Thursday, October 10, 2013

Missing the Point

A couple days ago I posted a little story at Facebook. 

Here 'tis - - -

"A story.
I picked up my mom today to go shopping.
Except when I got there she said she had made an appointment with her eye doctor cause she thought her tear duct might be blocked and she was in a bit of pain. And she said she must have had too much salt recently 'cause her ankles were swollen and maybe her blood pressure was a little high.
THEN she apologized for being whiney. (this kinda broke my heart a little)
So we went to the eye doctor and he diagnosed her eye problem as pink eye, gave her prescriptions for an eye cream and an antibiotic.
Then she said she still wanted to go shopping and maybe being out on such a pretty day would make her forget her problems which were so small compared to other people's. (this kinda broke my heart a little too).
So, we go into Belk's and we decided to go in different directions and meet back at the bench by the door.
When I turned around a lady tapped me on the should and said, "I just heard you tell you mother you'd meet her by the door and you called her 'Mother.' I used to bring my mother here shopping and we would always meet up at that bench by the door. She died last year and I still miss her and I wanted to just tell you to treasure this time with your mother while you can." I gave her a hug and we both stood in the middle of Belk's crying. And I have been weepy ever since."


It got people thinking and talking about their moms and I enjoyed reading all the comments, and well - it was just nice.

This morning I had a note in my personal message box at Facebook from someone who I think missed my entire point.  Which makes me realize, once again, that sometimes what we write is not always what is read by others.

In her note, a woman I don't know, other than seeing her name at Facebook, said this  to me.  "You and you mother seem to do a lot of shopping.  I wish I could afford to shop as often as you do."




Shopping means different things to different folks, obviously.  But let me point out to you, dear woman who wrote this note, that I could possibly be one of the poorest people you know.  But.  It's really no one else's business how I choose to spend my money.  However, to set the record straight on what shopping means to me - it's wandering around a teeny little mall in Boone, NC with my mother - mostly looking at pretty things and offering up our opinions on whether we like them or not.  We are both expert bargain hunters and find the hunt to be a huge amount of fun.  Sometimes we buy and sometimes we don't.   But it's how we choose to sometimes spend our time together.  Sometimes we choose to spend that time playing Canasta.  Sometimes we choose to spend it over a cup of coffee.

But this particular day we both "did" shop.

Mother came home with two prescriptions for her eye - an antibiotic and a teeny little bottle of eye drops (that cost $95.00).

I came home with toothpaste.

We both came home happy that we had had some time together.  Time to chat and laugh and enjoy a gorgeous fall day in the mountains.

Bless your heart, honey, knock that chip off your shoulder and go shopping!  I'm sorry I won't be around to hear about it though because you're no longer one of the names I'll be seeing at Facebook.


p.s. - For those of you wondering how Mother's eye is doing - well, just a little while ago, the feisty little woman told me "those eye drops I paid a small fortune for aren't doing a damn thing, but the antibiotics are - and it ain't good!"  I sympathized the best I could and reminded her to continue eating her yogurt. 


29 comments:

cathy said...

Great post, Kaye. I read your FB post the other day and it was clear to me how much love is shared between you and your mother. Whoever that person was, sure missed the entire point of your post... I say: "good riddance", and I say that because when you have someone turning a real positive thing into something negative... they're not worth having as a "friend". Great post... and hugs to you (and your mom as well).

Christine Verstraete said...

Someone missed the point apparently. Nice story. Going shopping with Mom was always a nice way to spend the day. All day, whether you bought anything or not (though you often did. :)

Pattie T. said...

Wow. She really did miss the point, and I am so sorry for her. Shopping is one thing, spending is another, but this was really about two lovely ladies, so lucky to still have one another, finding joy in a day spent together.

Cate Price said...

Well, MY mom always told me that if you can't say something nice, better not to say anything at all!

We have fun poking around consignment and antique shops when we get together. Sometimes we buy, sometimes we don't, but it's the experience that counts.

Have fun shopping with your mom!

Jinx Schwartz said...

There are bitter people everywhere, and jealousy abounds. I'd give anything to go shopping with my mom just one more time...or do anything else with her for that matter! Glad you dumped the "friend".

Pinkim Kimberly Wright said...

Oh my...that is a sad individual...what a shame...I just enjoyed your little story so much...

L.J. Sellers said...

