Done, Done, Done

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

For a long time I stayed with a woman in a crowded messy house
when I travelled to her community to study with a very special art
teacher. His students come from all around the country to the small
town where he lives, and most of us rent rooms from local students. I
think she went through a very bad financial period. She tried to get me
to sign up for some kind of pyramid scheme (I declined) and ended up
in a fight with the instructor and got tossed from the program. I just
returned from a trip there and stayed in a lovely, clean, light-filled
room with another student. Oh the relief! The whole time I was there
the former hostess left me messages about getting together, which I
did not return. Now I understand she is trashing me as rude. Can I
just ignore her or should I do something?

Done, Done, Done

Dear Done:

No one likes being disrespected, even someone who might deserve it.
That means both you and her. And you have your own reputation
among the students and with your teacher to think about. Even though
the teacher might agree with, he wouldn’t be able to say so. So I’d
swallow my pride and sense that you no longer have to deal with
someone you dislike, and play the sincerity card. Attributed to
everyone from Gorge Bernard Shaw to Groucho Marx is a quote that
goes roughly: If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.

Send your former hostess an email that says: I’m sorry we didn’t
connect when I was at the last session of the art program. I was busy
with instruction and project work. I appreciate the hospitality you
showed me in the past. I have found a new place to stay when I come
for classes. I send you all best wishes for your own personal and
artistic development. Take good care. If she replies you can ignore
the email for a long time, or permanently. If confronted, by her or
anyone else, say you wrote her, but any reply must have landed in
your spam bin. That sends the message you want and should end the