Sunday, May 21, 2006

There IS a Difference...

...between "nice" and "friendly."

I'm due to pick up Monday and Wednesday morning step classes starting tomorrow. This morning during my regularly scheduled step class, one of my regulars, an older man we'll call Jim, was telling me what format the classes had been following up to this point. "Don't worry," he said, "just do what you do. We'll all be nice to you."

It was at this point that another regular, we'll call HER Crazy Alice (because that's what we really call her) pipes up from the back with "I'll be nice to her if she'll be nice to ME."

Now, you need to understand something. Crazy Alice is a particular personality, and hers is a personality that DOES NOT combine well with mine. I know this, I am aware and smart enough to notice this and, as a consequence, I do my best to not be where she is lest I say or do something really inappropriate. She's gotten in my face more times than I care to recall and, up to (and, I think, including) now, I've managed to keep a relatively professional demeanor in the face of all her uptight, Type-A shit.

When she came out with that crack, I had ALL I could do. "Come on," I said, "I'm nice to you." This earned me a "so so" sign with her hand. I was overcome with a damned near irrepressible urge to sign something right back to her, but I didn't. That was me, being nice.

I'm pretty sure she'll be in step class tomorrow. If the opportunity arises, I'm going to take her aside and, with all the professionalism I can muster, inform her that there's a difference between "nice" and "friendly." Just because I don't want to be her friend, or listen to her go on and on about her obsessive parenting of her thirteen year old son ("I don't know WHY he doesn't want to go shopping with me anymore") or be anywhere near her when she gets going about her useless husband ("I don't understand why he stays so late at work all the time") doesn't mean I'm not nice to her. I nod and smile and say nothing.

Believe me. It's as nice as I can be given the circumstances.


Post a Comment

<< Home