Sunday, June 30, 2013

Judgmental - or a good judge of character?

Out of the blue I got an email on Facebook:

Saw you on shomer singles!

I'm still in that group, although no longer entirely shomer mitzvot. I guess my reasoning is that I could go back to that lifestyle for the right person. So I looked at his profile. Let's call him Obnoxious Guy, or OG.

OG's profile picture shows a woman in a car with an enormous dog. Other pictures he's uploaded include a charming photoshopped version of James Holmes (who shot up a theater full of people watching a Batman movie) in court wearing googly eyeball glasses with springs attached. Unimpressed, I looked at some of his status updates:

BTW....US Supreme Ct just YESTERDAY shot down CA law banning gay marriage in CA.....

I wanna marry....MY DOG, MY GOLDFISH....


Clearly I have nothing in common with this person. So when he sent me a friend request, I deleted it. And soon I heard from him:

may I ask why u rejected the friend req???

Why not be honest? 

I was happy when DOMA was struck down, and you equate gay marriage with bestiality. I don't think we have much in common. Also, I have no idea what you look like from your profile pic.

He's determined not to let me off that easy.

NO....I don't....I'm just asking what's next...If u wanna c a pic of me...just ask...
BOTH r forbidden by the Torah, btw....
ALSO....why can't ppl have diff opinions & STILL be fb friends...
I'm not asking for marriage nor even a date....

And I'm not in the mood to be nice.

I have no idea who you are, but so far I haven't seen anything that would make me want to be friends with you. Also, equating homosexuality with bestiality is just obnoxious. I know both are forbidden by halacha, but that doesn't mean they're equivalent.

Looking at that, a few days later, it does seem a bit harsh. Even though bestiality involves lack of informed consent, whereas homosexuality does not. OG certainly thought I was too harsh:

OF CRSE...feel free to reject my friend req....whatever makes you HAPPY....

I didn't respond, but that didn't stop him.

I did NOT equate them....PLEASE do NOT put words in my mouth...

IF...u can NOT tolerate my posts/ my HONEST opinions...

BLOCK EVERYONE who does not share yr opinions...
whatever makes you HAPPY....

Later he continued:

Well....BOTH are forbidden by the Torah...

Maybe I SHOULD equate them....though I did not mean to b4!!!

How do I attract these idiots? But he struck a nerve.

I don't block people who don't share my opinions, and a lot of my friends have different opinions from me. But I didn't know anything about you until I looked at your profile, and nothing I saw there made me think we'd have anything in common.

Actually, he and I have 31 friends in common. And when I went back to his profile, I saw pictures of him and recognized him as a fat little 50something who's contacted me on several dating sites. Everything he's said has reinforced my confidence in my judgment.

OH....ur such an accepting person...
What am I, a MARTIAN???....

Sarcasm. Nice. You're not a martian, you're just an ugly little man inside and out. And yes, please do give up. I'm not interested.

OG stopped emailing me, and instead started ruminating.

It's VERY EASY to judge someone w/ a prob that WE do NOT have....

What's harder is to imagine how they feel dealing w/ OUR judgment/contempt/disrespect...!

I love how these unattractive and completely unappealing men complain about being rejected by attractive women. And sadly, he's the only man who's expressed any interest in me in weeks.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, June 24, 2013

99 problems but bedbugs ain't one

Yesterday I went out to my ex-brother-in-law's Long Island home to visit the kids. It was amazing. We splashed in the pool, then I mostly straightened Shira's hair (she was going to a bat mitzvah, and I did about a B/B- job on her tresses) and took Malka to lunch. I hadn't seen the girls since January, and Oedipus since March. It was nice to reconnect with them.

Especially nice was the way Malka's face lit up when I gave her some Justin Bieber hair perfume (I got it when we went to the concert last November, but I never really wore it) and how excited she was to show me the makeup she's just acquired. I had some makeup samples and girly things to give the girls -- mascara, highlighter (which is kind of like eyeshadow that you can also put on your cheeks), lip gloss. Unfortunately Oedipus kind of lost out because all I had was girly things, but I took him to "Wicked" so he didn't complain too much.

I had worried that the children would grow distant from me because I'm not seeing them as often. But how they feel about me hasn't changed, and that was a relief.

On the way home, I had to transfer from an express to a local subway at Columbus Circle. The station was crowded; I snagged the last seat on a crowded bench, next to an extremely disheveled woman. From her frizzy peach wig to her stained clothing and threadbare suitcase, every indicator pointed to "homeless" as her status.

