Passive Aggression

I am balless. Really. I have zero metaphorical testicles.

Allow me to regale you with the tale of this discovery.

A few days ago, Josh and I drove past a house we’d seen a million times before. It’s a big house – pretty, older, just on this side of the edge of being a not-so-fabulous part of town. We drove past, and noticed a sign in the yard. We thought it was a sale sign – it wasn’t. It was a sign proclaiming that some roof work had been done by such & such company. We knew that the house had at one point been available, and figured it would be again soon, since it had a new roof yet was empty.

We were right. In less than a day there was a sign in the yard, and we immediately called about the house.

Now, let’s get this straight – we love our house where we are. Love the neighborhood, location, all that. It’s just not big enough.

So we called and called, and eventually emerged with an appointment for yesterday at 2:00, to view the house. Josh was to be at work, so I was on my own. I was okay with that, I mean – I’m a big girl. I can take it.

I pulled up at the house at 2:00, right on time. Waiting for me was not the gentleman who owned the house, but a round lady about my age who was holding a baby, a little boy of about six, and a stout little woman with jet-black Cleopatra bangs, heavy make up, and wool Ugg boots (which I didn’t know that real people actually wore). I walked up to the porch, and – me being me – I asked if they were there to look at the house too, how old the baby was, blah blah blah. I was altogether pretty confident, actually. I’d had an epiphany earlier and I’d made up (to go along with the references and stuff that every landlord wants) a kind of introductory packet to introduce our family. It was amazing, if I do say so – color pictures, commentary, a little about all of us. I decided that in the case of many interested parties, maybe seeing our faces (and let’s just say it – my kids are cute) would give us a bit of an edge against other prospective tenants.

The owner showed up quickly, and after a brief hello he ushered us all into the house. We walked around, with Cleopatra doing most of the talking – asking questions about the house’s history, about the guy’s accent, about how much maintenance her bangs required…after a few minutes of not getting a word in edgewise, Cleopatra and her crew disappeared to the upstairs to look around, and I took the chance to introduce myself again to the owner, and I gave him my sparkling “this is my family” packet. Before I could say anything else, though, Cleopatra blows in behind me and says, “Oh, we want it. I’ll write you a check right now. How much of a deposit do you want?”

I was…well, a little stunned. All of the polite upbringing I’d endured roared around me and kept me quiet and waiting my turn, but while waiting, I listened to all of our chances at a pretty near-perfect home draining away. I didn’t understand how someone could knowingly be so rude, and I also didn’t understand why the owner was failing to even acknowledge that I was there. I also didn’t understand why I didn’t say a damn word.

Anyway, I wandered the house alone for a bit while they continued talking – Round Baby Lady finally spoke up and detailed just exactly how important and rich their family was, the company they own, how they only needed the house for a few months so some renovations could be finished – and then launched into sob stories about pancreatic cancer and funerals and sadness. Then they left, Cleopatra and her brood, and on the way out the owner stopped them to tell them how impressive the little introductory packet was and how proud he was of it.

“Oh, that? That’s not ours. That was someone else, and they don’t matter now.”

She glanced over her shoulder to where I was still standing – waiting – chuckled a bit, and was gone.

The owner (give him a bit of a break, he was an older guy and I’m not sure Mississippian was his first language) turned and upon seeing me still standing there, gave me a bit of a confused look. He’d thought I was with them.

I shrugged a little (and tried to disguise the fact that for some stupid reason I was choking up) and said, “Well, I don’t guess there’s any reason for me to still be here.”

I continued on and talked to him for a little while, and since the people were only going to be in the house for a bit and since there were still improvements he wanted to make before he got “permanent” residents, I think we came to an agreement. He felt bad, I think, for not seeing the situation and realizing that I was someone completely different.

What bothers me about this whole situation is that I allowed this woman – this woman with stupid bangs, last year’s shoes, and bad Max Factor – to make me feel like less of a person. Insignificant, disposable. I went into the situation confident and poised and I came out shaky, slumped over, and feeling fat. I hate that I can allow someone I don’t even know to belittle me like that in my own mind.

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