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Ch.69 I’m Grateful We Can Still Disagree

Ch.69 I’m Grateful We Can Still Disagree

November 2020

          I stumbled into a difficult situation a few days ago. It concerned a man I’ll call Sidney, a former client (over 10 years ago) with whom I’ve maintained occasional contact. Unfortunately, Sidney is not a very likable fellow. He has strange mannerisms and a quick temper. Sidney calls me when he gets into trouble, asking for sympathy and advice. And this time he was in deep trouble.

          Sidney, now homeless and living out of his car, had fallen in love with a woman who supposedly lives in Virginia. He was sending her money and jewelry as he waited for her to come get him and take him there. She was obviously conning him as I and others had told him, but Sidney was terribly lonely, so empty inside that he forced himself to keep believing she was real. He had decided to take a train to Norfolk to find her even though he didn’t have her address. He departed with little cash, no place to stay; his fuel was his desperation.

          Things went poorly for Sidney. He called me when he was almost completely broke and broken. No, he hadn’t found his woman (but he still wanted to believe in her). He was sleeping in a bus station. He was hungry. He needed to get back to Wisconsin. Would I help him by paying for a return ticket to Milwaukee?

          I was inclined to help Sidney, mostly because I feared for his safety. The line from an old folk song kept running through my mind: “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out.” But when I asked Pat her opinion, she was against it. “Just watch,” she said. “He’ll want more money from you.” She argued essentially that Sidney was both a victim of a con job and that he was conning me.

          Having a serious talk was challenging for both of us. Pat correctly accused me, after our first discussion, of trying to avoid the subject because we disagreed. I had to realize that avoidance wasn’t helpful. Meanwhile, Pat’s gut instincts were good, but she sometimes had difficulty saying what she thought. She also referred to several of my relatives who had warned her about Sidney even though I doubt that any of them had met him. We talked about the issue several times over the next couple days until I decided that I would buy Sidney a ticket to Wisconsin. Pat continued to disagree but supported me once my decision was made.

           Sure enough, Pat was right about Sidney asking for more money. The friend he thought would pick him up in Milwaukee never materialized and I ended up spending more money to get him back to his home town in Western Wisconsin. I’ve tried to assure Pat that I won’t give Sidney more money. I will keep Pat’s warnings in mind if and when Sidney calls again.

          I am grateful that Pat and I can disagree. I am more grateful that we can disagree and still have a meaningful conversation about important issues.

          Yes, Pat has Lewy Body. But that doesn’t stop her from having good ideas.

 Pat’s comments on I’m Grateful We Can Still Disagree.  

          I thought that Sidney was trying to take advantage of Ron. I think Sidney should be directed to look at how he himself can take part if anything restorative can be done and then determine if he’s going to do that again. Sidney has to start making decisions when he can say he’s done all he can do or whether he should keep going whether it’s helpful to him or not.

          Just because I have Lewy Body doesn’t mean I should take advantage of someone else – that’s my baseline. Sidney shouldn’t take advantage of people. If he has a problem dealing with his reality then he has to come up with a solution that helps take a real part in mending the problem.