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Karma Cleanser

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My nextdoor neighbor is a crazy old lady who regularly schedules afternoon "tea parties." She asks several of the older folks in our building to come over and sip tea with her and listen to classical music. She keeps inviting me to take part, and I keep saying no thanks. I'm in my early 30s, recently divorced and trying to sort out what I'm going to do with my life, so I really don't have time to entertain her. But I feel more and more guilty; I've started making up increasingly complex excuses as to why I can't come over, but she just won't take the hint. I don't want to be rude, but her crowd is not exactly my speed. I'm tempted to firmly tell her I appreciate the offer, but I don't think I'll ever be able to make it. Am I just being a bitch? Will my refusing to drink tea with her and the ladies eventually come back to haunt me?

-- Not my cup of tea

Yes, you're being a bitch. What harm did it ever do to share an afternoon with a potentially loony but clearly good-natured neighbor? Who knows -- the answers to your current life problems just might be revealed with a little Earl Grey and a dash of Berlioz. If not, it's never a waste of time to make good with the neighbors.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I'm extremely cautious about germs. I refuse to use public restrooms and even carry napkins around for opening unfamiliar doorknobs. I keep my house pretty much spic & span. I clean things with disinfectants at least once or twice a week. My problem is I've started seeing a man who not only doesn't share my view of cleanliness, he completely disregards it. He leaves dishes in the sink and used paper towels on the counter. I've talked to him about my outlook on cleanliness, but it doesn't go anywhere. I really, really like this man; he's very attractive and extremely available. But I worry that his arrival in my life is the universe's way of getting me back for killing millions of bacteria every day; some sort of karma is definitely at work here. Help me!

-- The Cleaning Lady

Brace yourself, Ms. Clean: Men are dirty, disgusting, messy, inconsiderate slobs -- for the most part. Sure, it's possible that you two just aren't meant for each other given your disparate takes on tidiness. However, we suspect that the arrival of this hunky Pigpen is actually a sign from the universe that your obviously neurotic obsession needs to stop. Relax. It's fun to get your hands dirty sometimes.

Been bad? Get right with the universe at

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