Lies to make people feel better

Written by Louise

I told a lie yesterday. I wish I hadn’t, but I don’t know how I would have done it differently.

There’s a guy been coming every week to clean my pool, ever since I neglected it all last winter and through the spring, and he got rid of the green in July, and got it clean and ready for swimming in. After that, I could have maintained it myself, but it just felt easier to let him go on doing it. And it wasn’t like I couldn’t afford to pay him.

But after a few weeks, it started to get annoying. He always came on the same day every week, but I never knew exactly what time he was going to turn up. I kept finding myself wondering, “Should I feed the animals now, or should I wait? If I do it now, is he going to arrive just as I’ve got everything ready and all the tins open?” (Feeding 6 cats, with a range of different needs and likes and dislikes, is complicated enough. Trying to deal with 2 overexcited dogs when someone they know arrives at the house, at the same time, makes it even more challenging.)

And then there are the¬†little annoying things. He smokes, and he lights up when he’s in my garden. He’s as considerate as a smoker can be, and he tries to keep it away from me, but smokers don’t realise how bad the smell is, and how I can still smell it even if he’s on the other side of the garden … or how the wind can catch it and suck all those cancer chemicals straight into the house for my cats to breathe. And he leaves his cigarette ends on the ground. Most smokers don’t even think that’s littering. I find it disgusting.

Then we move on to the tiny annoying things that trigger my OCD. Every week, the day after he’s been, I go to get the net to clean the debris from the surface of the water, and there’s something on top of it. How inconsiderate! He does the main clean, so he knows I’m never going to need the vacuum or the brush, and yet he always leaves one of them on top of the net.

I know … How many seconds does it take to swap them round, exactly? But OCD doesn’t work like that. OCD has me thinking, “Bloody men. Never think, always make life difficult.” Which is totally not true, of course, but most people who recognise their OCD understand that it tells them a lot of things that aren’t true.

So, I had to make a decision. Either I just put up with the annoyance of his randomly timed visits, and with all the other minor irritations, or I start looking after the pool myself.

I decided on the latter.

The trouble is, it’s rather difficult to tell someone they annoy you and you don’t want them around any more. It seems like a rather hurtful thing to say, especially since it’s my fault that people irritate me so easily, not his. So, I lied.

I made an excuse about having a cash flow problem. I said I’d have to manage the pool myself “for a few weeks, until it’s sorted out,” knowing full well that those few weeks will go on a lot longer, that they will most likely be permanent.

But I’m not sure what I could have done differently. The truth would have been complicated:

“It’s not your fault that some of the things you do irritate me; it’s my fault that I’m so easily irritated.”

How complicated do you want to make it when you’re talking to the guy who cleans your pool?

So, I lied, and I’m annoyed with myself about it. I must try harder.

About the author


Animal lover, asexual, blogger, cyclist, daughter, dreamer, entrepreneur, expat, optimist, procrastinator, reader, realist, rescuer, runner, sister, writer ... Hate labels? Me too. Just read my blog.

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