I have a love-hate relationship with small towns. When I lived in Debary, then later Deltona, FL I loved it. They were small in their own right, but smushed together so closely it felt like a larger city. It was perfect, really. And had easy access to anything I needed via public transit. The town I currently live in, the town where I grew up… I love it because it’s so peaceful (usually) and reasonably quiet. It’s a kind of place where everyone either knows everyone, or you know of them enough to wave and say hi, have a great day.
But at the same time, it is this “everyone knows everyone” aspect that I hate. It’s the inconvenience when there is no public transit that I hate. It’s the inconvenience of everything being so spread out that I hate. Being such a small town that if I want to catch a special showing, one night only event at a movie theatre, I have to drive out to Rome or Atlanta to do so (Rome is about 45mins to an hour away; Atlanta is abut 2-3 hours depending on traffic).
But most of all, it’s the higher likelihood of bumping into people you’re not exactly fond of (to put it lightly) when you step out the front door. This has happened to me exactly 3 times in the month.
First, my husband and I bumped into a guy we both met around the same time in 2013. We’ll call him, uh, “Rob”. When we each met Rob, he was in a long term relationship. But he and his girlfriend wanted more. They wanted to be in an open relationship. And hey, that’s fine. I got no right to judge. Well, turns out that Rob wanted me to be his fool around buddy. Just like his girlfriend, we’ll call her “Margo” had already hooked up with the man that later I would end up with. (It must be noted at the time that my husband and I were not dating yet. We were both single. It must also be noted that meeting him and these 2 people, and when we DID start dating happened in the span of 2 weeks.) Between meeting my husband, and meeting these two people, whom he met at the same time, and when my husband and I started dating, the following happened: Rob and Margo fought daily, resulting in a domestic violence situation. Margo pulled a knife on Rob. Rob pulled a knife on Margo. Margo lost her shit and pulled a knife on the landlord. Rob repeatedly tried to get into my now mother-in-law’s pants (despite her frequent protestations of being a lesbian), continuously tried to flirt with me and having the goal of sleeping with me, and Margo doing the pants off tango with my future husband (again, during this 2 week period, my husband and I were NOT dating one another, and I didn’t really care what all he did because he was just a friend). This resulted in false claims of abuse, rape, and a fake pregnancy. This all came out at the end of 2 weeks when Margo’s aunt tried to step in and defend her niece, only to discover it was 100% made up and she slept with someone else of her own free will, was not pregnant, and was the primary abuser in her own domestic situation. And that ALL of the drama stemmed from the fact that she got booty outside of their “open” relationship while Rob was continuously turned down and rejected… because it was Rob’s idea in the first place.
Needless to say, it was rather awkward seeing Rob again after nearly 4 years – jobless, homeless, and with another woman. We gave him $2. I told him about different places in town that were hiring, and then husband and I quickly went on our way to Gamestop, then dinner. This encounter reminded me to appreciate my relationship with my husband, and our narrow escape from the drama llamas that were Margo and Rob.
Next up, we’ll call her “Penny”. Penny was my brother’s fiance up until his death in January 2014. Generally a decent person, we lived with her after my son was born, up until August of 2014. While she herself is generally decent, one of her kids caused multiple problems while we were living there, resulting in potential legal issues simply because we happened to live with her. Penny’s daughter, however, was taken into the foster care system for reasons I’ll not divulge. Penny is a decent parent, but her daughter is an out of control fucking monster. Penny knows this. However, Penny also lied to us about the situation and tried to use us as a shield so that her daughter could not move back in. She also lied to us about how her court proceedings would affect us – this resulted in us having to move out in 2 weeks or less with no notice. She was upset that we didn’t pay the next month’s rent… rent and all utility bills for a place we would no longer be living in. What we DID do was give her our share of the utilities up to the point we moved out, even though we were under no obligation to do so. And rather than hand the money over to her like she had wanted, we went directly to the offices and paid only our share, leaving the rest for her to deal with. She had also lied and said the landlord had not wanted to add our names to the lease. After we moved out and were settled in, I contacted the landlord. He was surprised to learn we had moved out, as he had been expecting Penny to be moving out and us to take over with a new lease. He had also been willing to lower the rent because my husband was on disability.
Well… I bumped into Penny oh, about a week ago at the laundromat. First time I’ve seen her, really, since we moved out. Life has not been kind to her. That daughter I mentioned? Made Penny a grandmother, and Penny is raising the baby. She’d bought a trailer, and had to give it up again. Her mother, last I knew, lived on her own in low income housing. A nice little place, too. Now she lives with Penny and her roommate. In the time since we moved out, with the exception of my Asshole Neighbor Eddie and my older sister whom I’ve written about before, we’ve actually been doing much better physically, emotionally, and financially. Our lives have been more stable, and less drama filled (again, with the exception of the 2 things mentioned above). Bumping into her made me remember to appreciate what I have gained and what I have.
And lastly… that dastardly sister who lived with me for a good chunk of 2015 (as read about in my Word to the Wise series of posts…) For those who don’t want to read that clusterfuck, here’s the long and short f it. I let my sister move in, in good faith that she would maintain the progress that she had made, and look for a job. Four months or thereabouts fly by, I’ve had enough, tell her to get a job. All hell breaks loose and we end up falsely imprisoned in our own home, scared out f our minds, and she threatens to have my child taken away for the sole fact that she had her kids taken from her and I made her upset by telling her to get a job or get out. We finally managed to kick her out. But the lasting damage to my marriage, and to my mother’s mental state, is still evident. Last we knew, she had gone to Savannah. We haven’t seen her since my mom stopped by her motel a few days after we kicked her out, to let her know my dad was dead.
Well… I saw her Saturday. Same laundromat as Penny. Thankfully, unlike with Penny, I was already done and loading up my car when she showed up. I noticed her getting out of a car that happened to have parked right in front of me. I was halfway through loading up my car when she came back out of the laundromat and called me out by name to say hi. Needless to say, given her history with me, I wanted out of there ASAP. I did try to be kind-of polite because hey, we were in a public place. But still… it had me rather shaken up. If I was a drinker, Saturday is the day I would have switched from beer to whisky, that’s for certain.
So what did I learn from THAT encounter? Well… it might be time to look for another laundromat. Unfortunately, that one is the only one with free wifi.
Ah, higher frequency of awkward and unwanted reunions. Such is the price we pay for quieter, more relaxed and peaceful living.