Usually an evening spent with new friends at a wine tasting event isn’t material for my blog, but there’s always an exception. And this is one of them.
Our guests at that wine tasting are neighbors that lived next door to us before moving a few streets down. Prior to getting to know them at a birthday party after they moved, I saw them on occasion, gave them the courtesy ‘hi’ when I saw them, and went about my business, never bothering to get to know them because of that ‘guilt by association thing’. Not that I had been directly affected by them or their ‘friends’ alleged transgressions; I simply chose (and choose) not to associate with people like that. However, at the party, we found out that we shared similar preconceived notions of one another. They heard I was this, I heard they were that, and we both avoided each other based on rumor and innuendo. We also discovered the source of these misconceptions: a gossipy neighbor with control issues.
We all know or have known this person, the person that knows everything, knows everyone, and insists you know she knows it. (A blowhard, to put it mildly.) This neighbor of ours loves to gossip the same way some people love to take in oxygen to help themselves stay alive. She stirs pots like she’s Wolfgang Puck on a coke binge. All this hides, I believe, a deep-seeded insecurity and a need to control all that she comes in contact with.
This neighbor was no stranger to me. After living across from her for just a week, my Spidey sense was tingling more than if I had attached myself to a paint can shaker, telling me to watch my back and keep to predefined boundaries with this woman so as to hopefully avoid her radar. I had little to no contact with her. And I was fine with that. The less ammo I gave her, the less chance I had of taking a bullet to my backside. Or so I thought.
She had to invent untruths and spread rumors in order to satiate her twisted idea of making friends and playing them as if they were marionettes on the end of her demented strings. To others, I was a bad person, someone to avoid. In reality, I’m a nice guy to people who show me the same courtesy, and I love making friends. (I couldn’t be where I am in life if I didn’t possess some semblance of people skills at some point during my day.) Now that my neighbors are seeing who I really am, her contrived world constructed of lies and meanness are crumbling like a tree house designed by a 5-year-old. I’m winning, she’s losing.
Gossipy people are unavoidable. It’s inevitable you will run into one of these wannabe paparazzis who thrive on control and the misery of others. In the end, people like me enjoy pleasant evenings with friends, both new and old, while the National Enquirer across the street sits at home, drowning in the sadness and loneliness constructed from her own blueprints. I’m sure my neighbor will catch wind of this post, just as she seems to come across all other bits and pieces of neighborly news. I hope she does, and I hope she knows that my wife and I have plans this weekend.