Friday, June 18, 2010
off-put·ting /ˈɔfˌpʊtɪŋ, ˈɒf-/ Show Spelled[awf-poot-ing, of-] Show IPA
provoking uneasiness, dislike, annoyance, or repugnance; disturbing or disagreeable.
I have these next-door neighbours. Next door here being a relative term as this couple are not within shouting distance but about 500 metres from my own house.
She irritates the hell out of me. And she did it again this morning as I picked up my messages off my voicemail from yesterday evening. There she was, as usual, parked at position 3.
"Call me NOW!" she says charmingly, "Where the heck are you? It is 9 o'clock in the Pee-Em at my house."
She uses 'heck' a lot. She never says please or thank you. Never mentions if it is an emergency health situation or whether she needs cat litter.
I invited her and her husband once here for a dinner party. Husband didn't even bother to show but she did. And insisted, just after dinner, that everyone walk the 500 metres to her house and admire her new floors. End of dinner party. End of invitations to her.
I call her back, bracing myself. Without preamble she says:
"I need your fax machine".
This has happened many times. It is never just about the fax machine though. It is an hour out of my life listening to her go on and on and on and on. About nothing. She never asks a question, never extends any kind of courtesy.
And I realize that the reason I dread contact with her is that she always wants something from me. Always. Pick her up something in town, fix her turbo stick, bring her up newspapers for her painting. And the white lie creeps up on top of me and I can't shrug it off.
"Elsie," I say, right easily, "I disconnected it. It's all scanning and PDFing now."
But she's not finished with me. There's a nasty edge to her voice as she responds:
"Well, heck then," she huffs,"You should change your voicemail, shouldn't you? You're still announcing your disconnected fax number on it along with your disconnected old cell phone number!"