Friday, September 15, 2006

Soul suckers or the self-centered: these are your choices

There's this person I know...let's call her Joann. Probably best, since that's her name. Anyway, Joann's been on the periphery of my life since 1996, when I worked my first job as a single mom. At first, we were friends, kinda hung out together from time to time, really glued at the center by a wonderful woman and mutual friend, Deanna.

Initially, when Joann started taking on my characteristics...I wanted a jukebox, then she wanted a jukebox in her house, Deanna said I was the most well-rounded person she knew, and Joann started talking about how culturally rounded she herself was kind of amusing. You know, imitation being the most sincere form of flattery.

Later, when she started hitting on every guy I liked, got her hair cut and colored just like mine, started hanging out with my biological father's blues band, filled with people she didn't even really know, and even went so far as to join the same gym I was at - even though by then we were no longer friends, for what should be obvious reasons - it became sort of creepy.

Okay, more than sort of. We were delving into Single White Female territory, here. For the unitiated, aka "people living under rocks," Single White Female is a movie starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda. Fonda is the girl with the nice boyfriend, home and life. Leigh becomes her roommate, and eventually her soul-sucking vampire. She seduces the boyfriend, changes her looks to match Fonda's and basically wants everything good Fonda might have.

Did Joann succeed in sleeping with any of the guys I wanted, dated or had a relationship with? I don't know. If so, I'm ashamed of my taste in men. Also, just in case, I stopped filling her in on who I was dating...especially after her own boyfriend met me and starting trying to go out with me in front of her.

But I do know this: she did introduce and then deliberately cause problems between the aforementioned Deanna and her boyfriend. Which is crazy. You see, normal people and even some hardened criminals wouldn't dream of hurting Deanna. She's just one of those "deep down good people" like my friend Marc would say, a woman well on her way to eventual, inevitable sainthood.

So the point in writing this? Not an exercise through the past, darkly. Unfortunately.

About a year ago I saw Joann at court. She was coming in to file some papers for her employer, a local lawyer. She invited me to dinner with Deanna who I missed and adored. Deanna, sad to say it, was the carrot. And Joann knew this.

During the course of the evening I explained what I do for a living, how it works and the wonderful things it entails.

Fast forward to today.

Today I saw Joann in court again. Can you guess what she is doing with her life?

If you guessed records collection, pick your prize.

Ten years later, and she's still a soul-sucking vampire without an original thought in her head. Of course, it's probably a little too crowded in there already, what with my dreams, goals, feelings and personality already occupying most available space.

Right now, I'm on the outs with a few of my friends - legitimate friends - or angry over some things I've yet to voice. Since things went bad in my life with family, I've learned who my real friends are, and frankly, it's been a rather eye opening experience, one that's shed some light where maybe darkness and serenity would've been preferable.

Nevertheless, I'd take those friends in a heartbeat over someone who is borderline creepy stalker, untrustworthy and somehow hell-bent on stealing your own essence.

Soul suckers - stay away from them.
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