A Ghost Of Christmas Past

Last night, the GF and I were eating dinner at home, a rare occurrence, and my phone chimed, also a rare occurrence.  We were both surprised by it.  Who could it be?  My asshole brother?  AK?  T-Mobile?  I don’t get a lot of texts from anyone, and especially later in the evening, so I was curious.  I went over to the counter and got my phone, then opened up the messages app.  It wasn’t any of our original guesses.  It was an unexpected contact.  It was my ex-wife.

When I first saw the name, I was shocked.  I read the message, but it didn’t really sink in.  I read enough individual words to make out what it was about.  The message was benign.  She didn’t care about me or wish me a happy holiday or life or anything.  She just wanted to know how the cat was doing and maybe get some new pictures of her.  My immediate reaction was, “Nope.”

I have not had a single communication with this woman since I got all her shit out of the house 18 months ago.  I will admit, I had a morbid fascination of following her DUI trial through the online clerk of court records, but that wrapped up in March of this year and I haven’t cared since.  Life has been excellent ever since I got my house back and never had to think about her again.  Yes, I still get mail addressed to her, but that’s no different than getting mail for the house’s previous owners, which also still happens.

There’s countless ways I can handle this situation, and I’ve thought through quite a bit of them.  There’s plenty of replies that could be made.  I could say fuck off.  I could say, “who are you?” and pretend my phone number is no longer valid.  I could say the cat died just last week and make her feel terrible.  I could say the cat died last year and make her feel bad for not checking in earlier.  I could put her number online and let the Internet have its way with her.  All these different ways of retribution for contacting me out of the blue on such a stupid premise.

But, despite the schadenfreude of seeing her life go down in flames from a DUI conviction, I am not a vengeful person.  I also actively avoid conflict.  And, as I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve found myself to become a minstrel, always focusing on the positive.  So, after recovering from the shock of being contacted by an unpleasant memory of my past, I try to empathize.  She is probably not having a happy holiday.  She is probably alone.  She is obviously having nostalgic memories of her former pet.  So, her life is certainly not as good as mine is.

So, should I cheer her up and send her some recent pictures of the cat?  Be a Santa Clause and brighten her day?  Be the better person and engage in holiday cheer?  No.

While all of those things are laudable and good and kind, every person has an obligation to self-preservation.  And in this case, opening up a line of communication and engaging would threaten that delicate bubble of happiness I have in my life right now.  The received message alone was like an incoming projectile that rattled the defensive walls I erected over a year ago.  Why would I open up the gate and lower the drawbridge?  Likewise, why should I fire back?  The best course of action is simply to not respond. 

Nowhere is it written that says you have to sacrifice your happiness for another’s happiness.  In fact, it is a common truth that providing happiness for another should provide happiness for yourself.  If that is not what is happening, you need to re-evaluate.  This is the Christmas holiday and there is a lot of pressure to spread joy and happiness.  But, if you can’t do it without causing yourself grief, you should scale back your glad tidings.


  1. New phone, who dis?
    Also “don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm” probably applies.

  2. My suggestion was immediately vetoed. I said send her a dick pic.