Monday, February 2, 2009


Sometimes I get tired of saying no. I'm glad these days I can at least say it because I'm not sure it was fully a part of my vocabulary a few years back, but sometimes it's just exhausting.

Currently it's one of the homeless guys. He's always asking for something, and it's generally with no regard for what kind of imposition or affect it will have on anyone else. It's all about him, and it's about to drive me nuts. Because as much as it's not right for me to be saying "yes" to all of his demands (and no, they're not all "demands" per se, but his persistence and insistence tend to convert them into demands), it's becoming frustrating to have to say no all the time.

Last week he came over on my sabbath. I was cleaning and getting ready for company and he rang the bell. I wouldn't have answered, but there was music on and a friend in the kitchen--so I couldn't just not answer. Anyway, so I go to the door and we had the following conversation:

Me: Hey, what's up?
Him: Not much, what are you doing?
Me: It's my day off.
Him: Yeah mine too!
Me: (and....?!?!)
Him: Yeah, I was thinking I'd go shopping and stuff.
Me: (blank stare)
Him: (look like, " wanna take me?")
Me: Sorry dude, I'm cleaning and getting ready for company.
Him: Oh yeah. well, okay.
Me: Have a good day.
Him: yeah, ok...bye.

I know he knows it's my day off and I can't figure out for the life of me why he would think I want to spend my day off taking him shopping. I felt guilty for saying no (though I had no logical reason for that guilt) and then I was angry that I even had to say no.

Later that night I was at the church making copies. It was late and dark (and I had someone in the office helping, which is rare) and he banged down the office door. I went and answered and he wanted me to let him into the showers. I said no. I re-explained that the trustees hadn't made a decisions about the showers and I wasn't going to do any more showers until they did. He gave me more of the same about how it cost too much at the YMCA etc. I get that. Really I do. $10 for a shower is crazy. But it's not about the money for us. It's about the fact that after a trustee let him in once, then he decided it was my job to let him in from then on much so that when he missed his appointed time one night (*yes, I realize I created my own beast when I let him in once when it wasn't ok'd by the trustees yet...) and then came the next morning to my house to ask me to let him into the showers. Sorry dude. (I've got meetings and a life.) "Well, when can I get a shower?" I don't know. I'm out all day and in meetings all night and not around tomorrow. I don't know when you're gonna get a shower. (But you've figured that out for 10 years on the street...I'm guessing you can figure it out again...)

I'm tired of saying no. And yet I know that if I say yes, just to relieve the guilt and frustration of saying no, that I will only create a bigger monster that is harder to deny in the future. It's a nasty cycle of which I am NOT a fan...

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