Shade or Sun?

For the last few weeks, weird guys have been walking up and down my street. Living in a small town you know who does and doesn’t belong on your sidewalk, and these guys don’t. We have neighborhood watch and I told my neighborhood captains that something’s fishy, that I think someone is selling drugs to the west of me. And the drugs they’re selling — as this is Colorado — are not pot.

So on our walk last evening, Bear and I met up with one of the Neighborhood Watch Captains who told me he’d talked to one of the scuzzy looking characters and told him he should take another route.

I said, “That’s fine. It’s his addiction.” This led to a conversation about addiction. Those lead to sad personal stories. Luckily his wife came outside and interrupted us.

I’m an addict, but not the kind that anyone would say, “Oh, she’s an addict.” I’m addicted to addicts. I grew up with an addict and my brother was an addict and my grandfather — my dad’s dad — was an addict. There is a network in addiction and everyone in the family has a role to play.

My role is the role of “good kid” and what I do is make life easy for the addict. It makes me INCREDIBLY HAPPY to do this. I think my dad might have had that role in his family, too, because his sister became an addict, but not his mom. I think my dad may have had the job of defusing my grandfather’s drunken rages and taking care of his mother.

In this role the person gets good feelings from enabling. We are every con artist’s dream, we are the ultimate patsy. It’s very hard to explain this, but my therapist said it, “It feels like home. You feel comfortable around those people.”

I am afraid I fell into the trap yesterday. A normal person would hire a handyman based on recommendations, look for his license, all the concrete things that show “this is a guy to be trusted.” I didn’t do that. I hired him based on price, the fact that we ‘hit it off’ (somewhat important since he’ll be in my space for a while) and something else I cannot define.

Yesterday when he came with the contract, there were red flags that I didn’t notice right away. He talked openly about previous drug use, told me about his family, his hopes for the future and none of this brought up any red flags — but it should have. The contract was a boiler-plate contract from the internet which, again, should have seemed strange but didn’t. It didn’t spell out the work he is going to do and the costs involved. I didn’t pick up on that at the time, either.

Later in the evening, something gnawed at me, “Check out the Facebook page you hired him from” and I did. I looked at his recommendations — ONE, clearly fake leading to a fake page with photos of the kid he’d brought along as his assistant. The kid was cleaned up and “Christianized,” but it was him. I thought, “Shady.”

At three in the morning, though, I woke up fearing I’d been played — again. All the things I should have looked for and didn’t went through my mind. I saw the pattern and I saw that there’s probably no way in the world that I will ever fully escape it. Now I have to deal with this.

He has a small deposit. He’s supposed to show up Monday morning. If he does show up when he says he will, then…the other side of it is MAYBE HE’S TELLING ME THE TRUTH and he is a young dad trying to start a life in a new state. That’s the other side of this. Knowing what I know about myself I find it very, very, very hard to trust my own judgment.

There’s also the fact that back when I lived in “the hood” and was really poor, if I needed home repairs, I pretty much hired any itinerant workman who showed up at my door. It always worked out.

26 thoughts on “Shade or Sun?

  1. It is difficult to know whether he is on the way to a new life or not. There are some that will never manage to succeed and others that are trying and will succeed. I think most of us can tell a tale about it. I wish you all the best with your choice.

    • Thank you. I regret my decision, but there it is. If he shows up, good. If not, I’m out $200. It’s not the end of the world. I just wish sometimes I were organized a little differently…

      • I just think of every lost friend of my children we put up because their parents were out of control….

        • I think of my lost niece, my lost brother, the lost people who came to my house in the barrio in San Diego, some of them were angels, some were kids looking earnestly for “another adult” because they really needed one. Last evening I just thought about how life is so hard for some people or they’re differently equipped. 😦

  2. I read spellbound. I am thousands of miles away and surely the way we do things is different from yours as I read your story. That is the reality of life. Thanks for sharing this story which totally engrosses the reader.

