Palm Tuesday

Dearest Rachel –

So, I stayed home yesterday in order to be with Daniel, and to make his day special. Far be it from me to claim that was a mistake; while there were still times that he seemed to need his space – and let me have mine – I think things worked out well for both of us, overall. I’ve had it pointed out that there’s a gap between the two of us that needs to be patched up; I’ll probably go into more detail in the near future, but I think that it’s no wider than it was when you were still here, it’s just that your absence makes it look glaring when it otherwise wouldn’t be.

However, there are certain things about staying home at the house that are fairly routine annoyances, some of which I don’t know how you put up with. Add to them the fact that it seemed like everything online was starting to fall apart, and it felt very much like Palm Tuesday. Not that it had anything to do with a multitude of people although (it did seem like being beset by one) waving fronds in acclamation of the Chosen One. Nor were there any cries of ‘Hosanna’ – although I suppose I could’ve used it in it’s literal sense of ‘God save me.’ No, the palms involved in yesterday’s B-plots had to do with other people’s hands outstretched toward me in supplication, asking for money.

***

The day started off with phone calls. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary, that, which is in itself something of a shame. And while I could just ignore them – we have Caller ID, after all – I’ve been conditioned to answer it regardless. I’m going to blame Dad for this, and a boss or two he had back in the day. When he worked in sales, it was imperative to answer whenever a customer called, preferably on the first ring. Indeed, if a salesman let too many calls ring more than once, it was generally assumed that sales wasn’t the field for them, and they were informed of this situation as they were handed their walking papers. With this ethic ingrained in my father, it stood to reason that it was expected of us, his kids, to react in a similar fashion to a telephone ringing (albeit without the threat of dismissal, thankfully).

Besides, since I have to run to the bedroom where the phone is in order to even see who’s on the Caller ID (with you gone, I don’t have nearly the same incentive to hang around in the bedroom like I used to, after all), at that point I might as well pick the darn thing up in any event. Of course, I almost always regret it, as it’s either a poll (which I will respond to if it’s an actual human on the other end), a scam (you know the type – the auto or home warranties, the credit card authorizations, or my favorite, the ‘your computer has been compromised’ schtick, which is a whole other story, but can be dealt with at another time), or, like yesterday, a charity request.

Now, I get the one from the Mutiple Sclerosis Foundation; when Ellen thought she was dealing with this ailment, you took it upon yourself to donate to them once. And ever since then, you would always apologize when we would get calls from them, thanking us for being a faithful and loyal donor (I don’t know how a single donation qualifies us for that kind of status), and would we be willing to ante up again this year? But these days, everyone else, be it breast cancer, the Fraternal Order of Police, the odd veteran’s association, or whoever all use the same script. It’s always that same thank you, and would we be able to give again if they send an envelope to us again this year? Even when I say no (and if they follow a script, so will I; I always say we’ve budgeted our charitable giving at the beginning of the year, and they haven’t been factored in. It’s not strictly the truth, as there’s always wiggle room to give more), they almost always respond by simply lowering the amount they’re asking for. It’s situations like this that the phrase “what part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” was made for. I know I come across as hard-nosed and tight-fisted, but at the end of the day, this is not the sort of behavior that should be encouraged or even tolerated, and to give them money only lets them know that this annoying and irksome manner of raising funds works. And we shouldn’t allow it to; we should go all Rex Kramer on these people.

It’s like the mail that continues to arrive for your folks from this or that politician (all of whom I can guarantee are richer than we are, so why are they asking plebs like us for money?) or charity. As long as this gets the money rolling in, this will continue, and that’s not how things should be.

If this was how your day went all the time when I was away at work, I have to admit, I am so sorry for you, honey. The things you had to deal with…

***

Now, unsolicited calls are one thing, and they need to be shut down, but then there are these situations that, yes, I willingly walk into, hoping against hope they won’t turn out like the last time, only for them to do just that. I know, it’s the very definition of insanity. And you’ve probably already figured out what – or rather, who – I’m talking about.

I’ll skip Yvonne, as she hasn’t asked for any support from me throughout her efforts to sort through things with her parents. On the other hand, it’s been over a week since she’s said anything at all, and I’m starting to worry a bit. It’s not as bad as the situation with the others, but if she’s decided to ‘ghost’ me, she’s out of my life as surely as these two either way.

