Monday, April 21, 2014

The Bitch With the Checkbook

There's an old woman in the congregation whom I genuinely dislike. 

I'm sorry but it's true.  And I'm not the only one who doesn't like her. 

People tolerate her because she's in "the club." By that I mean she grew up here knowing others in the community, and she has a little money.  I say people tolerate her, but she has pretty much used up the good will of the community.  At age ninety-five, she's had plenty of time to use up everyone.  

She once demanded that I round up some people to help her at her convenience to pack her belongings and move her to an apartment. It's not like she was a poor person with no resources. She could hire every bit of the work done to her specifications.  But no, she felt like people were obligated to help her.  She was "so disappointed" when I told her there wasn't going to be anyone available. (Actually, there were quite a few people who tried to help her).  

She once called me over to her home to give me a sizable check for the church. I really didn't want to go, but the church wasn't at a place for me to tell her to take her check and shove it up her dried up old... whatever.  She took out her checkbook, wrote a word, then looked up to complain about something. She'd write another word, then look up and do it all again. I spent two hours listening to her moan and shed faux tears about how badly she has been treated over the years. And that's the last time I will be held hostage in that manner. 

Regarding her money, she constantly waves it in my face as she tries to get me to do her bidding.  I'm sure she thinks she's forcing me when in fact, I'm gathering all the kindness I can to keep from calling her the bitch she is and walking out.  

Recently, she asked if someone would give her rides to church (I can't tell you how many times I listened to her tell how the six accidents she'd had in the space of a week were other people's fault). No one was willing to volunteer to take her.  They'd all had enough.  

If this were a matter of dementia making her unpleasant, I would continue to try to help her in some way.  But you know what? She has always been bitter, cranky, and demanding and she has driven off or used up a sizable number of people in her life. This is a matter of someone reaping what she sows.  

On the other hand, most of us can blame our problems on our own choices and actions. 

The only thing that keeps me from completely writing her off is not her money--that's working against her, frankly. If she were poor and crazy I'd still be trying to help her. The thing that keeps me from shunning her is that she is a human being in this community and for whatever reason, she is alone and in my parish... or jurisdiction... or you know what I mean.   


  1. I can relate to dealing with unpleasant people at work, though none at my current job are quite as bad as this lovely lady you describe. We had some real doozies at my last job.

    It would certainly be easier to just not care about such people, but I don't think either of us is wired that way.