I like helping people. It's not at all altruistic; I just like that they will be grateful to me and will think kindly of me. See? All about me. I like when there's a charity bake sale and I show up with 5 dozen cookies. I like when someone can't find something and I find it for them. I like it all. I have a greedy greedy ego.
That said, I don't like when I help someone and it costs me (not the problem) and they take the help and then walk off with barely a thanks. Nine years ago I let friends use my credit card to book a vacation that ended up costing me $5000. One of these friends was living with me free of charge because her parents changed the locks when they found out she was gay. I haven't heard from this friend in over 7 years, until yesterday when she called to ask me to vote for her friend. The whole thing made me sad. I'm still sad about it. And the thing is, whenever I've seen her in passing these past years, she's said stuff like "Oh yeah, I'm so busy, but we should get together," and then given me this look. You know the look; it's the one a guy gives when he says, "I'll call you," and has no plans to ever call. So then I'm the clingy friend who can't let go after she went to Disney World on my dime.
And I don't like it when I put myself out there and try to be a friend, try to relate to someone and make conversation, and get the other look. The one the guy at the bar gives when he smiles at you and you nod back, and then he curls his lip at you and motions to the not-that-much prettier girl behind you. I mean, really? Open resentment? For simply talking? After the initial checklist- my breath doesn't stink, there's nothing in my teeth, my pants aren't wedged up my ass, I never slept with your husband- it just becomes clear that I am somehow not good enough to talk to you as if we were (gasp!) equals, and that bothers me. Condescension I can handle. I'm a high school drop out with no career and questionable social skills. But open condescension, for merely saying "hi"? What. The. Fuck. People need to learn to roll their eyes after the conversation, not during it. The worst part is that I usually get this particular treatment from my family. And when they're really nice they just don't make eye contact. I get the same "Hi," a stranger would get at the bus stop. Looking everywhere but at me because if they looked at me, I might take it as encouragement to keep talking to them.
I used to read romance novels. Back when I was a single mom and had nothing to do after Ryan went to bed, I read pointless books. And there was one series by one author that I really got into, but she stopped writing them years ago, until now. I just checked out a new one at the library and now as I'm reading it, the first sappy romance novel I've read after getting married, it's much less impressive. The whole "they've been married for years but they still lust after each other and cuddle on the settee" (it's a historical romance; they had settees) thing that used to elicit a derisive snort now seems normal. I mean, that's how I feel about Tom. Isn't that how it is for everybody? If it isn't, I'm sad for them. Unless they went to Disney World on my credit card. Then I'm kinda okay with it.