I have a serious problem and it is starting to drive me up the wall.
In short, people keep treating me like some kind of magical personal piggy bank. The worst part is, almost everyone seems to do so under the belief that I must be absolutely stupid.
My biggest offender to date is a homeless person I recently made the acquaintance of. I have a lot of sympathy for homeless people. I’ve been in that situation myself and I know how Catch 22 everything becomes. However, the person in question is someone who… Well, as much as I hate to say it, they are to blame for their situation.
First, I got her a job at an old restaurant I used to work at. She would be cleaning dishes for 5 euros an hour. (That’s normal/good for a dishwasher here.) Within 3-days, though, she’d quit and had a list of excuses which she still hasn’t got to the end of.
I was shocked by this. Since I know the people, I know that they are actually one of the better people to work for in the area. More bizarrely, the day my friend quit, she developed a taste for Coca Cola in glass rather than plastic bottles. Per bottle, this costs more than a beer here. However, she has no qualms asking me to meet her every day, during which time she will inevitably say several times, "Oh, can you get me another coke?"
A couple of weeks ago, things went up a notch. Instead of just asking for coke, my ‘friend’ started saying things like "shall we go for dinner at…"
At first, I obliged. Then I had to put my foot down and say "look, I don’t go out for dinner every night, and I can’t afford to do this and buy you stuff everyday." (Buying stuff meaning bread, milk, basics, etc.) I compromised by suggesting we have a BBQ by the beach. Then, though, my friend started inviting other random people in the form of lots of local Somali people she knows. (None of whom were about to chip in to make it happen.)
To make matters worse, my friend has started saying things like "we should move to Spain," and "I can get is a cottage in Wales for really cheap. We should move there." - i.e. There are suddenly relationship-like life plans popping up.
Needless to say, what isn’t popping up is any suggestion who will pay for all these lifestyle upgrades. At least, not anyone but yours truly.
During the brief time I’ve known this person, it has also become apparent why she is homeless. She has been homeless on and off for 10-years. When she gets a place, she then tries to lease it out while she continues to sleep rough, to try and make easy money. For this reason, no local landlords will touch her, even when she can pay rent.
In short, I’m fast realizing that there is no way to help my friend other than by just giving her cash every day. Bizarrely, I’ve even given her an old smartphone, but she keeps hinting that she wants another phone, because she can’t figure out how to use it…
I can’t afford to dole out money every day, and it is starting to grate on me how this seems to be what my friend wants. i.e. If I don’t see her for a few days, I get a deluge of horror and sob stories. "I didn’t have any water and my pee turned black" and "I’ve had a fever and everyone was really worried I was going to die" are the stories of choice at present.
Thankfully, I am not an idiot and I have made it clear that I and this person are not in a relationship. I have even barred her from my home. I did so after the first " you can make loads of money by renting out your spare room, etc, etc." Plus Chico doesn’t like her, which is always a good sign.
What is really annoying me though, is the fact that almost everyone I know treats me the same way. Last year I started to lose count of the number of people I’d loaned money to in so-called emergencies. Then when it became known that I was planning on leaving, everyone avoided me like the plague, obviously because they feared I would call in old debts.
Anyway, today I realized that I have had enough. Last year, I pretty much holed myself away for most of the year just to work. I think I’m going to do this again and just close off from the world for a while. If I don’t, the next time someone asks me for a euro, I think I might do something regrettable.