People think that hate is bad. They are not wrong, but I often find that one people talk about it they do so as if it is maximally bad, as if hate is the worse thing you can have for a person.
Hate isn’t. Pity is, particularly if that person is a coworker. It is hard to actually respect someone you pity, while you can respect someone you hate. You can hate someone and still be in awe of the their accomplishments, and know that you have to show some deference for what they have done – even if you despise what they have done. That really doesn’t happen with pity. With pity, you only look at the stupidity or ineptitude of their actions or beliefs.
There is always one. In every work place you go there will always be that person who you just don’t like. It’s a bit of a dumb illusion: all there really is is a person you like least, but sometimes the difference is so vast that it feels like a it is something insurmountable. Should a person you like even less turn up, you will start to feel differently about the whole thing.
If you think I am being rude for saying that, know that I was referring to myself. I was the person who turned up and everyone thought was dumb. But I have had enough work experiences to know that should a worse person than myself turn up, things would change. I saw it happen. And I saw it happen to smaller degrees here at this job. Someone would piss off my coworker / colleague and she would speak rather poorly of them. It was massively immature of her. But she just has too many emotions.
For those of you jumping into this story here at the end, my colleague often spoke at length about how she hated emotions. Whenever people brought in their emotions to work, she would say something to the eff3ective of ‘Your feelings are like jeans. Everyone has jeans, but not everyone brings them to work.’ How cute. What she actually meant to say was that she hated other people’s emotions. Hers were paramount, and demanding of respect and attention. I am not sure if she believes this, but this is the conclusion one would draw from her actions. And I am not sure if she is reflective enough to be aware of this.
I don’t think I hate my coworker as a human being. I don’t even think I dislike her as a human being. In many respects, she was a perfectly pleasant person to be around. I did dislike her as a colleague. And I do pity her.
The job ended. The ship sank. It brought us all a little closer as a team. It was at times sad. That emotional response is acceptable from me. I don’t have a problem with people’s emotions, and thus that response was acceptable from all our other colleagues. People cried, people hugged – well, not me, but who cares – and people gave many a heartfelt ‘I love you’, ‘I’ll miss you’ etc. Part of me immediately imagined those more serious and stern co-workers I have had in the past, and the reactions they would have had, the very least of which would have included a strongly worded email to HR. It all felt very excessive, particularly considering, and this is the crux of this post, that there was one colleague in question who had constantly bitched about emotions, how she wished people didn’t have them. What became incredibly clear in all this is that it didn’t matter so much about emotions and all that, it was just away of being dismissive of others.
Again, pity. This is a person who has such little control of her own emotions that she wants to penalize the emotions of others. That is kind of sad.
Ok, I will but in one more anecdote, because it relates tangentially to my portrait of a coworker as a young asshole.
We all went out for drinks on what was our last working night. It was good bye part six by my count, and I was kind of over it.
I also ended up as the designated driver. It was weird because I was ‘voluntold’1 to be the DD, and that one of the few things I had told the people I worked with was that I was a fan of a good drink. But such was my fate.
Second verse same as the first. Lots of dumb fucking emotional goodbyes. At this point, I was god damned sick of them. But I sat through it all, and drove everyone home to boot. The most annoying of my coworkers, the one who brought her jeans to work, was also my flatmate, and so after dropping everyone off and parking the car, we walked home together until she veered off the road and told me she was going off to forage for late-night fried food.
I knew how drunk she was, and felt a little bit of concern that she might stumble off of a fucking bridge. For the entirety of that walk home, I hadn’t seen her maintain a straight line once. What made this awkward was the fact that I also knew that since her recent break up (that she made an issue for all of her coworkers because, you know, emotions) she had been acting like the thirstiest human being on the damn planet, and the true intent of her plans may have just been to get validated by a man2. Should that have been the case, I would make a retreat when I saw that she was safely in someone else’s hand, just so that someone made sure her drunk ass didn’t fall into some shrubbery.
We walked to a local burger joint and found it closed. It was a Tuesday night, it was 2am, it was 2020, and it was a tourist city affected by tourism (or the corona-virus induced lack there of), but for some reason the fact that this establishment was closed (they were cleaning the all the kitchen equipment) was a personal fucking affront to her.
“Life is so hard”, she moaned, reminding me of all the times that she moaned about other people’s first world problems.
Then she, as a foreigner who only speaks English, moaned so much in that store that they fucking broke down and made her a fucking burger.
For the record, she had also bitched about other people’s white privileged. Never her own though.
She got the burger to go, and as we were walking back home she was moaning that she wanted fries, and how angry she was that another establishment was closed. I pointed out to her, for the third time that night, that the establishment in question wasn’t actually closed, and that we could go in and get fries. She storms in (me timidly in tow) and drunkenly looks at the menu. She orders, and she gets the order to go. I don’t know if this was because her Greek wasn’t very good or if she just changed her mind, but at some point she sits down at a table near the register.
That section of the restaurant was closed.
So when they brought her the food (again, to go), she proceeds to open it right then and there and eat it. Then, with dollops of mayonnaise on her face, looks at me and says “you better beleive I am going to eat the burger now too”.
Here I encounter an interpretation problem. She may have been referring to her voracious appetite (something she was very frank about), or she may have been reffering to the fact that she was about to eat food in an establishment, from another establishment, after having told the staff that we were getting the food to go, and while sat in a part of the restaurant that was closed and that the staff had already cleaned.
My god. To the disdain of my parents, I don’t suffer from shame all that frequently. My reaction was better described as pure awe. However, I do have to admit my bias here. Had a friend try to do this, I would have tried to dissuade them. But here, I just let her do it. Frankly, she was coming across as the typical drunk British tourist. And it was at that point that I recalled another conversation I had with her, where she railed against the Brits, and how drunk and slovenly they were, and how she intended to live the rest of her days in Greece where people were more civilized.
Apparently, you can take the Brit out of the UK, but you can’t take the UK out of the Brit3.
And this brings me back to pity. Yes, this person had made my life hellish for the past six months. But she had no principles, and no consistency, and was just a mess of a human being. And I don’t think she is aware of it. I’m not doing great, but I have a hint of how bad things are for me. So yea, there is no anger left in me for this person.
Sigh. I am not yet done talking about this person. I think I have one more fucking thing to so about her. But let us save that for a different post.
1 ‘Voluntold’ is a portmanteau of a friend of mine’s own creation. From ‘volunteer’ and ‘told’. The friend who came up with it was a former military guide, and he talked about being pretty frequently ‘voluntold’ to do things. However, I find it to be massively useful, and feel that it should be incorporated into everyone’s lexicon.
2 I don’t put this here in a kind of paternalistic way, or a kind of ‘how dare she’ sort of way. Hell, I have gone out and looked for validation from other people. But that’s emotional, and I don’t think that emotions are a bad thing. So the comment is really only here because she’s a hypocrite and I’m not.
3 Justine(a good friend of mine and not the person this blogpost is about), if you are reading this know that I have nothing against you or anyone else in the UK. You are a lovely person as I am sure many people in the UK are. But I liked this line, and I am leaving it in.