I was sitting in a car with a guy who had pulled over to take a phone call. This guy might become a friend. Why do I say “might” become a friend? I am not sure yet if I am more than useful to him. I have tried to come up with what I would consider a working definition of a friend. For me, specifically, I would consider someone a friend if the person initiates contact me and is not responding to me. The reason he initiates contact is to spend time with me and not bc he needs to go through me to access what he really wants. That does not mean friends cannot ask for help but it does mean a friend would stay in touch with me even if I cannot or will not share. In other words he does not immediately terminate contact if I say “no” and he keeps in touch even though he won’t have anything more than he did before he called. There are ways people hope I can enrich them. Typical requests, in my world, include but are not limited to:
- Use of my apartment for rest, storage, shelter from inclement weather, etc.
- Assistance with paperwork: help with applications, interpretations of official correspondence, resume writing
- Advice about dealing with discrimination, usually in housing
- Asking if I want to hire them for odd jobs (I pay $20/hr. for cleaning)
- Asking to borrow money as long as they have an item to serve as collateral. I expect $25 returned for every $20 cash. The internet calls this practice peer to peer lending.
As you know by now, my faithful long-term readers, people don’t get too attached to me. I know it but I do not know why they forget about me. Not that they dislike me. People do not feel anything for me, good or bad. I seldom hear from anyone unless they need my mind, body or possessions.
Why, then, was I surprised by the way my would-be friend spoke of me to someone who called him? when an associate who was giving me a ride received a call from his friend/mechanic and he asked the mechanic if he knew of any cars for sale because “this chick” he knows is looking for a car. He meant me. (My car search will prove endlessly entertaining for you in the next few posts.)
The Significance of “This Chick”
“This chick”? That’s how he referred to me? It’s not like I expected him to have spoken about me, thus enabling him to refer to me by name since people would be familiar with the reference. I did not think the name Caroleena was often mentioned in his conversations with his people. But still…He could have said “a friend.” But “this chick” sounds so dismissive. As if I am someone he met but did not anticipate having in his life long enough to refer to me by name because I will never be an important person his friends will one day meet. “This chick” indicates he does not plan to be public about his association with me. Did he call me “this chick” within my earshot because he was comfortable enough with me to be himself? Did he slip and reveal his true feelings or lack of feelings? Or was he deliberately insulting me? Maybe he was letting me know not to expect rides from him when I leave my keys a half mile down the road and he happened to stop by while I was fruitlessly searching my purse.
You Think Too Much
Maybe it’s true what people say about how overt things. I may very well be reading too much into this expression. But I believe you learn a lot about a person from small gestures that are easily overlooked. People show how they feel in unguarded speech and actions. If I am “this chick” I should not expect too much because I do not mean too much. Before I came up with this post with the different paragraphs inspired by two one syllable words I was not thinking about what he said. Instead in a flash of intuition I knew my status. When I know something in an instant that intuition has never failed me