Markus Zusak has a cool narrator for his novel, The Book Thief. It’s Death. Death realizes that he constantly underestimates and overestimates human beings, but that he is never able to estimate them.

I think he’s on to something here. I think this is why I can’t come up with a good plan of action for living the rest of my life. Patti LaBelle figured out her new attitude. Why can’t I?

You trust someone. Then they do something cruel, so you writhe in pain until you come up with your new theory that he or she is a piece of shit not to be trusted. Then they do something kind. Now what? You almost wish they didn’t, for now you have to use a lot of energy to try to figure out who they really are. You don’t want to trust and get hurt again but how can you ignore what they just did? You may even say that doing the nice thing was really them being cruel by confusing you.

I’m beginning to think that people are more inconsistent than I can possibly imagine. This is why my ex shows concern that he needs to take my name off of the motor club insurance when he didn’t have to pay for me to be on it at all for the past few years. Then, the same day, he refuses to sign the listing agreement to sell the house because it has a clause that gives our daughter and me time to find a suitable place to live.

Everyone is inconsistent. But there is a difference between a pattern of not caring and occasional screw-ups.

How about this, Patti? Trust people who seem to deserve it. Stop trusting them if they have patterns of being untrustworthy. Realize that most people will not stay qualified to be true friends. Expect that there are some gems out there that will eventually make the cut. Expect to be alternately hurt and happy as everybody else is randomly mean and kind.

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