Working on My Boundaries

Just when I think I am more evolved and am getting better at working my stuff on my Enneagram #2, along comes a former store employee that drove me bonkers. “HI JANE!!!!”, at decibels that rival the War Birds, “YOU ARE STILL WORKING HERE AND AT THE LIBRARY?”

I don’t want to tell her one thing about myself. I am sometimes like that and do not let all people into my typically open world. I find that I am a good actress when I am called on to pretend a few times a year. The reason for my fakeness those few times a year are because I am not interested in wasting the little energy I have on dealing with people that I don’t want to see. Why be angry? I am sure someone loves them, but it doesn’t have to be me.

I had wasted enough time years ago explaining to her why you don’t pet service dogs in training especially when it says, “Please don’t pet me. I am a service dog in training.” or something like that. Then there was the time I had to tell her that if she was going to refer to Asian people as Orientals over the walkies at work and China-men in person, although the particular people involved at that moment were not Chinese citizens as they were American, then she should really be educated in cultures , geography and modern vernacular. Her response to that was the her now nephew was Oriental and he didn’t mind it at all that she called him that. I suggested at the time that she could be mistaken about his feelings and that perhaps she should discuss it with him.

There was the time that someone had inconsolable crying children in the store and she walked up to them and told them that they were bothering other customers, that she had heard people complain and maybe they should call it a day. I get that a bit as some parents don’t understand that buying nice smelling candles and soft blankets is not a diaper and milk emergency run. Still, you don’t tell people that as maybe they haven’t been outside of the house for a while and this was their best chance to see other life forms. New parenting, gee, all parenting is hard.

Then there was the time she called me over on the walkie to ask if I would make her cement leaves for her garden. She heard that I make those as she said she would pay me to redo her garden and buy several of the leaves. I didn’t bite as I wanted my leaves to go to a good home and that I would have to go over there to deliver them and I didn’t want to get involved with her.

Then there was the time that she dragged me into the office to have a sit down with the managers and herself about why I was not her friend. At that time I told her that we didn’t need to be friends, but did have to work together as employees which was adequate and besides, “You can’t make me.” The managers were great and had tried to hide little amused smiles on their faces as I was getting up to excuse myself as there was work to be done.

She was fired for something and had amassed a bag of items she had purchased on QVC for some of the other employees. She was going about the store handing out good bye presents and walked up to me and ordered, “STICK OUT YOUR HAND!” I didn’t. I acted like I didn’t know what she had been doing and said, “What’s up?” She commands, “STICK OUT YOUR HAND AND CLOSE YOUR EYES!!!” I said, “What can I do for you?” She dangled a ginormous ring in front of me. It had a huge yellow stone on it the size of 2 robin’s eggs. She says, “I am giving all my FRIENDS good bye gifts and picked this one out just for you as I know you would just LOVE IT!” I wouldn’t take it and told her that it was thoughtful of her to buy gifts, but it certainly wasn’t necessary. The rest of the conversation was mostly me fighting off the ring and I made a suggestion that she should wear it. I didn’t explain to her that I was not a ring wearer because of my horrible fingernails and if she actually knew me she would know that. That I would never ever wear a ring that size no matter if it were a diamond let alone this yellow. There was not a need for me to be cruel so I didn’t say those things, but I can have boundaries. I drew a little invisible line in the sand. We are not friend and you can’t make me.

There she was again today. I had seen her once when I worked at the library and didn’t make it passed her although I tried my best before she accosted me with questions. Some people would also call my actions passive aggressive. Boundaries. I acknowledged her without answering and instead said. “What are you up to today?” I did see her coming and she was leaving a wake through the store talking one at a time to the three of us that are still there from when she was let go five years ago. Unfortunately I didn’t see her soon enough before I was trapped with the first question. After I asked her what she was up to today, she ended up reyelling the question again, “YOU ARE STILL AT THE LIBRARY, RIGHT?” I told her no and she went on and on about how it was my dream job and that it was amazing that I don’t work there anymore and again, “BUT IT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB!” “Ah, no, ” I responded. The library was a place I imagined to be very different than it was, but didn’t tell her that. She started in with pointing to, perhaps a grandson. She started to tell me all about his clothes and his school. The poor kid looked like he was wishing to be anywhere else. I said hi and he just starred at me. I assumed that he was not used to talking.

