Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Mean...

There's a song title for you, Kelly!

Regardless of whether it's a song or not, for me, it's true. Got a call last night, and instead of letting the answering machine pick it up like I normally do, as I'm expecting a call from my brother-in-law about a fencing project he's got coming up this weekend, it's Nicole, Rich's cousins' wife.

We haven't heard from them directly in years. Ever since we bought our house, actually, which was fine by me, as I can't stand to be around Bill. He's an arrogant, opinionated, know-it-all bully, all in the guise of "your best buddy knows best" kind of attitude. But I was polite (even after figuring out who was on the other end of the line), handed the phone to Rich, and let him deal with them.

The only reason we heard from them last night? Lillian, their daughter, is turning four.

Now, don't get me wrong. We never hear from anyone unless it's because they want something, whether that be for company, movie watching, tubing, getting together for a game night, help on a project of some type--and that's fine because these people who are calling are more than willing to reciprocate when I'm in need of company, a game night, what-have-you.

The fact of the matter stands, though, is that these times, when Rich and I have to spend money on a gift of some sort, is the only time we ever here from Bill and Nicole, let alone most of Rich's other cousins. My cousins, you ask? Never hear from them. I see them maybe at Christmas, and at the occasional family reunion or some-such thing. Never for anything else, but that's also fine, because when we do see each other, we don't have to do the dance of "Why don't you call?"

But that's how every single fucking CONVERSATION starts with Bill, to which I reply ((always) "Why don't you call?" (You would think he'd get a clue...) These conversation go something like this, like when we were all at Rich's cousin's Chrissie's house for, guess what, a birthday party:

Bill: Hey, guys, what's up?
Me: Not much, how are you?
Bill: Not to bad. We haven't heard form you guys in a while.
Me: And we haven't heard form you, either.
(Rich wanders off, having memorized this passive-aggressive dance too many times)
Bill: How come we never see you anymore?
(We use to rent an apartment from Rich's great-aunt, Bill's grandmother, in which Bill thought he was the landlord, and thus, was always coming over unannounced.)
Me: We live far away now. (Okay, like thirty minutes, not that far.)
Bill: You guys should come down sometime and hang out.
Me: You mean like the last time you invited us down for dinner, decided you didn't feel like cooking, ordered Chinese, then charged us?
Bill: Didn't you guys want Chinese?
Me: If I had wanted Chinese, I'd've ordered it from my house.
Bill: We really haven't talked since then, either. What's up with that?
Me: (Screaming in my mind: And you can't connect the dots here?!?!?!?!) Yeah, well, we're busy.
Bill: Give me a call next week! We'll try to plan something...
Then what happens is Rich and Bill will play phone tag for about a week, and then we have to do the dance all over again the next time one of his cousins wants us to buy a birthday present for one of their kids....

I never did like Bill, but this is what happened to make me stop even trying to be nice. The day after we moved out of the apartment, Bill called:

Bill: Hey, dude, we need to talk.
Me: Sure, what's up?
Bill: There's spots on the carpet in the bedroom and living room.
Me: ... and?
Bill: Why didn't you get the carpets cleaned?
Me: Bill, we had those carpets cleaned before we moved in, remember? After you moved out, having laid carpet remnants all over the house? That already had spots all over them? And they were cleaned again when we moved out, the spots are permanent, as you well know.
Bill: What? No, you're wrong. You need to have them cleaned again.
Me: Like hell! They were spotted when we moved in! You even said, when we were looking at the apartment, 'Oh, don't worry about those, it's because these are remnants.'
Bill: No, I--
Me: And so I called your grandmother, and she has written on our first month's rent receipt that those spots were already fuckin' there!
Bill: That--
Me: So I am not shelling out another $100 so you, who are not even the landlord, can feel like you've made some type f contribution to the word at large.
(A moment of silence)
Bill: So are you going to clean them or not?
Me: Are you kidding me?
Bill: No.
Me: No.
Bill: No, what?
Me: You wanna play landlord? You pay for them. (Click.)
Yes, Bill's as dense as he sounds. God bless poor Rich for even having the balls to say to them when they called that we already had plans. Which we do, of course, but it's that much sweeter that we didn't have to lie to get out of going.

Incidentally, my stupid younger brother then rented the apartment, and he ended up putting in new carpets at his own expense, even though Rich and I told him not to move in. He now hates Bill as much as we do. Fate is funny that way.

And Tammy? Thank you for inviting us to Tennessee that weekend... you are a better friend than you know!

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