V is for Valentine’s Day. V is also for Vitriol. It is also for Vindication.

I don’t bash people online. I may have my issues, but I treat the people closest to me with the most respect that I am capable of. But for too long in my life, I have just had too many people who did not return the gesture. I tolerated those people because I didn’t think I could do better and after all, some friends are better than none, right?

Just like if I have a job, I should happy for the paycheck and not care if my coworkers disrespect me by dicking around on the job while I bust my ass. Or the manager looks the other way, but makes sure to tell me about every little thing I do wrong. Right?

The thing is, if I expect to be treated with respect, then I need to stop tolerating people who can and do frequently treat me like they can randomly lash out at me because they know I’ll keep coming back for more. How I can I demand respect from someone else, when I so clearly tolerate disrespect to begin with, correct?

I had a friend for two long years. When she needed my muscle, I came running. A few times, she was a very good friend to me, but just as quickly, she could be very thoughtless without even the slightest hint that she was apologetic.

The final straw for me came when my brother sent me twenty dollars in the mail, along with a letter. I knew that in his situation, that couldn’t have been an easy twenty dollars to part with. But because I had received it the week before the holiday of “love”, I thought that this would be a good enough time to reconnect with my friend.

So I treated her to coffee in the cheapest place I could think of, with that twenty dollars. I also bought a plate of fries to snack on, which in retrospect was only a guilt purchase a bottomless mug of coffee is cheap and business was slow that day.

The friend showed up. We talked. Then when the time came to pay the check, I paid it. She gave me a hard time for not leaving a tip. Leaving a tip from the only amount of money I’ve seen in a while. If the tip were that important to her, she could have left it, I suppose. But the important thing is that it wasn’t enough to her that I thoughtfully bought her a cup of coffee to try to keep the friendship alive.

But it was the last straw for me. One final straw in a stack of straws. She validated my decision today, when she told me how “sorry” she felt for me. Maybe it was because she finally discovered that I unfriended her, or maybe she caught wind of how I was trying to avoid her at the final day of the Film Fest, but I’ll move on.

I guess well see if she does.


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