Some people are idiots who simply fail to see the big picture or think outside themselves. I've unfriended a few people lately because I'm tired of seeing their selfish and heartless posts. It's been rather liberating.

Rosemary Harris said...

I wish I still had my mom and sister to go shopping with. We almost never bought anything (because our tastes were so different) but that as you know, wasn't the point.
Wonder what that woman thinks about going out to lunch - another thing people do that isn't always about food.
Enjoy your toothpaste!

Carolyn J. Rose said...

There must be a website for folks that like woman. Maybe missingthepoint.com.

Kaye Barley said...

Thanks, guys.

Every single time I think I've encountered the most clueless person on God's green earth I'm proven wrong once again.

sigh.

I'm going to continue thinking she's clueless and not really as mean as I suspect . . .

In the meantime, anytime y'all want to putter about the Boone Mall with me and my mom - come on down. You will love our little mall (well . . . . maybe . . . ) it's takes every bit of 20 minutes to hit every store from end to end. Except when it rains. When it rains, the mall floods and they have to close.


Anonymous said...

This made me cry.... I agree with Ro - I sometimes wish my mother was still here to go shopping with... it wasn't what we bought,,, and we all know THAT!!!!! Thelma in Manhattan

Janet Rudolph said...

Thanks for the update.. yes, that woman clearly missed the point. How lucky you are to be able to 'shop' with your Mom. My mother will be 93 next week, and I'll probably take her shopping.. not as much fun since it's usually utiliarian.. but still time with her, as you said. Tell your mom to eat that yogurt! Hugs

Alice Duncan said...

Missed the point, indeed. Heck, when my daughters and I get together, we go shopping all the time -- and we very seldom buy anything. Hope your mom's eye is better.

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

It's sad that she went to that place -- that you have something she thinks she doesn't. When that post was really about you and your mom.

Sorry.

Suzanne said...

Kaye, how fortunate you are to have such a relationship with your mother. You two could hang out together just about any place and enjoy yourselves. You're blessed!

Jenn McKinlay said...

You've made a wise choice, Kaye. Life is too short to spend with sour people!

Ellis Vidler said...

I used to enjoy similar "shopping" trips with my mother. I'm so glad you still have this time together and hope you continue to enjoy spending time doing whatever makes you happy.

Lesa said...

Ah, Kaye. I've always loved you, and how you've been quite honest about what's important to you - your mother, Donald, Harley, and the love you all share. Got it. My mother and I don't need to do anything. We spent all that time doing jigsaw puzzles when I went home. It had nothing to do with the puzzles really. It was the time and laughter. There's just so much joy when I get together with my Mom and sisters. It's so sad when others totally miss the important things in life. Love you, Kaye.

Patty said...

So sad that someone can take a lovely story and turn it into something mean and ugly. Glad you just blew off some steam here and "unfriended" her instead of starting a flame war. Much more satisfying.

Kaye Barley said...


oh, y'all.

Who knew, truly, that the internet would bring us the kinds of friends that it has? Most of us here "met" many, many years ago through DorothyL. It's for this reason, more than any other, that DL will be so very special to me. As will each of you.

Lesa, I love you back sweetie! To the moon and back.

Sending hugs to you all.

<3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

Someone did something similar to me right on my Facebook page.

I was venting about an expensive item that FedX delivered to the wrong address. It's my page, I get to do that right? This woman, who is one of the first online friends I made suggested that instead of being livid I should feel fortunate that I was able to order an expensive gift. She said poverty had given her some perspective.

First, who said I ordered the gift? Second, I don't have the right to complain when a shipping company screws up? Third, she knows my life is no bed of roses, so I really found the comment completely uncalled for.

I sent her a private message stating that I had grown up in poverty and had also experienced it as an adult. Her response was, "Don't be mad. I love you even when you're livid" She basically downplayed the inappropriateness of the remark & the fact that she posted it for all to see. I considered the behavior very passive aggressive.

There are many things I could have pointed out that contributed to her recent impoverishment -- not the least being her enabling her drug addict son by sharing her own pharmaceuticals with him, letting him stay without expectations that he work, get help, etc. But I didn't.

She even posted personal pleas for assistance from her Facebook friends. She portrayed her son as a victim when he lost a job due to poor attendance (making the excuse that he couldn't call out as he had no phone. Well, SHE does and he was living with her at the time.)

Poverty is difficult and I try not to be judgmental about one's circumstances, but seriously? I felt as though I was being judged. I had even considered helping out on occasion, something I'm not really in a position to do.

