One would think that so late in life I would have by now grown a carapace, or at least a thick hide, in which to hide. Being subject to the unpleasantnesses of women should by now be familiar and easily borne. The fact that the one is a great virago, an admitted emotional cripple unable to endure an equal relationship, and the other a dope with an inflated opinion of herself, does not make it easy. It should, but it doesn't. Being bound as a gentleman not to exchange insults with a woman, albeit no lady, makes it harder still.
Being smart not only doesn't help, it is a positive hindrance. Seeing a smaller mind struggle with her insecurities and inadequacies, and understanding her behavior, makes me unwilling to make her feel bad just because she made me feel bad. I am indeed positively grateful in each case to be shut of them. But there is no getting away from feeling buffeted and depressed.
Sheila being, as she now admits, "entitled and arrogant", is hardly news. The other being erratic, self-righteous, and hypersensitive was unfamiliar ground but not unexpected. If I am glad to be done with them, why does the unpleasantness of the exchange in each case continue to upset me?
The truth is that for all my pretense of rhetorical toughness, I am so thin-skinned that I bleed to death from a pinprick.