As those of you who have been following this blog have probably picked up, it is no longer active. The existing posts will stay up for reference, but I am no longer adding new content. Thanks for a fun two years! ~Tamara

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Last night, I read this on Diana's blog:

I see people forgiving "friends" for many things that are unforgivable or see friends allowing NEGATIVE energy into their lives and I REFUSE to do that. The free time I do have, I want it to be drama free and spend it with people who can only ENHANCE this thing called life.

Now, she couldn't have known this, but this was exactly what I needed to read right then. Certain people in this world have devoted themselves to making other people miserable. We've all met at least one, right? Most of the time such people are easy to deal with--you can just walk away. But sometimes third party people and life circumstances force you to put up with insufferable jerks. So how do you know when a relationship is so toxic that it's worth giving up a job, a friend, a lifestyle for?

Since this is a food blog, I shall illustrate the dilemma with my lunch.

Good relationship networks are like this half eaten sandwich. The whole grain bread, roasted red pepper hummus, white cheddar, and honey turkey all taste distinct in their own right, with none of the flavors overpowering the others. But say I chose a particularly argumentative bread, like some haughty French loaf. Say the bread took offense to the lettuce and undertook a campaign to have it thrown off the plate. Say the cheese sided with the lettuce, so the bread spread nasty rumors about moldy cheddar. The cheese and lettuce want to leave, but the hummus keeps clinging and crying, "Why can't we all just be like we were before?"

The cheese and lettuce would feel guilty for disassembling the sandwich, since it means so much to the hummus, but it's no use. Such a strife-laden meal would give anyone indigestion.

During the summer I worked for someone with particularly low self-esteem. After years of being bullied by a previous librarian, never getting up the courage to leave, she turned into a controlling bully herself. She made condescending remarks every time the slightest chance arose (for example, "We still have so much to put in your little brain") and sometimes said things I'm not even sure are legal (like, "We're paying you twice as much as the students funded by work-study, so I'll work you harder than the others. It may not be right, it may not feel 'fair,' but that's the way it is.") Even after a month of being belittled and micromanaged I was still the hummus saying to herself, "It will get better. It has to." But when a coworker told me she endured the same treatment for half a year before the higher-ups intervened, I realized how stupid I was being.

Did I feel guilty for jumping ship? Of course--honor is coded into my half-Chinese DNA. But honor wasn't worth it. Obligation wasn't worth it. Now I'm facing a similar situation (not with my new boss; she's fantastic) and am in the same old hummus trap. It's unfortunate, but some ingredients just don't mix. It's time to say goodbye to the baguette and set out to find some flavors that, as Diana said, enhance the dining experience, not destroy it.


  1. I can deal pretty well with difficult people, mainly because my sister has treated me like crap my whole life and if a sibling can do that to you then you can handle pretty much anything!

    I am sorry you are in hummus trap again and I hope you find a way to get out of it. Quitting is hard - the Indian in me won't let me quit without a fight!

    PS - Just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your very educated and well written comments! You always make me think and I love that.

  2. Thanks for the link back...I think people in the world need to stop putting others down to enhance their own worth...LEAVE US ALONE! Hope life works out their kinks in your end.


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