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Politics, Polemics, and Pizzas

In Kneed of Advice

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Conscience and Communication


Al Veoli: Politics, Polemics, and Pizzas

Al Veoli

Dear Al Veoli:

I have been friends with a coworker for 2 years. I also had/have a thing for him which he is aware of. He is a critical judgmental type, but has other qualities which overcome this for me. Recently, he all of a sudden asked me if I was voting for John Kerry (he knows I'm a bit leaning toward George Bush). I said no, I don't like John Kerry and gave some reasons. He then got angry and told me we could not be friends any longer. Later, he called me and we seemed to patch things up. A few days later we had another argument. I was limiting the use of the computer at the office by a coworker's child. I told him the reasons etc. He kept interrupting me and wouldn't let me finish my sentences. I became adamant and then apologized for being adamant. He said oh this is not the first time. I can only think of maybe a few times when I have been adamant, so I told him that he doesn't listen to me and interrupts me and that is why I was a bit more emphatic than normal. Now he is not speaking to me again. I am very hurt and don't know if I should extend myself and try to repair the relationship. Some people have told me it is because I have a boyfriend and he is angry with me. He has a girlfriend so I don't know why he would have a problem about my boyfriend. Also he is French; maybe there is something cultural about the whole blowup. Can you help me? This is the first time anyone who has done this to me. I have never said a harsh or disparaging word to him the whole two years we have known each other and I have always helped him out at work and with personal things.


Dear Bush-Adamant:

Unfortunately, what this episode has demonstrated is that Republicans and Democrats can never be friends. Surely Al jests. Perhaps. But seriously, mon amie, what this episode has demonstrated is that the election is fast approaching and that all people are entitled to their opinions. Your coworker becomes incensed with positive talk of Bush; Al does not blame him. You are puzzled. Yet you ask yourself whether his French heritage has anything to do with it. Peut-etre. You see, Bush & Co. completely disenfranchised France and much of Europe. Rumsfeld himself basically condemned what he referred to as "old Europe," including France, and said that it was out of vogue. So perhaps we can understand the chord of ire that seems to be struck here. At the same time, it is inappropriate for him to be expressing this much anger towards you in the workplace. As for him being jealous of your boyfriend, Ms. Meniscus doubts this, given the status of your relationship; perhaps he simply wants to like you as a friend and is frustrated by your different political views. He needs to be more tolerant, at least while he is at work. Not everyone supports Kerry...not yet.

Dear Al Veoli:

I am a very active working mother with a lot of friends. I have a new neighbor as of approx May. We started chit chatting and become somewhat friends. She's a very nice gal with a son and a husband who works often. She's around throughout the day. It's getting very overbearing. I come home, she's outside waiting. She seems lonely and I felt bad. Now it's a bit much when I was in the shower to come out and find them in my kitchen. Please advise on how to ask her to not come around so much without losing her friendship? Thanks.

-Kitchen Loner

Dear Kitchen Loner:

First Big Al must ask: are there secret tunnels between your two homes? Do you share a shower or a kitchen? Are there no walls or doors to your house? Or do you leave your doors unlocked? If the latter is the case, and Big Al is willing to bet that that's the story at hand, then a fairly simple solution is to lock your doors so that visitors surprise you in neither the shower nor the kitchen. In addition, you can be polite but firm with her, saying that you enjoy spending time with her but that you're fairly busy with assorted plans and will contact her when you're able to rendezvous.

Dear Al Veoli:

I've been married for 10yrs. I have 3 great kids. Just today, I was eating at a restaurant with a friend of mine, when I saw someone coming inside, lord and behold, it was an ex-boyfriend of mine, I had bumped into him several times before with his wife and kids, but this time he was alone, when he was bout to walk out, I called his name and he immediately looked my way, and started walking towards our table. We started to say hi and all that stuff, when I asked him bout his wife and kids, he said, what wife, I'm getting a divorce, my jaw dropped to the floor, he sat down to the table next to ours and for an hour we just talked. He looked at me, I looked at him, and for a minute, we looked at each other just like we did when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I had butterflies in my stomach all that while. He jokingly said, hey maybe I can call u sometime, I have my kids for the weekend, we'll meet at McDonald's and you take your kids too, maybe we can talk.... I love my hubby, but when I saw him.......my heart skipped a beat...is that normal?

-Ex or Why?

Dear Ex or Why?:

Were you on the swim team together? Did he buy you gifts that were not at all you, yet you appreciated the gestures anyway? Did he have a great body in high school? Was he tough with the guys, yet sensitive with you? Did you always wonder what would have happened had you actually dated him long-term, if he hadn't begun to date various undesirable personalities in your wake? Are you sure he wanted to meet at McDonald's, and not the local neighborhood watering hole, The Porch? Or was it Bailey's? What Big Al is trying to convey is that these stories are very common. It is perfectly natural for you to still be attracted to a high school boyfriend, especially if he was or is a competitive swimmer and...but he digresses. If you are happily married, trust that instinct. Perhaps you and your ex can be friends, but more likely than not, there is sufficient water under that bridge--enough to tell you that your husband is the way to go and that there were legitimate reasons why you did not remain with your ex.

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