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Thursday, April 06, 2006 

Bathe that tunnel in bright light!

We all know at least one person who has made a career of being unhappy. People who suck the joy out of existence and every one they come in contact with, leaving only horror and despair. In their distress, these people accuse, complain, sigh, and make it difficult for others to enjoy any moment. Their self-inflicted misery makes it hard for them to let others be happy and in their loneliness and pain; they seem to do everything possible to stay lonely. I work with someone like that. Yep, I have my very own, one of a kind dementor! (How do you like them apples, Harry Potter?). He is only 26 years old, but one would swear that he's been alive for at least twice as long. There is nothing in the world that ever seems right to the poor sod. And even when it does, he can always find a way to associate it with some negativity. None of the other people at the office enjoys making small talk with him as he can make even the weather seem like a personal tragedy. The biggest mistake you can ever make is to ask him how he is doing and give him the opportunity to respond. And for reasons, only known to him and the dark Prince he worships, he seems to think that I, yours truly, enjoy listening to his anecdotes of gloom and suffering. Damn my magnetic personality and strikingly good looks! (insert hysterical laughter) I had the misfortune of being alone in a room with him today. I tried as best I could not to make eye contact or conversation, but it is kind of hard to ignore someone when there is no one else in the room to take the heat off of you. I had to listen to a 10 minute monologue on the bad state of his health, his career and how his world had begun to fall apart, and that he was now in complete emotional peril. I mostly kept quiet, fearing that a response may spur him on to share more with me than he already had. I have empathy for his... uhm… affliction, but I cannot be his agony aunt. I may have zoned out of the conversation at some point, but I finally heard him say something about not being able to see light the end of the tunnel. ME: Oh surely, you exaggerate… it can’t be that bad? (I didn’t know what else to say!) HE: I suppose… things will get better soon. Bad luck seems to follow me around. ME: You know, Dave, perhaps you should stop waiting for the light to go on at the end of the tunnel. Peace of mind and a better quality of life are sometimes found in the gloomiest of places, but you have to be willing to flick the light switch. After that arse-numbingly uninspiring conversation, I sincerely hoped I could find the switch to turn my brain back on.

"you know, dave, you have to choices... cheer up, or shut up." i find it interesting how much less patience i have now that i've had experience with two people that meet your description. i wonder if it'd be possible to convince them to lie to you on a regular basis, to get them to respond positively to enquiries about health and welfare - "i'm fine, how're you?"

"dave, you're depressing me. if you're not careful i'm going to file a complaint against you for spiritual harrassment."

dammit. TWO choices. TWO. 2. dos. y'all knew what i meant.

hillarious the way you write. i have no such patience. i have a very good friend who is like that, she is constantly depressed and she only sees her pain/agony/problems/gloom/doom and fails to think that other people might be worse off than her. So everytime we talk, I GET depressed! I have to restrain myself from saying: listen, get a grip of yourself. get on with life, you only live once, so start living instead of complaining!!!"
however, i love to rant myself, so i should not be here preaching as i tend to be pessimistic sometimes as well. specially when it comes to the weather.
this was my thesis for today ;)

Totalwaste: You are clearly well versed in these matters.
Spiritual harrassment - got to love it!
CA: Thanks for thesis - you get an A.
It is actually a shame that some ppl can only see darkness and unhappiness, when life has so much more to offer. If only, they would be willing to try!

Your response was gentler and wiser than I would have been able to make, I think.
Yes indeed, we all know these vampiric, sad souls. I have never quite found the way to deal with them and keep my sanity at the same time. Option one: listen, listen, listen, keeping saintly heart open (result, you get to do this often). Option two: brusquely be busy, or pretend to be busy: "gee, would love to listen, for the two hundredth time, to how life has dealt you a terrible losing hand, but I have to...feed my dog." (result, in my experience: you still have to listen). Option three, not open to you, but works for me sometimes: say hello, and excuse self, running for partner: "darling, it's your turn to listen to Mr. Z talk about his love life and his dead parakeet".

If you ever figure out why some people suck your heart dry, let us know. I've been pondering it a long, long time.

Jarvenpa: Hehe... Can I borrow your partner for a short while?
I like the option where I have the right to go ballistic and tear their heads off... which of course will never happen. But one can dream!

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