Knitting Like A Sailor

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I am an irritating girl.

With apologies to Snow, although I’m fairly sure that I’m not her irritating girl.* We live more than half the country apart, and I don’t think my reach is quite that long. I know that I am an irritating girl because the last time I asked about a stitch n bitch at the LYS in Charleston, the owner started to tell me where it is, and her mother (co-owner of the store) interrupted her to tell me that I wouldn’t want to go, it’s too far from where I live and I wouldn’t like it. Fair enough. If she felt I wouldn’t enjoy the meetings, she probably would go out of her way to make sure I didn’t. So I don’t go.
This was not the first time that I’ve felt I’m the irritating girl. No, my history of being the irritating girl stretches back into my childhood. I could amuse you with stories of how spastic I was, clingy and needy, or of how the other kids had fun leading me around by my nose. But I won’t. They’re quite painful, actually.

Side note – my good friend Rob, who comments regularly and brings much joy into my life, just text messaged me with a hilarious message involving walruses, bagels and cream cheese. I love you man! Got the new phone, didja? Check your voice mail.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. As I was reading Snow’s posts about her irritating girl, I understood her feelings. Their group was well established, it was a comfortable, entertaining place to go and spend time engaged in interesting conversation while knitting. Someplace where they could relax, be themselves, and let most of it hang out. It sounds wonderful. Then, their irritating girl came along. While I can understand their difficulties, and indeed I do think that irritating girl should probably leave the group, I empathize with their irritating girl. So when I read the comments for her posts and saw people recommending ditching her, publicly humiliating her, and some offering the idea that she should be dealt with by treating her with meanness and outright hurtful behavior, I suffered. I also got very angry. Who the hell were they to think it acceptable to ever do something like that to another being? Do they even know the kind of damage it could cause to an already socially inept person? Is that the way they would appreciate being treated? To answer the last one, I’m pretty positive that no, they wouldn’t want any of that to happen to them, so again I wonder why do they think these are acceptable ways to deal with someone?

Now, I don’t think Snow is evil or is doing anything wrong. She has a difficult issue that she is trying to deal with and asked for advice, and she’s expressing her frustration with the situation at the same time. Something I’ve done on more than on occasion, this post being an example. I don’t think that just because it’s been suggested in her comments that she will run out and behave like a bitch to the girl without provocation. If she’s provoked, well heck I’d likely be a bitch too. I don’t have issues with her. What I don’t like and don’t understand is that why people want to act in the ways suggested in the comments. No one owes this girl free psychological assistance, nor should they be forced to suffer her unacceptable behavior, but what happened to compassion? It is possible to tell someone that it’s not working and they need to change or leave with kindness, in firm and clear language without resorting to snarky nastiness, regardless of the behavior of the recipient. It’s more effort, but she’s a human being, she has feelings, and it’s going to be uncomfortable enough, why deliberately make it worse? You could think of it as public service, the next group she joins will be better for her having learned some lessons in socially acceptable behavior. Even if she responds with a public screaming tantrum, she will hear what you are saying and at some point it will be processed, and hopefully implemented.

I wish I could say that I know the correct thing to do. I can’t. I only know what I would do.

* There are posts between and around those two I linked to that deal with irritating girl and hate mail et al but meh, go here and search them out if you're interested, I'm too tired to post all of them.