Even after the above incident, she felt compelled to comment when I noted the number of times during a regular business day week, the postal service doesn't even make an appearance at our building. (Too many tenants for it to be likely that no one in the building receives any mail). She called this a, "first-world problem". I don't consider the failure of a government institution to carry out its basic responsibilities (although many of them don't)to be a first-world problem.

I haven't unfriended her because I know she is genuinely going through a difficult time. Yet I fail to see how her passive aggressive comments toward me are improving her own situation. And I sure didn't ask for these little philosophy lessons.

Obviously, your story hit a very familiar nerve. Looking at the comments already posted, I see one about missing the point.

Really, when something doesn't arrive on time, goes to a different location (for no good reason), it's more about disappointment for me, about being let down. And I've had quite a lot of that in my life and this woman knows that.

I didn't mean to turn the sharing of your story into a rant so much as to say how much I could identify with you.

I'm glad you have your mother to enjoy shopping and whatever else you do, and no one should begrudge you that.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kaye, I don't know what gets into people sometimes, but if Facebook can't be a friendly and kind experience, why would we want to be there? Unfriending someone can be a very healthy thing to do. :D

Aubrey Hamilton said...

Kaye, I loved your post on Facebook and went back to comment and then couldn't find it again. I'm sorry that the "friend" felt the need to make such a snide and uncalled-for comment but glad you hit that defriend button. It's your Facebook account, you can have who you want on it. After all these years and all the practice I've had at dealing with nasty people, you'd think I'd take this kind of thing in stride but I am once again taken aback by human unkindness.

Aubrey Hamilton said...

And here's the comment I would have posted to your original Facebook story, if I could have found it again:

On Sunday I was in a town 45 miles from here and ran into a grocery for a couple of things. Went to the self-checkout line, when I arrived the lady in front of me was trying to find her debit card to pay and couldn't and was getting really upset. Well, who wouldn't be? Losing your debit card is a BIG DEAL. I was in a hurry as usual and I checked the amount she owed on the monitor -- $30 -- and said oh I'll pay for it so you can go on and call the bank. She protested but I swiped my card and completed the transaction while she was coming quietly unglued. I gave her a deposit slip out of my checkbook so she'd have my address and told her people have helped me out in a jam and I was happy I could help her. I went on with my transaction and then with my day.

I was stunned this week to receive a letter from this poor lady, who sent the money in cash with a letter saying her son had died in early September and that he had always shopped with her and that was her first shopping trip without him. She had been so upset she misplaced her debit card but found it again right after we parted company.

You absolutely never know what is going on with the person next to you, do you?

Julie D said...

Oh, good grief, Kaye. That is...well, I have no words. I'm giggling a little, but I'm truly at a loss.

I read your post. I lost my mom five years ago, and your perspective on the day out with your mom, the simple joy of that made me smile, made me remember, made me happy that you had her and she had you. Stories like yours make me remember, and that is the sweetest gift anyone can give.

Love to you and your mom.

Morgan Mandel said...

You don't have to apologize for shopping, whether or not you spent money! That person is mean spirited to make such a comment to you. She missed the entire point of what you were conveying to us. It's great to be able to enjoy moments with your mother while you can!

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com

Janet Reid said...

Kaye, I think what's really going on with Miss ThePoint is that she's hurt and sad that she doesn't have someone like you in her life. Someone who clearly loves to be with her, someone who takes her shopping for eyedrops and toothpaste with and open and generous heart rather than a sense of duty or obligation.

As I read your post about her comment to you it reminded me of the dogs who bite because they are afraid, not because they are mean.

Of course, I also agree with your response to Miss Thepoint. She's not your problem to fix and you can't let that kind of negativity into your life on a regular basis.

I think you bring light into the world just by being you, and maybe Miss will realize it one day. Hopefully soon.

Susan said...

You don't know me but your post was shared with me on FB. Your story reminded me of a ritual I had with my mother who lived a long ways from me. She would visit every Thanksgiving and we would go shopping on the day before TG. She's been gone for 20 years and I still miss her.

Anonymous said...

I understand your reluctance to unfriend this person, I have a neighbor much like her. After years of her negativity & passive aggression I'm ashamed to admit I blew my top. Consequently I felt the need to apologize for losing my temper. I should have set boundaries eons ago.
Mardy