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I got to exercise class early, as usual, and was feeling a little out of sorts. So instead of jamming myself into a corner to avoid the horse whisperer, I stood in front of the window so I would have something besides my own well-padded body to look at. (Especially unattractive while squatting.)

Big mistake.

The class wasn’t as full as usual, and who should come galloping in at the last minute? You guessed it.

Of course, she stood right behind me. And immediately. Started. Talking. At first she was all, “(My son) likes Clare a lot. He says they play together all the time!”

I knew I was in trouble when she moved closer and started talking in low tones. My first thought was, “Oh, god — no playdates. No playdates.” But what followed was worse.

“So The Husband might get laid off. Last round there were 2,500 layoffs, and we’re afraid he might be in the next round. So I’ve been job hunting. Actually, I have an interview tomorrow. I’ve been crying about it for days.”

Just as I was starting to wonder why she was telling me this, she gave me her intense, horse-eye stare, and said, “Anyway, if I got the job, I would need someone to take (my son) to day care.”

I gulped. My palms started sweating (not good when you’re about to pick up a barbell). Excuses started running through my head. (My car is unsafe! I have to get to work right after preschool! Please, anyone, help me think of a better one!)

Then she did it. “I was wondering if you could take (my son) from preschool to day care if I get the job.”

I barely know this woman! I would never ask a marginal acquaintance for a favor. Especially a RECURRING favor. What is the matter with her?

I cleared my throat. “Um, I guess, maybe, yeah, I might be able to do that.”

Why is it that all the world’s freaks and weirdos tell me their life stories and think I care? I guess that’s useful in the reporting department, but not in everyday life. I do not want to be connected to this woman. Have I become too Minnesota Nice? Do I need to tell her flat-out that I don’t want to be her friend? Dear Internets, help!