December 23, 2020 – Share and share alike.

If you want to lose a finger or possibly a hand, just try and reach across my plate and help yourself to one of my french fries. I don’t care if you’re my best girlfriend, my husband, my mother or the pope, if you want some french fries, you’d better order your own damn fries and keep your paws off of mine. Can you tell I don’t like to share? What do you expect? I grew up with 8 siblings. Every meal was like a feeding frenzy. Picture a goldfish getting dropped into a tank full of piranhas. It was each ‘man’ for ‘himself’. And there were no appetizers or side dishes to speak of. Leftovers? Ha! Leftovers were unheard of! If ‘spaghetti’ was dinner, you got pasta with meat sauce. There was no side salad (with your choice of dressing) or garlic bread to supplement the meal. You got your entrée and that was that! Was I still hungry once I ‘cleaned my plate’? You’d better believe I was still hungry! Even after guzzling down a tall glass of cold, whole milk.

I’ll admit it, I don’t necessarily like to share, especially when it comes to food. I’ve been out to lunch or dinner with people that learned quite quickly that I don’t respond well when they help themselves to food on my plate, especially without asking first. I’m generally a pretty agreeable, happy person, but that will definitely swing the pendulum in the other direction (in a hurry). Even when I’m asked beforehand? Especially when I’m asked beforehand! Because, no, I don’t want to share with you but now I feel like I have to because you asked first. Now, I’m hungry and aggrieved. I didn’t order this beautiful plate of food with the intention of sharing it with you. I ordered it because it’s after six o’clock at night and I haven’t eaten since two o’clock and I’m famished. If you’re so hungry, why did you just order the salad? You should have ordered the sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and a dinner roll, like I did.

Do you want to really wind me up? Ask me to share a desk with someone else. You know by now how I am with food, imagine how I am with sharing a desk? I am a person that is very particular about things (which you’ve probably already picked up on). I like things ‘just so’. When I set up my workspace, I put things in a way that make sense to me. I like things to be efficient and orderly. A place for everything and everything in its place. When I come to work, I want to know that when I reach for the stapler, the stapler is going to be in its assigned cubby. If the stapler is not where I expect it to be, ‘Houston, we have a problem’! At my last job, the gal they hired to share the receptionist position with me didn’t seem to understand that. Before I took leave for my kidney surgery, all of the files were in order, the bins were labeled and everything was in it’s proper ‘home’. In other words, ‘mise en place’.

When I returned after my surgery? Holy crap! I almost blew a gasket!! There were cough drops in my assigned basket (it had my name on it). She had her own basket but she put them in mine. There were salt packets in the cash drawer. What the hell were salt packets doing with the dollar bills? The files were no longer in order. Candy was being stored on top of the cardstock as well as in the same tray that we kept the binder clips. The notebooks were all shifted around, the heaviest no longer on the bottom, causing the plastic tray to bend from the weight. The lunch reservation book had a brand new section ‘for special requests’ that deviated from the way I was taught years before. All of the special ‘lists’ that I kept, the ‘numbers frequently requested list’, the ‘staff contact list’, the ‘categories to put entries into the database list’, all had multiple holes in them from thumbtacks. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal. I know I sound just a ‘teeny-weeny’ neurotic. Just hear me out.

These lists I made were built to last. Once I had all of the information for each list, I entered it into a Word document. No, I didn’t put it in all willy-nilly, I organized it in alphabetical order, last name first, beginning with ‘A’ and ending with ‘Z’. Once each list was complete and double-checked for accuracy, I saved them in the computer under ‘reception desk’ in the shared drive. I then printed out each list twice. Once I had used the paper cutter to cut each list so they were precisely the same size, I left about a half-inch gap at the top to allow for the hole punch. I would then place each list with its ‘twin’, the information facing out, and laminate them. Once laminated, I would punch a hole in the top, and then I would securely fasten them to the corkboard beside the computer. By putting the hole punch at the top, it wasn’t necessary to use the list as a pin cushion (which it became in my absence).

