job. He told me that he had cursed out the hiring supervisor at a company he hoped to work at, because she didn't process his application fast enough. He also told me about his divorced wife not allowing him to be alone with his daughter because he would spank her and she was fourteen, which is not too old to be spanked, according to him. (Like all ex-wives), she was a bitch. And then on the way home from this second date, he told me about going into a gay bar (which he wasn't, or some permutation thereof, I hadn't figured that one out yet) and being in the men's restroom and almost choking a guy to death for hitting on him.

Maybe it was supposed to illustrate his straightness. But that was enough for me. I figure if you're a guy in a declasse gay bar, you should expect to get hit on in the bathroom. I mean, you're there. And I've been in that bar. It is a hit-on-ya bar.

Somewhere in there he left me a phone message that he then asked me not to listen to, because he was so angry. He was very charming about it, but this is Ann T. you're talking to. I listened to it.

In Which John, the Baker becomes Dear John, the Baker
So I sent him a dear-John e-mail. It was about how my life was busier than I thought it was, and that I wouldn't have time for a new relationship. I got a vituperous letter back about being a bitch, dishonest, and insinuating in the bargain--not to mention those cups of coffee that I had sponged off him. I spent a serious hour thinking about giving him a five-dollar bill.

About a week after that, I was leaving the building and he was coming in. He turned around and started yelling at me. He followed me down half a block, yelling that I was a bitch and so forth. I don't run from stuff like this: absolutely fatal to run.  I turned around and told him he was done following me. And he turned away.

At the local store, I was friends with a police officer who moonlighted in security. I told him what had happened. I asked him what I should do. "Call the cops," he said.

Well, it wasn't going to be Officer Securidad that got called, you know. So I wasn't going to take that advice.

When I came back to the building, my dear John, the Baker was waiting at the back door with a toothpick in his mouth, and he was not done. He had more to say, and I was going to listen. I faced him off again and went inside. I should tell you it was pitch dark out there, and he was still fit to be tied.

I shook for two and a half hours in my apartment. And finally the word harassment came to me. So I did call the police and said it was not an emergency. Well, they sent two cars. We have really responsive police in my neighborhood. It was one a.m. You could say I over-reacted. On the other hand, I don't like being blocked access to my building in the dark.

I met them outside my building. I mean, they were fast.
"Look, thanks for coming, I'm afraid it's really stupid," I said. "But this is what happened, and this is the kind of mail he's sending."
One of them read it.
"Aw, he just doesn't want to break up with you."

Well, hell. I do not consider myself to be a frivolous caller of the police, but there it was.

"Well, if you don't think it's worth pursuing, then I think that's okay. Generally I handle things. I think it's dumb that I called you."
"Nah, we'll go up and talk to him."

So they did. I have been getting dirty looks from this man for years. He still lives down the hall. I used to listen behind the door before I went outside, to be sure I didn't run into him.

Out of the Deep Freeze
But about two years after the incidents described above, we started saying hello again. Recently he brought me cookies. I find that to be odd, but also maybe it was just a bad time. Still I had no plans to date this guy.

So he wanted to know tonight why I would call the cops on him. He prefers direct communication. But also he wanted to apologize. I accepted his apology and said that I was also sorry it happened. Then he wanted to know why. Because he just wants to know why I did it.

I reviewed. He said he guessed he could understand it, that he's a big guy and all that. But still. And this went on for awhile. Then finally I said this:

"You escalated very quickly," I told him. "You wanted me to talk a certain way, and to act a certain way, and you said whatever you wanted when I didn't talk or act as you wanted. Many of your stories were about hurting people. And then you followed me down the street yelling at me."

"It was only half a block."
"It's a long block. It's even longer when someone's screaming at you that you're a bitch as you walk down it."

I was honest. I went through it with him, I don't know how many times. By the end he was arguing with me. He thinks I didn't like him because he was unemployed. And that's when I got mad.

Somehow again, by the end of the apology, I am at fault for bringing in a third party. He never wanted to date; he never waited for me. Well, he doesn't like it when I'm straight with him, and he doesn't like it when I give him a vague brush-off.  All I can do is what I can do.

"I got you back, you know," he just told me. "I told them you were off your meds and crazy."
"I don't take meds."  (You'll notice I didn't say I wasn't crazy though.)

"I know, I just had to get you back. I'm on a report somewhere because of you."

He is just one step on my road to agoraphobic tendencies. Not the biggest one. Not the most important one. Not by a hell of a sight.
But damn it.


suz said...

Small angry mind, big angry muscles. Not a good combination. DO NOT let him disrupt your life. Avoid him, but don't let him know it's costing you a minute of concern. To him, even a negative response is good, because it's a response.

The Bug said...

