Saturday, April 20, 2013

Being Stalked by Pod People (off topic) (rant)

I'm in a difficult situation right now.  It's making me feel very sad and very frustrated.
One of my long-time friends is a pod person.
Now you know the old horror-movie cliche where some kind of alien/monster grows an exact replacement of someone (often in some type of pod) and then that pod-grown person takes the original person's place.  There's always that one character who knows something is wrong but no one believes her.
I know I sound like a crazy person but I'm trying to make an analogy here.
Here's another one.
I had a friend, a very good friend that I cared about.  My friend has essentially been murdered and I am being forced to be friends with his murderer, who has taken his place.
I miss my friend who is gone forever.  I don't like his pod replacement.  I tried to like his pod replacement but that person is just not very nice.  And finally I had to say, "Pod person who used to be my dead friend, I don't want to hang out with you. I'm sorry."
And that makes me an evil person I suppose.  A prejudiced horrible mean person.  (Not the first time I've been called bad things, and won't be the last.)
Now I want you to take a moment to think about the situation as I described it and think about if I am mean to say, "you aren't the friend I remember and I don't want to be your friend anymore."
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Now I will tell the story again.
One of my husband's best friends, who is also a good friend to me, has decided to become a woman.  My husband isn't happy with hanging out with a guy in drag so I've inherited the friendship.
I really got along well with the male version of this person.  For the sake of that friendship, I gave the new her a chance.  I gave her my old clothes. I showed her how to wear make-up.  I did her nails. I glared at people who gave her dirty looks or sniggered at her.  (She doesn't look like a woman, she looks like a hockey player wearing make-up & a dress, which is what she essentially is.)  In other words, I tried really hard. 
I sent her make-up tips I found on Pinterest, I went shoe shopping with her, I did girly stuff that I don't even do and I'm a girl.  I used her new name even when she wasn't there (although I often had to add "formerly known as A" when people didn't know who I was talking about).
Some back story.  This is a chronically unemployed person, living off his/her girlfriend (girlfriend is conveniently bisexual).  They have no car.   When she first came out last year as transgender and I told my husband I was going to be supportive, he warned me, "Don't get sucked into being her chauffeur if you're going to hang out with her."
This was our relationship:  I gave her old clothes, extra make-up, did her nails, picked her up, drove her around, dropped her off.  We'd go out to eat and she'd "discover" she didn't have enough money (or any money or her credit card would get declined) and I'd get stuck paying.  Even when she had a job and I did not, I had to pay.   She'd ask me, "while we're out," can I drive her to all her errands.  I don't mind hitting the grocery store once in a while with someone (I can always find something to buy) but a lot of these errands weren't of any interest or relevance to me.  And remember I just paid for lunch in many of these situations.  She'd ask me to drive her 30 miles (one way) or more!  Never a penny for gas money.  One day she had a coupon for a free dessert and let me share the dessert with her and thought that was really generous of her.
Then she started, for lack of a better word, cyber stalking me.  I use the app called FourSquare because I can get free food for "checking in" at restaurants.  She started using the app too and friended me (which is fine, that's what it's for).   Every time I checked into a restaurant she'd either make a comment through FourSquare or immediately text me, usually to complain that I hadn't brought her along.  It started to get really creepy. 
If someone tagged me on Facebook as being with them somewhere she'd make a snide comment to the point where I didn't want anyone tagging me as being anywhere and I started to hide my foursquare check-ins or not checking in if I wasn't getting something free.  
She doesn't understand that as a writer, I often go to restaurants during slow times and I write or do research. 
"Why can't I come along?"   
Well, then I would have to talk to you and that defeats the purpose of my WORKING LUNCH.  
Or if I had lunch with my friend I'm in the middle of a major project with, she'd be like, "oh I could have come too."   
No you can't, you have nothing to contribute to this project and that's what we talk about while we eat.
She also commented on EVERY SINGLE THING I post on Facebook and also liked it.  I posted about something bad happening and she liked that status. I commented, "really, you like that this happened?" and she put "lol"--my mom had to go the hospital and you are laughing out loud and liking it?  
