This is a true story. I have adjusted some of the facts, but I know you’ll forgive me, because I believe the story is a lot more entertaining this way, and in the end you might even understand a thing or two about me.
I discovered at a very young age that I don’t belong on the same sidewalk with certain people. It didn’t matter if they were neighbors, friends, or members of my immediate family. It didn’t matter what our relations were, I just didn’t want to be anywhere close to them.
The first time I have a clear memory of wanting to get away from someone, was when my grandmother looked straight into my eyes and asked me why I hadn’t visited her lately. I was four, and I didn’t have an answer for her. I just kept staring back at her, and wasn’t sure if she would slap the door in my face or step out of the way and let me in.
As a kid, I wanted just a few things, and I would be happy for hours. I wanted pizza, potato chips, and coca-cola. I wanted to watch movies (mainly cartoons), and I loved to read magazines (all sorts of cartoons). And I loved talking, but I was better at listening. I only wanted to listen to stories about things I loved to talk about. I still more or less hate to talk about boring things. I’m the worst person to ever engage in small talk. I’m still staring into the air when it’s my turn to say something, just like I did when I was four and waiting for my granny to let me inside.
Bad granny always asked the same question when I called her (she never phoned me) or when she opened the door, “why haven’t you visited me lately?” When we got inside, I sat in her couch and looked at the pictures on the walls. I counted them, and I looked at the big old clock, and counted the seconds, the minutes, and the hours left. I tried to listen to what she was talking about, but I couldn’t focus. The conversation was always the same, it was about her, and I just didn’t understand what she was talking about. She drank coffee, she smoked, and she ate cake, lot’s of cake. But she offered me only one tiny piece, because as she said, children shouldn’t eat cake, it’s bad for their teeth. Bad granny thought of herself as my teacher, her mission was to teach me about life. I didn’t want another teacher, I already had my parents as teachers.
I have a lot more memories of my other granny. She called me all the time. The door was always open when I arrived. It was wide open. She looked at me with the biggest smile I had ever seen. And then, she always took her hand and touched the top of my hair, and said that I had the thickest and nicest hair she had ever seen. Oh, and she said I was beautiful, I was more beautiful than any other person in the family. She couldn’t believe how handsome I was. And according to her, the older I got, the more handsome I became. As soon as I got inside, I smelled the pizza. Ah, her pizza was the best. I ran to the kitchen to see it. And, as soon as I passed the living room I could see that she had opened a bag of my favorite potato chips and a bottle of coca-cola. It was already there, just waiting for me.
I looked at the pizza, and I could hardly wait to eat it. I wanted to stay and see the cheese melting. But, she always said that she had a surprise for me. It was a treasure and she had made a treasure map, and I had to find it to keep it. It didn’t take me long to understand that the treasure was always one of my favorite cartoon magazines. It was easy to find, but just hard enough to make it exciting.
I loved the excitement, and as soon as I found it, the pizza was ready. We ate, we talked, and it was always about something I wanted to talk about. She told the most amazing stories about trolls, goblins, and a very beautiful princess. She included me in the stories, and I was always the hero.
What I learned from being spoiled
I never wanted to leave the house of good granny. I wanted to live there, and stay there forever. Just me and her, together forever. That was not the case of bad granny. I never wanted to visit her in the first place. We never had the same relation. I felt that she didn’t care about me. I felt that she didn’t know anything about me, and that she didn’t let me be who I was. I was visiting her on her terms, and the only reason I was there was to satisfy her needs. She never did anything for me. She never spoiled me, she didn’t even try.
This was more than twenty years ago. As a teenager, I understood that it was no longer about me. Growing up, I understood the true value of relations. It’s never about me, it’s always about the other person, and making this person feel special. No matter if it’s my friend, my neighbor, member of my immediate family or a customer. If I do my best, he or she will be knocking on my door as often as I did on good granny’s door. And they won’t leave me alone. They’ll stay with me forever.