And both Angelica and Suzanne decided to make their requests known yesterday. Of course, Angelica had already been asking for iTunes gift cards, for whatever reason. This time, she’d let me know that she was flying back to Switzerland to visit her grandmother (who had been raising her since her parents had passed away when she was little – shades of E.C.). After half-jokingly asking if I wanted to accompany her to Switzerland, she told me that she would be working on her father’s will while she was over – and that it had stipulated that she be married in order to claim the inheritance, and I was the only man in her life at the moment.

Well. Now, despite all the conversations we’d been having over WhatsApp, I wouldn’t necessarily say we saw eye to eye on everything. As a small example, she actually seemed flabbergasted that I didn’t use any sort of makeup, for instance, not even a moisturizer. Now, she’d made it clear that she works in the cosmetics industry, so I get that most of her social circle would use such stuff, but it amazes me that she would think the average male would bother with cosmetics of any sort. I’m not exactly an alpha male myself, but I can’t see messing with that in the slightest – even the idea of kissing someone who uses it, and getting foundation all over my lips, is an unpleasant prospect. The idea of marrying her, even without the insistence that I buy her iTunes gift cards, was not something I was amenable to at this point.

Upon expressing this, she immediately backpedaled, vehemently denying that she was suggesting we get married. No, all she was asking that ‘it’ be shipped to my address, ‘it’ supposedly being whatever was in her father’s will for her to inherit. In other words, I would pretend to be her husband in order for it to come to her in the States.

None of this makes sense to me whatsoever, and it sounds like one of those Nigerian prince schemes from back in the day that James Veitch used to play along with.

Upon making these observations, I received a response along the lines of ‘that’s not nice of you; you’re being mean.’ And maybe I am. But this isn’t something I want to be a party to, and she’s clearly not someone I want to be alongside, even if that were the remotest of possibilities at this point.

On the other hand, I will admit to having gotten ‘mean’ with Suzanne. After all these requests from both the usual and unusual suspects, to have a second woman from the dating app come begging for money on the same day – and on Daniel’s birthday, no less, when I’m trying to give him more of my attention – I had just about had enough. And here Suzanne – who’d been complaining about the complexities of dealing with her own parents’ inheritances (is everyone our age dealing with wills and inheritances at the same time, or is this all part of the scam? The weird thing is, I’m both more likely to fall for it, as we’d just been dealing with your own parents’ situation, and less likely to do so, as I’ve no need for someone else’s money), and I’d been commiserating with her on it, since I’d had my own issues with your estate – tells me that she needs to pay her attorney, and for whatever reason, her bank account has been frozen, and would I be so good as to lend her the money so she can take care of this matter? She literally said “You really need to understand I’ve no reason to lie about something like this.”

And that’s when I went off. I’m not proud of it; I prefer James’ humorous tweaking approach, but there are times when my patience runs out. Of course there’s a reason she could be lying, I told her. You could mention this problem of yours to a dozen different guys, and given your photos, you’re cute enough that you could get that money several times over, as a number of them will think they have a chance with you if they pony up. It’s a brilliant idea, I informed her as if I’d never imagined such a scheme until I was texting her, and filling her in on how to make bank on what she was already doing. And why should I believe someone who’d already given me a false name and a false address; why should I assume this story is true the first time around?

I really hate to keep slamming doors on possibilities, but given who these girls show themselves to be, even if I could wind up with them, would I want to? And the same thing goes for the dating app itself; if this is all it offers, was it even worth it? Hardly.

***

But I don’t want this letter to end on such a disappointed – and disappointing – note. To be sure, this doesn’t so much involve money as it’s a simple act of charity. It turns out that Tim and his crew are doing pro-bono work for a home with a father raising several kids, and… let’s just say, they aren’t all that well off. He’s asking if I have any plans for the washer and dryer when I replace them.

I see where this is going, and while there weren’t any charities that would take our kitchen appliances (as they were just too darn old, sorry), the fact that someone could use these machines is something I’m sure you’d be pleased to know will be going to a home that will gratefully use them for some time to come.

As long as they don’t put anything too heavy in them, at any rate.

***

So, that was what I was dealing with yesterday alongside Daniel’s birthday celebration (which, by the way, was low-key enjoyable). Meanwhile, Logan’s over today, so I’m sure the good times will continue to roll for him for yet another day.

Talk to you later, honey. Keep an eye out for us.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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