She was constantly texting me and sending me FB private messages about going out to eat and whatnot.  The more she did this, the less I wanted to go out with her.  I started simply not answering her.  She moved from "close friend" to "friend" to "acquaintance" on Facebook over a couple of months.  (She must have me as close friend because she likes and comments within seconds of any of my posts.) 
She sent friend requests on FB to all my best friends.  She is getting married next month (as a man, even though gay marriage is legal in CT) and she invited all my friends to her before-wedding party, her wedding, and her after-wedding party.  Yes, she has no money (no job again) and is having a 3 day wedding.  My friends all think it's super creepy they got invited.  Most of them met her briefly as a man at parties but didn't really talk to him (pronouns get really confusing, more on THAT below).
Also people started to notice that she commented on and liked every one of my statuses.  Creepy and stalker are words that get used a lot.  One friend started to send me a PM every time T (for lack of a better name) commented on my status ("Stalker alert!").
Last month, she was harassing me about going out to lunch.  She wanted to go to a certain restaurant on a certain day.  My husband doesn't like that restaurant and it was his work-from-home day and I always have lunch with him on that day, if he doesn't have a meeting.  I explained that, nicely.  (My husband is gone about 14 hours a day and when he is home at night and weekend, he is often working. I don't spend much time with him but I don't complain because he makes good money.)  T's response, "tell him to come with us!"
(It would be mean of me to say "my husband doesn't want to hang out with a man in drag" which is true and terrible but it's a guy thing and I understand.  Plus my hubby really doesn't like that restaurant!)
(Also, over the same period of time, my husband slowly stopped going out with his friends on Friday night, a group of friends that T's part of.  I never talked to my husband about the T issue but thought it interesting that he pulled away too.)
The day in question came and my husband ended up having a meeting at lunchtime.  So I sighed and sent T a text message.  She responded immediately that she was out with a friend and they'd meet me there.  Huh?  Why didn't she just go with that friend to begin with?
When I was en route to the restaurant my phone was chiming with text after text.  I got there and looked at my phone and it's full of instructions.  Sit here, order us this, blah blah blah.
T came in with her friend, an older guy that I didn't know.  He ended up being a real jerk, saying racist things about President Obama and basically taking over the conversation.  I didn't like him.  Partway through the meal I slipped up and called T "he." I've done it before (20 years of habit can't be erased in a few months) and apologized and moved on and it's been no big deal.  This time, T got really pissed.  She picked up her glass and aimed it at me and said "If you call me 'he' again I'm going to throw my drink in your face."
I basically just stopped talking after that.  I was angry.  The bill came.  The obnoxious friend said to T, "I'll get your meal" and threw down $20 and they left.  The $20 did not cover their meals, which were $8 each plus sodas plus tax and tip.  When I got home I sent a message to T saying "your friend short paid for lunch by a lot, I don't appreciate being stuck with the bill for someone I don't even know."  She wrote back her trademark "lol" to which I responded, "I don't think it's funny, why is it funny?"  No answer.
Combined with the drink thing, I was done with her.  That's when she got moved on FB from "friend" to "acquaintance."  I simply stopped responding to any of her posts.  When she asked about lunch, I made an excuse.   When I was leaving for a birthday weekend away with my husband, she sent me a message "when you get back you have to make my jewelry for my wedding." Not a request, but an order.
I talked about the situation with friends.  My best friend is a bisexual woman.  Another close friend is a gay man.   I talked to both of them, along with another close friend who is a psychologist.  My worry is that in rejecting T's friendship it's going to come across as "you don't like me because I'm transgendered" when it's really "I don't like you because you're a user and you're stalking me."
These 3 people have been FB friended by T and noticed the stalking and think it's creepy and realize that I'm not exaggerating.
My old friend is dead, the man who hung out with my husband and me.  Yes once in a while I did give that friend a ride, but he used to buy me bottles of alcohol in return.  Never once did we pay for his meal when we went out.  I don't understand what happened.
Basically my 3 friends all gave the same advice.  Keep ignoring her, or have it out with her.  I took Road A.  It lasted about a month.
