Someone died in my condo building Friday. I live in a place where I'm the "young chick." The average age must be 70. One person I really like is 93 and going strong. But I found out that a woman who is only two years older than I am was found in her condo. I haven't been able to find out any details at all, but it's unnerving on different levels. First of all her age. But secondly, she's the second acquaintance to die recently. Both relatively young. Both a surprise to me. Both were people that could have been close friends but weren't.
I first met Joan last summer at the pool. She swam every day and so did I. She didn't work, but made sure she came outside when I was swimming laps after work. At first I really liked that--someone in my building with whom I could be friends. She asked me to go to see fireworks at Summerfest and I couldn't make it. She asked me to do something else and I couldn't as well. On both occasions I could have changed my other plans and gone, but there was just something offputting about her. She invited me into her place and I accepted, and she ended up showing me home videos of her going to the Circus Museum in Bariboo WI--a famous place here. It was boring for me, but I knew she was alone and that her mother had died just a few years prior, so I was patient and suffered through it. She asked if I wanted to see more videos of their trips and I declined. She finally blew up at me once at the pool when she was bashing Arabs and Muslims (she was Jewish and had worked in Israel on a kibbutz for a time) and I said I didn't think the question was as black and white as she painted it. She just blew up at me and started screaming. I finally said that life was too short for me to hang around with people who treated me the way she had and that I wasn't interested in spending time with her.
When I heard of her death, I flashed back to this lonely woman who wanted an almost total stranger to see videos of her mom. I remembered her mother calling her "Joanie," and that she must have been devestated when her mother died, because except for the sojourn to Israel they'd always lived together.
I said the Arab-Israeli conflict isn't black and white. Neither was Joan.