Mom was too nice

We thought people would act honorably, and say what they mean, rather than behave with a level of subterfuge.

roger.mom.1971If I have told this story before, I’ll tell it again anyway.

My late mother, at some point during the last decade of her life, received a telephone call at her home for a product or service – it little matters what – that she was not interested in receiving. She tells the young man this, and yet he remains on the phone with her another ten minutes or more before the call is finally terminated.

She complains bitterly – well, as resentful as she was capable of getting – that she TOLD him she wasn’t interested. Why didn’t he listen? Why didn’t he hang up? To which I said, “Why didn’t YOU just hang up?” I have nearly perfected the “Thanks but no thanks, bye” thing, upon which I disconnect the call.

But she was expecting that the unknown individual on the other end of the line would do the honorable thing, hear what she has to say, and act accordingly.

I believe that at least two of my mother’s three children, and I’ll acknowledge being one of them, have been hurt and surprised by people who we thought would act honorably, and say what they mean, rather than behave with a level of subterfuge. In retrospect, we should have seen it coming, but because we trusted their words, were not only surprised but hurt. I shan’t get into the details, but my sister’s situation was much worse than mine.

Because my late father was such a strong persona, people often compare us with him. Mom’s influence was there too, and often it is manifest in compassion and fairness. But sometimes, people take niceness for weakness, and this continues to be part of our learning curve.

Today would have been our mother’s 88th birthday. I think of her all the time, mostly with good thoughts.