Last week I was trying to win a prize from a restaurant and it involved making a public post on Facebook about the restaurant with a link.  To me, it was clearly an ad (everyone else who saw it knew it was for a contest instantly).  Seconds later, PM:  "can I tag along?"  I think I might have yelled a bit, alone in my house.  I played dumb:  "tag along where?"  "to [restaurant].  I have errands to run."  Meaning, you need to drive me on those errands
I responded that I was really busy and I had no idea what I was doing for lunch or if I was even having lunch and that post was for a contest not declaring an intent to go there immediately.  In reality, I didn't think what I was doing was going to finish until mid-afternoon.   Everything went smoothly and I finished early.  I had other things to do and I wanted to eat quickly and locally so I decided to go to that restaurant after all. 
Less than a minute after I checked in on Foursquare, she texted me "are you mad at me? why didn't you bring me?"  
Time for Road B.
I texted back explaining that I'm not comfortable around someone who at any moment might throw a drink into my face for not liking something I said.  She denied that it ever happened.  Then my phone rang--she was calling, knowing I was in the middle of lunch. I put it to voice mail.  She denied the drink throwing threat again via text.  I reminded her that it was the same day as her friend didn't pay the full amount for lunch.  She magically remembered but denied meaning it.  (It was not a joke, trust me.)   I said the whole situation made me uncomfortable, I didn't want to have to watch my language, I was tired of paying, and I was taking a break from her for while.   During this texting, she was calling me constantly and texting "call me!" over and over.  I finally stopped texting and put the phone on vibrate and put it in my bag.
On the way home I was scared that she would be at my house waiting for me (she lives nearby) but she wasn't.
I retalked to my 3 friends and let them read the texts.  My gay friend thought I was too mean.  The two women both agreed it was about time.
T redoubled her stalking on FB and Foursquare.  Finally I made a FB group that's just her and her girlfriend and now I hide all my statuses from them (except the public ones--I have quite a few followers so I try to post some public stuff every day for them).  She started posting all these "friends are important don't throw them away" pictures on my wall.  (My friend was PMing me "STALKER!  STALKER!" every time a new picture appeared.)   My gay male friend now says I wasn't mean enough.  In fact all 3 of them are saying, "Unfriend her on Facebook and block her." 
I found a setting on my new phone where select contacts can be sent straight to voice mail and activated it for T. 
If I had just met T as a new friend, I wouldn't have stayed friends with her.   Basically she is a new friend.  My old friend is dead.  She's doing the 24/7 for a year living as a woman thing (part of the transition between genders) and he is gone forever.   The funny thing is, I always knew he liked to wear girl's clothes and that he wore women's underwear under his man clothes and he took estrogen pills and I didn't care.  I was surprised that he decided to tell everyone last fall, and rather startled that it wasn't just "hey I like to wear women's clothes" but "hey I'm a woman now and this is my new name and don't ever call me A again."  And I did try, honestly I tried so hard for six month to be supportive of my new transgendered friend, but just as honestly, she isn't a nice person.  Every status on FB is about GLBT rights (which I am all for, and I post those kind of things once in a while, but not every day or every post) and "read my blog about being transgendered," the in-person conversation is about being transgendered, how she can't use public bathrooms and people are mean to her and it takes 3 hours to put on her makeup before she can leave the house.  There's no give and take.  I gave, she took.  I listened, she talked.  I drove, she rode.  She ate, I paid.   I got tired of it.  Am I wrong? I'm sure I'll be deluged with comments explaining how horrible I am (won't be the first time) but honestly I'm at my wit's end with T.
end rant.


Next day edit:  I haven't gotten any negative feedback yet. But I want to reframe this. If you are up at arms because I don't want to be friends with someone transgendered...
Imagine that had a male friend, A.  He died.  His twin sister, T, moved into his apartment to take care of his cat and fell in love with A's bisexual girlfriend and basically stepped partially into A's life.  Because of my affection for A, I tried to be friends with T.  But she was needy and greedy and rude, and she cyber-stalked me, and finally I had to admit the friendship wasn't working out. If I frame it this way, are you still angry?