Sunday, June 12, 2011

In Search of Non-Toxic People

I've made a life decision in the past year, and that's to stop allowing Other People's Problems to encroach on my life. So far, it's worked well.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't care about other people's problems. If a friend has a real problem and needs someone to unload on or a little help, that's fine. What this new rule refers to is Other People who don't really want help, and who don't want to change themselves to end their ongoing problems (Anger, Illness, Codependency, any form of Addiction, you know what I mean.) These people I now simply tolerate and move on from. I'm polite, but I'm no longer getting personally involved. 

I'm going to have to add a new Persona to my list of Other People to avoid, and that's Toxic People. People who raise my ire in some form to the point where it distracts me from my goals and my family's goals, and I get confused. At the Rink, this confusion takes the form of Parental Competition. I can't get involved in that.

Yesterday after I was done with my volunteer shift at the school carnival, I found my friend Lady Cluck. "Someone was looking for you!" she says.
Well, there's a blast from the past. I haven't seen Nutso since Rink Across Town shut down for renovations. "How is she?"
"She's fine. She wanted to know where you were."
"Stitch is only going to be here for four weeks of this session, so he's not enrolled. Plus he'd be in the earlier timeslot anyway, she wouldn't see us even if he was in it."
"She was asking about you. And Stitch."
Of course she was. And I could feel those old hackles raise when Lady Cluck told me that the eldest daughter was now in Gamma, but taking the Beta course again since the two younger siblings were still in that later timeslot. That's not so bad, back crossovers are important. I started to ask where Shuffles and That Other One were, but I stopped myself. That is not important. None of this is.

I felt my competitive self thinking, "but I could get him in a group class for just a little while, just to show her." Then I remembered that while Stitch isn't in Group Classes, true, he will be in Coach's day camp just about every day for the four weeks he is here. Stitch will be skating almost every day, while Nutso's kids will remain in their once-weekly 45 minute class. This is no contest, it's a slaughter, and Nutso has no idea. But that doesn't matter anyway, it's none of her business.

All the same, it was hard to forget Nutso's roving eye and sickly sweet commentary on Stitch as her eldest daughter looked at him with daggers in her eyes. The way Nutso complimented Stitch, I somehow got the feeling she'd grind off his toepicks if given half a chance, because it was all she ever said to me. Whenever I tried to talk about Non-Skating things, she'd gravitate right back to her kid's skating and how the skating school was failing them, and only kids with natural talent like Stitch could do it "at this low-quality place." I felt the need to keep him away from her then, and I still feel it now. For both our sakes. The only thing that made me happy about the jump to Pre-Free was that I'd never have to watch the Oldest Daughter glare at and be snotty to Stitch again. Nor would I have to answer questions and give advice about practice that I knew she wouldn't heed.

Nutso was definitely Toxic. From the lies about hockey, to the endless blaming of the Skating School for her son's lack of progress, the ridiculous Coach Hopping, and all the Rink Door Hovering in between, she was a piece of work. I'm sure I'll see Nutso again at Winter Show, or perhaps at Public Skate if she ever brings her kids to, I don't know, practice?  Something. But I won't tell her our summer plans. She doesn't need to know. I don't need someone else thinking that with Stitch on hiatus for six weeks, their children can "catch up."

(Okay, the thought of Shuffles jumping makes me giggle, so I'm still going to hell.)


  1. Ah, but what to do about sticky toxic people who follow you around and listen in to conversations with which they are not involved so they can spread rumors, lies, and gossip about the rink? Truly, I am not interested in making my problems other people's problems, or making other people's problems my problems. But when a factual answer to a question ("No, I have never had lessons from Coach X") somehow flies back in your face for badmouthing and insulting a coach behind their back, well, it sort of becomes hard to ignore. Toxic people are difficult to ignore (what with the eye daggers and all), but well, sticky toxic people are worse because they will not leave you alone. They make it even more difficult to ignore them when they physically push you out of the way to get to their target of the moment...

  2. T. Sedia- If someone believes gossip, that is their problem and you don't want to be associated with that person anyway. At least around here rink gossip is outrageous and known to be so.
    I don't really care who I offend so I like to start my own ridiculous rumors about myself just for the lulz- I highly recommend it.

  3. Orangechiffon, Dad has this idea to make a shirt that says, "I did it for the Lutz." Your comment made me remember that!

  4. Yeah, it isn't like I try to associate with these people. It's more like newbie person says, "Oh, I want lessons, have you taken from coach X?" And I am like, "No, I have only ever taken from coach Y" (without going on or saying anything else) but mom of talented boy who takes from coach X stands around so she can listen in and goes to coach X who is like paranoid about people smack talking her, so she goes to rink owner (since she is like his #2) and it becomes a BIG thing. Another time someone was asking about coach X being gone to a competition (because they wanted to know about when practice was starting) and mom of talented boy literally pushed me out of the way so she could go listen in on the conversation. There is a lot of coaching DRAMA going on right now and it has effects on everyone. I have been wanting to rant, so I just couldn't help it after reading the post. I have been skating too long to want to deal with this garbage.

    I could try to start rumors about me to see how they fly, but nobody really cares about me, only to make me the bad guy in terms of starting rumors about others. I dunno, I just keep my head down and wait for stuff to blow over.

    "I did it for the Lutz" - I would totally wear that.

  5. Toxic people and sticky toxic people. Brilliant. I'm the goose with the golden eggs when it comes to the sticky ones. Can't shake them.