What's really scary is that he probably genuinely doesn't understand what he did wrong. Do you think anger management courses help a person who believes he's right in his behavior? VERY scary. I don't blame you for not wanting to leave your apartment - although I'm proud that you were as direct as you were.

Ann T. said...

Dear Suz,
Thanks for the validation! I am going to take your advice. There has been enough soap opera here.

If he knocks on my door with cookies though, there's going to be another confrontation. I'm just not going there. I am a little worried about it. On the other hand, he's probably saying "I'll never give that bitch another cookie in this life."

We'll see how it goes!
Thanks for the support. I was SUCH a wuss. But not anymore!

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
I thought about anger management! Funny how that comes to mind, then and now. Thanks for saying the phrase.

I think he doesn't understand. I don't think he ever will. I was giving him points for trying to clear the air, until the end.

I won't let him keep me inside this time. Although I might still wait if I hear him in the hallway.

Thanks for the support! I had no idea I would write this post, but then, I had no idea it would all come up last night either.

I guess I'll just have to see how it goes. I did think SCARY too, except I was mad. That works.

Thanks for stopping in!
Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Yikes Ann T. that is a scary situation which you handled well.

Having someone like that in that close proximity to you must be very uncomfortable.

Bob G. said...

It's guys like THIS that ruin it for the rest of us...
(damn shame)
But it IS all ON HIM.

You never staretd this rift, but you CAN finish it, and I'm glad you met this situation head-on.

I know I try to "shun" a lot of the locals in my area (mainly due to the fact that I'm neither a criminal nor do drugs), JUST because I don't want to waste my time with any sort of confrontation.
(plus, I know it wouldn't end well for them)

I won't take any crap, and I certainly will never allow the word WELCOME to be stenciled across my forehead.

Looks you're ahead of ME in that regard...good for you!

Kepp the faith.
Stay strong.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I was afraid I come off nutty and inappropriate in this post, so thanks for the support! Anyway, I am going to hold this together. I am getting good advice as usual from everyone.

And it means a lot.

Thank you,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
They say that discretion is the better part of valor--so I think de-escalation is wise, in your neighborhood AND my hallway.

I haven't given up on guys though. I mean, I think I gave up on the world for a few years--so no way I am ahead of you--but the guys weren't singled out.

Thanks for the support. I'm going to take your advice and that above as well!

Thanks, my neighbor in another state,

The Observer said...

Ann T:

"Nutty and inappropriate"?!? You?

This is a fucking nut job that was trying to control you. You didn't let him and he didn't like it. Chances are all the relationships in his family of origin between men and women are like this; therefore he has no real idea what normal is. However, that is no excuse for his moronic behavior--it's about time for him to grow up and find out what normal is. He did not need an apology from you; you needed a no-blather apology from him.

By the end of the story I wanted to strangle him--really.

Now you are left with the questions and the fear--not him for he is too stupid. He'll just dither on in his sorry life--getting fired and "dear john" letters.

In this case, the police did wrong too. In professions where you are helping people who call you, you never invalidate the person who called you. They might need teaching or reassurance, but never say something that makes it feel like they should not have called. That was wrong and another injury to you.

If his actions start causing you to have terrible anxiety please get support. If he starts stalking you, get a r.o., even if he bitches. It's his actions that are causing the "third party," not you.

You got me all riled up--can you tell?

Please don't let this person hinder your life one little bit. He is so not worth it.

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
As I read your reply, I did remember telling the police officer that a letter like that was too emotional for one walk and two cups of coffee in a coffee shop. Maybe I stuck up for myself there too!

And yeah, he's nuts. I guess I felt no guns had gone off, drugs had changed hands, or blood been spilled. But I also had little other recourse (living alone, etc), and I think it made me less clear-headed and more anxious.

As I read your comment, I also realize he made demands again after a gift (cookies) which is the freak.

LOL! I feel so much better now!
Now that I have this figured out, and you ready to strangle him--yes, I will get a restraining order if I need to, if only to keep The Observer and Ann T. out from behind bars!

Because I'm ready to kick him to pieces myself.

Hell hath fury, and us too,
Thank you so much!
Ann T.

You know,
I get the best darn comments on the Web, bar none.

Ann T.

Omnibabe said...

There are some people in this world that you just can't engage with AT ALL -- not even eye contact. This guy is one of them. No third chances here, okay? If you do that, then YOU are teh crazee, m'kay?

Take good care of yourself!

Ann T. said...

Dear Omnibus Driver,
Thanks for writing in!

Oh, yes, I think this is a done deal. No cookies, no hello, no good-bye, and hopefully, no need to call the police.

Yeah, no thirds.
Thanks for the good advice.
Come back anytime!
Ann T.