I’ve had my fill of waging war against overbearing bosses and know-it-all colleagues. I do my best these days to keep my head down and avoid notice whenever possible. I don’t want to stand out or fall behind. I want to hide right in the middle of the curve. I’ve said it before, but I really just wan to do the job and get home as quickly as possible at the end of the day.
I’ve always had a temper, but was blessed with an incredibly long fuse. Because of that, most people have never seen me detonate. At most, they find me at a simmer or more rarely moving on towards a rolling boil. For the sake of professional decorum and not wanting to give away that someone’s actually gotten under my skin, I try very hard to keep it from boiling over. Once I’ve reached the point of no return, one of two things are going to happen. I’m going to slam something down on the desk and storm out of the room or more likely I’m going to get very quiet, set my jaw, and hiss something at you through clenched teeth.
It seems that I’ve finally reached that snapping point with someone, who yesterday cornered me at my desk to tell me their family stories of long, lingering deaths. I have no earthly idea why anyone would consider this appropriate office conversation, or really appropriate for anyone other than family and the closest of friends. After 30 minutes of aural abuse, I finally snapped; not so much because today was particularly troubling, but because it’s been the same thing for months now.
Hey, we all have our own personal cross to bear. Yours don’t make you any more special, troubled, or saintly than anyone else around here. Apparently telling someone that to their face is considered impolite. The up side is they haven’t said anything to me in two days. On balance, being thought impolite is a small price to pay for that kind of peace and quiet.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date