As I get older, I wonder if I am becoming more cynical. The world is full of strange people and I used to love the world for this. However, in recent years, I’ve had to learn to be very careful of the strange people washing up on the shore of my life. Not because they are necessarily evil incarnate, but because they seem to becoming stupid to the point of dangerous.
Let me use an example.
I live next door to an illegal immigrant from Eastern Europe. He works in construction and is very friendly. However, he always needs something. So far, he has perpetually borrowed a phone charger, my toolset, and too much food to inventory. He also seems to think that I am a magician with anything electronic.
One day he needed help setting up a Google account on his phone. I literally did nothing but walk him through the steps. Then the next day I had a man from Ghana hammering on my front door. When I opened it, he held out his phone and started asking me to fix it for him.
Naturally, I explained I couldn’t. However, this hasn’t stopped several other Serbs, North Africans, and a French person (who all work in the construction industry) hammering on my door between 4am and 8am (when their shift starts), before pleading with me to ‘fix’ their phones also.
Now, I have tried to be civil with this matter. I realized that my neighbor was telling his work friends that I am some kind of iPhone genius and I told him to stop. Sadly, he didn’t and then today happened…
At 3pm the mobile grocery store driver bleeped his horn and I went out to restock on water and essentials. He parks a little way up the street and as I got there, I noticed a man behind me starting to knock at my front door. I shouted for him to stop and he started shouting something in a quite aggressive way at me. (He didn’t speak English and I don’t speak his language). Then to my horror, he opened my door and went inside. As he did, I heard my dog Chico go crazy. Then I heard a yelp, dropped my tins of tuna and raced back.
Inside, I found the man coming back from the end of my corridor shouting “He Bite!” - Meaning that this guy has literally trespassed in and searched my house for me, and literally has the audacity to complain that my Chihuahua has attacked him. Then he proceeds to get out his phone, hold it at me, and start shouting "Please, you fix for me."
Now, I would like to say that I embraced my inner caveman and threw this guy out onto the street. However, the man in question was at least a foot taller than me and obviously had no limits. Thankfully, Mario, my mobile grocer, had seen what had happened, followed me, and did the throwing out for me. Maltese is also nearly identical to the language spoken by my home intruder, and so out on the street, he got a verbal lesson in basically, how not to be an idiot. (Actually, I think a lot of racial slurs started flying also, but I’m being as PC as possible here.)
(My dog has been a bit more reserved than usual but is A-okay by the way).
For me, this was the final straw. I’ve asked my neighbor to make it clear that I am not an iPhone repair person to whoever he has told I am. I was also a bit put out when after I asked for my toolset back when my toilet and shower broke a while ago, he said no because it was at his work and to this day hasn’t returned it.
For this reason, I confronted him a few hours ago and made it abundantly clear that the next time I have him or anyone he sends knocking at my door (or waltzing in unannounced), I’m reporting him to the police. I even did 30 push-ups beforehand to look a bit bulked up and super serious.
Needless to say, I have likely now made an enemy of the local Serbian community. However, in retrospect, I have been a pushover for far too long. Not just with my neighbor, but with several other people. This includes freelance clients. And what has it got me but escalating situations (which in freelancing make me poorer), and in real life put me and my furry loved one in the way of actual physical harm?
For this reason, I’ve decided to test being a horribly mean and self-centered person for the rest of 2019. Of course, I won’t reallistically accomplish this. What I am going to do though, is completely put an end to all favors, acts of generosity and my usual 'just let it go’ mentality.
I personally feel sad about this. However, it seems like the more entertaining I am of people who lack basic common sense, the more it inevitably results in me being walked all over. The only question is, will I profit financially by being 100% self-centered? - And if I do, might I become a horrible person in the long-term?