  3. I can relate to both sides of this… hopefully, if he is an addict, he is trying to turn over a new leaf and will look at this as an opportunity for growth and renewal. If not, it will be a lesson for you to listen to that little voice in your head.
    It’s unfortunate that addicts get such a crappy stigma… those that deserve the stigma are the ones that make it difficult for those trying to change.
    I am clean and sober eleven years… like I said, both sides.

  4. Tough one, Martha. I am thinking he will show on Monday. That co-dependence sticks with you–part of your DNA. But not totally a bad thing. Fingers crossed for you.

    • Thank you, Lois. As the day went on, another strange thing happened. I met another neighbor (we had a tea party) and she mentioned that a recycling place was coming to get her old TVs. I mentioned the avocado green stove that was left in my garage. When they came to get her TVs, she sent the guy to me. He was clearly a resurrected rehabbed meth addict. He got the stove and I said, “What do I owe you for hauling that off for me?” He said, “I dunno, 5 bucks?” I went in the house and got four bills and a Sacajawea dollar and took them out to him. His face when he saw that dollar was beautiful. I said, “Thank you so much!!” And he smiled a really happy toothless smile and I thought, “Well, Martha, half the angels you’ve known in your life fell pretty far, first.” I think I’m OK now. ❤

  5. MY contractor isn’t here yet, but he did call to say he’s on the way. He could have walked here by now and with rain expected later, I’m not holding my breath. Yet this guy seems to have all the right qualifications and his background is appropriate and his foreman is solid. I think here it’s more that the “work” time is brief and they always plan to get the job done in ONE day, but it really isn’t one day, so they day they are supposed to be doing your house, they are still finishing the other job and as the season rolls along, they get behinder and behinder. Hell, it took more than a year for the guy to finish fixing our well and though I was sure it would happen, there was NO way I paying him until he was done.

    Drugs, jail (I’ve had a few recent parolees too), and an anxiety-producing sense that if you don’t watch them every minute, they will steal you blind, more out of habit than need … It’s not just you or your addiction or addiction to addiction.

    Have you ever watched “The Money Pit”? Tom Hanks. Shelley Long. Very funny, unless you are in the middle of trying to get some work done!

    • Yeah, The Money Pit is cute. I hope your guy shows up and does a good job in a timely manner. In my case, I discover I no longer care. Yesterday a kind of beatific moment, event, occurred that put it all back in perspective. But I need a garage door. That has to happen somehow.

      • Well, this guy — who STILL isn’t here — has a good chunk of money, so he WILL be here, even if i have to get my son and his big friends to drag him here. I don’t have that money again — and I really need the door!

        • I’m so sorry, Marilyn. This kind of thing is extremely stressful. We’re poor and easy prey because we don’t have the choices people with lots of money have. I hope he turns out to be a good guy.

          • I just got two calls in a row about how they’ll be here any minute and it will all get done today which i consider highly unlikely. You’re right. Money talks. If we were richer, they’d have found a way to be here on time. Or, for that matter, at all.

              • So now, they are coming Monday. IF it doesn’t rain. Thing is, this is not a three hour job. I’m paying a good chunk of change. I don’t expect a half-assed result.

                • You know what’s weird? Back when I was living in the “hood” and hired any illegal alien that knocked on my door, I never worried about it at all and nothing bad ever happened, though there was never a question of giving them a deposit. I don’t know how or why I changed.

                  That being said, I decided for my own self I am more comfortable if I just believe it’s going to work out than I am worrying about what bad can happen. I just realized worrying about it was messing up my life right now.

                  Then, almost as a benediction on this decision, I got a check in the mail from a class action suit I joined ages ago against Wells Fargo for $113 and the girl who didn’t run the blog tour she was paid to run paid me back. Almost to the dollar the deposit I paid the handyman. I felt like the cosmos or whatever was saying “See? If the worst happens you’re not out anything.”

                  And if they don’t show up Monday (my guys) I’m OK with it. It just means I need a plan B which I have formed.

                  None of this helps you at all except maybe the no point worrying bit, but that’s easier said than done.

    • I know. I can’t deal with my niece because there is just too much “blood under the bridge” as a friend of my Aunt Martha’s used to say. I don’t want to know anything about her, having tried everything I’ve known to try for the 39 years of her life. 😦

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