A neighbor I rarely see and even more seldom speak with comes up to me and starts yacking. I can’t run away screaming (again) I was told so I stand there. I don’t even bother pretending to give a shit. I feel standing there is enough.
He starts telling me about his medical issues. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Ugh, that’s the worst!’
But you’d be wrong.
After we cover him we move on to the health of a friend of his. If hearing the random medical issues of someone you barely nod to is bad hearing it second hand about someone you’ve never laid eyes on is worse. Much worse.
“It got so bad he had to have a liver transplant.” I give him my ‘oh, that would be interesting to someone else.’ face. “It was a stranger. Imagine that. When he got better he met the donor. He said it was very emotional for everyone. I maintain my previous expression. “I’m on the list for a new heart.” My face is starting to cramp. “And you know, if I’m ever lucky enough to get one I’d like to meet my donor.”
Finally! An expression change. I wait beat to see if he goes to that neighborly ‘Ha! Just pulling your leg, neighbor.’ friendly shit. But he doesn’t. He’s seriously awaiting my response. He’s in a genuine moment here.
I know he’s a father. I know he has a job where a boss has expectations for him. He may even have more than one friend who enjoys his company.
What can you say in response to something there may not be enough beer in the region for me to forget?
“Well, for the sake of humanity I hope you never get the chance.”
Just so everyone is clear on this I am saying I hope he doesn’t get a new heart which will benefit his health and the doctor doing the operation. I’d rather give the next heart to a baboon.
“Oh, it’s not going to get better but I appreciate your kind words.”
Should I tell him my baboon theory or should I just let it go knowing it is possible some people are too dumb to be insulted?
Should I say what I’m thinking? ‘No, I’m not being kind. I’m saying you shouldn’t get one. You broke the first one so I’m sure you’ll fuck up the next one.’?
But it’s true, I don’t want some dead guy who’s last thoughts were ‘At least I’m doing good for someone.’ only to find out in the afterlife that he squandered his healthy heart to a two pizza for lunch moron.
Or should I listen to the other words that are ringing in my head, ‘I swear, if you piss off one more neighbor I’m going to kick you out.’?
I don’t run, I don’t scream but I do walk away quickly. Very, very quickly.