On this particular occasion, I decided to go because it seemed like a way to keep the peace. Then a Surprise! And then the realization of how much energy it would take to partake in this situation.
Tonight, five minutes away from my destination, I decided that it is ALWAYS up to me. I chose to be as friendly and social as I could be without faking it, but I also decided that I don't have to subject myself to SURPRISES! on the way or to people who put my personality up as an indictment for all to see. Sadly, I don't know that these people even know how much it hurts to be accused of things, to be labeled in negative ways, just to make them look better or to excuse the way they are in the world.
We all have our crosses to bear, but to actively and regularly put others down or on the defensive every time you are in each other's presence is really inappropriate and I'm not going to put myself on the docket willingly any more.