I've worked with many homeless and formerly homeless individuals before. But I've never done street outreach, and I don't volunteer my services to random people in the park or on the subway. When I work with homeless people at my clinic, I'm not the only person observing them. They've usually built up a history with other clinicians. There's a chart. You can hazard some predictions as to how they're going to respond to you and whatever intervention you offer.

This woman was a blank slate, or, rather, a smudged slate. She was carrying a women's cloth winter coat that once had probably been described as "oatmeal" or "ecru." Now it was dingy. And she was scratching herself relentlessly. Her arms, neck, knees, ankles.

When I see a homeless person scratching, I think, "BEDBUGS!"

We've had several instances of bedbugs in the clinic where I work. There's a protocol for handling these cases: all of the clinicians will work with them in one room, where they are brought their methadone dose. We try to isolate them as much as possible to prevent contamination.

So far I've been lucky. But sitting next to this woman, her coat draped loosely over her suitcase and dangling close to my leg, her body twitching as she scratched and scratched and muttered to herself, I became nervous.

Unfortunately, standing wasn't an option. I stood for an hour straightening Shira's hair, a sacrifice I was happy to make. But by the evening, my knees were very uncomfortable. So I leaned as far away from the woman and her property as I could, and I watched for bedbugs. (Which I've seen on my patients, so I'd recognize them.)

When the local train pulled into the station, I sprang up and jumped in. When I got home, I took a tramadol painkiller, which is a very mild opiate. (So mild it's not even a controlled substance.) Went to bed at around 9:30, woke up at 4 a.m. scratching.

I thought, "BEDBUGS!!!!" And frantically searched my body and the sheets. But I was the only living macroscopic thing in that bed. There are dust mites, everyone has them. But no bedbugs. And I remembered -- itching skin is an effect of opiate use. Even as mild an opiate as tramadol.

That woman definitely needs help, and I hope she will get it. Still, it looks like she's got 99 problems but bedbugs ain't one.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Happy fucking birthday, Ayelet

So today's my birthday. Another birthday without a husband, children, or house. But I do have a job I'm good at, and I was busy all day. At one point, I noticed my knees were really aching; yesterday I walked a few blocks farther than I normally do, and I'm still regretting that. But then I got caught up in a few more case conferences and forgot the pain.

My aunt Luba is in town. With her daughter and granddaughter. They landed yesterday. She called last week to see if I was available for dinner today. I told her I probably would be. We spoke again this afternoon and chose a time and a restaurant. Even though my knees were killing me and I'm exhausted because of my stupid work schedule, I went.

And Luba showed up with her friend Linda and my mother.

I was immediately incensed. I told her, "You had no right to do that" and stomped out of the restaurant. Scowled all the way home.

For a while, as I ignored Luba's phone calls, I considered what I wanted to tell her. "Fuck you" of course topped the list. I also ruminated over my anger at my mother, who just sent me a birthday card addressed to "Miss Ayelet Survivor." Like I need to be reminded I don't have a husband. I crossed out my address and wrote "Return to Sender" on it.

But I also wanted to explain to Luba that so many people have hurt me badly and none of them have faced any consequences. The personal trainer who destroyed my knees. The co-workers who bullied me. My mother is choosing to financially support the man who sexually abused me. So if he won't face any consequences, she sure as hell will.

Luba also wanted me to meet up with her and her granddaughter on Sunday to show them around Central Park. I think my knees are going to hurt much too much for me to do that.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Low stakes, so how'd I screw it up?

Right around Memorial Day a non-Jewish guy contacted me on OKCupid.

hi there. I liked your profile. Let's chat.


I guess I figured that I have nothing going on, so why not engage in conversation and see what happens? If I'm not going to have a baby and I feel alienated from the frum community, maybe I should expand my horizons.

Sure. Your kids are really cute. I love kids :)


There's a picture of him being attacked by two boys on his profile.

Aww thanks, they are super little monsters. How was your first weekend of summer?


I didn't want to tell him that I stayed in and ordered Chinese food since the knee pain prevents me from painting the town red.

AWESOME. I did absolutely nothing and totally decompressed. How was yours?

I didn't sign my name. I was trying to be kind of cursory, give little bits of information, so he'd be forced to actually ask for my phone number in order to learn more about me. One of those "The Rules" tactics: make him work to get to know you because men like a challenge.

Me too and it was great! Do you live in manhattan? What neighborhood?


I responded even more briefly:

Upper West Side.

And... I haven't heard from him in almost a week. But he keeps looking at my profile almost every day. So what did I do wrong? Usually I only screw things up when I actually want to meet the guy.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"