I have been purposely avoiding Clyde for weeks now. Ducking and dodging him in back alleys. Hiding in alcoves. Pretending I’m sleeping when he knocks on the door. Cat and mouse. A children’s game. Rather pointless all this avoidance. He will corner me eventually. I know exactly what he needs to tell me, exactly what I need to do. I do not want to hear it.
Clyde is my relationship manager. The Stock Broker of personal commodities and emotional investments. A permanent resident in the dusty, neglected logical corridor of my mind. A manifestation of my personality given form and substance. Unsentimental, calculated, practical.
He wears a dark suit with a fedora tilted low on his head, partially covering his face. He’s probably handsome in that brooding way that makes intelligent men appealing. His feet are up on his desk, shod in shiny black wingtips. I love wingtips. I know instinctively what expression he is making by the tilt of his head. A cigarette smolders in an ashtray nearby, though he never smokes it.
In the late eighties he was completely exasperated with me. I would casually stroll by his office, pop my head in the door and tell him to stop worrying. Everything would work itself out. I had no time for him. I didn’t need him. My emotions ran rampant, my friendships hollow yet abundant. My romantic life chaotic and complex.
Clyde was persistently annoying. After years of terrible judgement and destructive emotional decisions, I finally relented to sit down and listen to him.
People it seems are commodities. Some are rare and valuable. Others solid, reliable and predictable. The majority merely ordinary but worth the effort. I stifled a yawn. He arched his eyebrows at me and continued.
All types of relationships require an emotional investment. Love, friendship a simple acquaintance, none are exempt. But, what you invest doesn’t always pay dividend.
Negative Return Investments: The one’s that use you, prey on your good nature. Bring nothing but trouble to you. The poisonous people. You can and should remove these from your portfolio expediently.
High return investments: You’re happy just to see them. They bring out the best in you. They understand you. They do not berate or humiliate you but will point out your shortcomings gracefully, with empathy. Keep investing in these. The potential for life-long dividend is extremely favourable.
Low to mid return investments: Harmless, low risk. Generally good for a laugh. May conceivably become high return if handled correctly. Most people fall into this category.
Zero return investments: They give back nothing. They simply can’t be bothered with you. They don’t care enough. Drop them. Rest assured, they will not even notice your absence.
Naturally there are unavoidable factors at play. Emotional growth is a personal journey. People move in and out of our lives at different degrees of speed for varying reasons. People are naturally shy or incapable of trust.
Inevitably Clyde caught up with me last week. It wasn’t difficult. He found me sitting in his dark, depressing office with my arms crossed, waiting. He smacked a file on his desk and slid it towards me. I recognized the name. I didn’t need to open it.
“Zero return, you need to pull out now”, he pronounced with no rancor.
He knows I dislike this, dropping people like so many garbage bags on the corner, even if it is in my best interest.
I nodded my head, sighing.
“You’ve invested far too much already, it’s pointless to continue.”
He was right. He’s always right. Which doesn’t make it any easier.
* This post was originally published on my previous blog: hypathetically.com– April 2014