Then I just couldn’t stand it any longer I put my finger to my ear piece as if receiving a request to do some urgent business in the store, grabbed the mic hanging off my lanyard and talked into it pretending to answer their request. “Sure, I’ll get right on that. Thank you.” I walked away. I’m not mean, I just have boundaries.


I was at work today when a woman who seemed to be a good 15 years ahead of me came up to me asking about a skin care product. I don’t know much of anything about cosmetics and I called on the headset for someone that worked that beauty area to lend a hand. While we waited for help from a much more in the know person, she asked what I used because I had no wrinkles. I laughed, thanked her and told her there were a few reasons for that. She wanted to know what I put on my face. I told her i use soap and water to wash, and SPF foundation and some eye makeup to make me look like I am awake behind my glasses.

I didn’t want to tell her that my wrinkly gene pool is shallow and that having extra weight on sort of plumbs out those spots. I’m lucky like that. So I did not. She also had a hard time reading the back of the bottles so her eye sight is not that great either. I suggested she look for Retinol if she was really wanted to put something on for wrinkles. I tried reading the backs for her too and you know how that might have gone. Where was my young colleague anyway, who wears ALL the makeup? She is good!

She showed up and I passed the customer onto the expert and listened into the convo from afar. The woman wanted to know how she could get rid of all her wrinkles. Then she wanted to know what was the best product we had. She wanted to know about comparable products and I heard my colleague telling her suggestions of products we had in stock and where she could find new info on the internet. This didn’t work as the customer didn’t own a computer. Then she wanted to know how long it would take for the product to work and if it didn’t if she could return it for a refund. My co-worker was so good with her and told her the news that we don’t take back used beauty products, siting the health factor. The lady was hopeful and walked off with some Retinol infused something.

I was concerned for her right away when I saw her looking at anti-wrinkle creams. There is no way to fix all the wrecked skin unless you want to have surgery and then a lot of times it just looks nasty. For example: Kenny Roger’s eyes. Yikes.

Maybe it is just me, but this lady was sweet, kind, polite and nice. I put a lot of store into nice and that is what I remembered. I am not sure I could even now pick her out of a line-up, but if she would talk as nicely as she did to us, I would know her as I remembered that about her.

I imagine it is easy for me to always be surprised at the women looking at anti-wrinkle cream as mine appear to be full with someone looking with compromised vision. I have gazed at it a time or two myself. I do use make-up too as it makes me feel good and I suppose that is the goal for these others as well.

I have always struggled with my appearance so I shouldn’t be surprised that others would put such stock in theirs as well, even if their worries are about different parts. As I age I have increasingly been thinking about the people who were physically gorgeous as a young person and how hard that is for them as their face takes on someone they might not recognize and they fret about it. They have put so much value on that look that now that it is changing to something new they cannot abide it and are holding the hands of time back with so much superficial stuff. I have some friends that have taken the changes in stride and it shows as sort of a glow. I like that, but they also had other things that were important to share and it seeps out of their pores like gold. All of my friends are gorgeous. Truly.

The other day two 45’s came into the store and they are beautiful, but had gobs of make-up on and it seems the tipping point is about to go over with one more eye lash. They are at that point just before the skin on their upper arms separates from their muscle a wee little bit, despite their work outs and Pilates. I applaud them for staying in shape and I will cheer them on, but their beauty slumped tragically in my eyes when they dropped their item number on the floor and they couldn’t pick them up to hand them to me because they just had their nails done so they kicked it over to me.

You be you and I’ll be me, wrinkles and all.