We humans share a lot. When, for example, you only take into consideration siblings, there are countless things that are shared. Parents are the first thing that come to mind. And there is so much more! Homes and rooms and sometimes even beds. Laughter as well as tears. Clothes and toys and books. Hopes and dreams. Pain and trauma. Healing and forgiveness. Secrets and desires. Chores and responsibilities. Features and tendencies and peculiarities. Birthdays and holidays. The list goes on and on. I shared all of those things with my siblings, even when I didn’t want to. And I felt a little jipped, especially when I had to share something really precious to me. Can you imagine getting a candy bar and then you had to divide it up 9 ways? Or sharing clothes? Because I was the youngest, I got all of the hand-me-downs. Hard worn, worn out, boy’s hand-me-downs. Don’t feel sorry for me yet? Try sharing a bathroom with 8 siblings and 2 parents.

There you go! I saw that tear start to well up in your right eye! Just kidding!! Look, you needn’t remind me that I’m a bit quirky, but I come by it honestly! And, yes, I have problems with sharing. But not with everything. There are certain foods that I will gladly share with you. In fact, I’ll give you my entire portion. Salmon, raw tomatoes, collard greens, parsnips, oysters on the half shell, beets, any animal’s internal organs? It’s all yours, my friend! Enjoy!! You can actually have the entire plate of food because I’ve lost my appetite. Any other food you might want to ‘share’? You may have a fight on your hands. Just ask my mother. Years ago, when I was driving her to the airport, I told her I wanted to stop by McDonalds and pick up a combo meal. She said she wasn’t that hungry, so she asked if I’d just order her a small cheeseburger and a coffee.

You have to be suspicious of people that order a small cheeseburger with a coffee. Nobody does that! And I could have kicked myself for not thinking ahead, because I know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t be satisfied with a tiny burger and a cup of ‘Joe’. Sure enough, after we pulled out of the drive-thru and back onto the highway, the airport just a few miles ahead, “Do you mind sharing a few of your fries with me?” Ackkkkkkk! One side of my head was saying, “NOOOOOOOO!” while the other side was saying, “Of course. Be my guest!” Of course, I let her share my fries. But have you seen the paltry amount they put in the combo meals? At first everything was fine. “It’s the right thing to do,” I thought to myself. But after observing her repeatedly putting her hand in the bag and helping herself to one fry after another after another, I kind of lost it.

“Why didn’t you just order some fries if you wanted some?!” I finally asked her, angry and exasperated. “I wasn’t that hungry,” she replied. “I only took a couple.” Grrr. I told you, I don’t do well if people touch my fries. It doesn’t matter if it’s my best girlfriend, my husband, my mother or the pope. And my inability to ‘share’ made for a real fun trip to the airport, I must tell you! She got really quiet and stopped speaking altogether and then I felt like a jerk. It didn’t matter how much I apologized, she was clearly hurt and she let me know it. This wasn’t the ‘send off’ that I had planned or hoped for. Unfortunately, it happened and nothing can change that fact. But I have to tell you. My mom’s a different sort of animal. She’s the kind of person that suggests you ‘break off a little piece’ of your candy bar so that she can taste it. Or if you have a piece of chocolate cake, she’ll say, “You don’t mind slicing off a little wedge of that so I can enjoy some, too?”

Yes, I do mind! I mind a lot, thank you very much!! I’m sorry. I know you guys think I’m nuts and you’re right. The sad thing is, if you met any of my siblings, I’m the least neurotic one in the bunch. Rather frightening? I think so, too! I’ve got a lot of work to do, what can I say? At least I have good news! My insurance finally got straightened out so I can start going back to my therapist. Yay! I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to work on. First, I’ve got to get to the heart of why ‘the Moochers’ bother me so much. And there are the ‘self esteem’ issues I need to address. My inability to share? That’s another one. Arachnophobia? Oh, Lord! That poor woman’s got her work cut out for her! I should probably get off this thing and get a list started. I hope you enjoyed more of my ‘neurotic tales’. I am certain, there’ll be more to come. In the meantime, have a lovely day and I’ll see you again real soon.

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