Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Planet Am I On?

Yesterday when I left for work, I'm pretty sure I brought my brain with me. It's a silly habit, actually. Keeping my brain firmly attached and using it to, oh, I don't know...think things through before I speak or act. Yes, I know. Very intellectual of me, given the current state of male Republicans from S.C. who yell and refuse to apologize or screw up and won't STOP apologizing to everyone but the woman who has been publicly humiliated.

Yesterday I got a taste of humiliation. Twice. Oddly enough, it appears my crime was that I actually do my job while utilizing my braincells...which makes me, try to follow me here...lazy.

Oh yeah, you read that right.

So I'll give you the scenario and you tell me if I need [a] mental counseling [b] job counseling [c] a vacation or [d] all of the above. I automatically ruled out a hit man just because I'm also cursed with morals and principles.

For almost seven years, I have performed my job in the morning and assisted a co-worker in the afternoons. Bottom line: she never wanted to be in charge and the Boss shushed her concerns away, offering her the necessary assistance to do the job.

Hi, my name is Necessary Assistance. No, you don't get paid extra for two jobs.

Said co-worker is old enough to retire but won't. Why? She doesn't want to. Yet she's told me numerous times she knows she's not well educated and frankly, the children get on her nerves. They really do. Sometimes she curses at them, sometimes she just walks away to have a smoke. Her saving grace is that she doesn't mind helping out, as long as you tell her exactly what to do. She shuns planning, as if it points out her failings and every attempt to show her that the computer is for more than playing solitaire has fallen on deaf ears. My "job" was originally to offer helpful suggestions on how to expand her program. After all, in today's world, everything is all about "the numbers". So I share, she ignores and I use the rest of my time helping the kids. The kids I like. 5th grade math...not so much.

Unfortunately, I'm in the unenviable position that complaining to the Boss would fall on deaf ears. And even if someone did listen, I'd still remain tied to this woman for budgetary reasons. A woman who has a very bad temper and doesn't mind unleashing it. I do not want to be on the receiving end of it, for it is not a pretty sight. So for the past year I've quietly helped the children with their homework while she hides in the office, playing computer games. I believe that "what goes around, comes around."

Funny, I didn't think it would come around and smack me in the back of the head when I wasn't looking.

Seems that yesterday, on one of the rare occasions said co-worker is suppose to aid me, she was in the kitchen, sharing stories with my Community Service worker. [For those of you who don't live around here, Judges often sentence those have done petty, non-violent crimes to "Community Service", in effect making them free janitorial labor for government agencies.] I had no idea she was so creative. My worker was so horrified, she cornered me when the woman left.

It seems my list of crimes are:

I am lazy.
[The proof? I refused to mop HER building this summer. She had 4 paid employees, I while alone was responsible for my own site in a building literally 4 times the size of hers]

I never mop or clean...until I have a worker to do it for me.
[Interesting. Guess I just make the trash levitate out of the building on Fridays and ask the toilets to clean themselves. Why doesn't that work at home?]

I refuse to help with the children, leaving her to handle things all alone while I sit and read.
[I'm breathing deeply here...give me a minute. It's allergy season. I don't go outside for a few weeks, twice a year. I've now been diagnosed with asthma...not going to volunteer to sit in the pollen. She sits on a bench, yells at the children, smokes and watches them play. All THREE of them].

I won't help with homework.
[Funny, I'm the only one over the age of 12 who understands it].

The worker apologized to me, saying she didn't want to be mean but I'd been so nice to her and she'd seen me work so hard, she found it all confusing. I smiled. It's what I do when I'd like to put my hand through a wall over the unfairness of life but don't want the medical bills. I thanked her for sharing. And I shut up.

The co-worker will soon begin to worry. I had little to say yesterday. I will have even less to say today. For you see yesterday I learned that when I was out sick, there were new rules laid down. Sad rules.

Said co-worker had helped the ONLY child we had yesterday with a math problem. She stepped outside for a moment to speak to someone and he turned to me. As soon as he opened his mouth to ask for help, he shut it and mumbled.

"What?" I asked kindly, thinking he was just embarrassed.

"Never mind," he sighed. "I can't break the rules." When I inquired as to what rule he meant, he said like a man walking on death row, "The one where if she helps me, I'm not allowed to ask you to help me with the same thing. She says we can't do that any more. She says it hurts her feelings if we go to you for help."

This kid is a pain in the butt. Big time. But I felt so sorry for him because he was truly confused about this turn of events. So in a very calm voice I replied, "It's okay. We won't break the rules."

The woman returned, answered another question and then declared she was going out for a smoke. As she turned to leave, she told the boy, "It's okay for you to ask her for help now. I'm busy." Neither of us replied.

When she was clear of the door, the boy looked at me and said, "Can I ask you something?"


"Cause you always tell us the truth. Does it hurt your feelings if I ask you something, then ask her the same thing?"

"No," I sighed quietly, angry at that moment only because this grown woman had made an 11 year old boy feel evil.

"I don't get it," he sighed loudly, waiting for an explanation.

As quickly as possible, I reminded him of a day that he'd told me something about school, then the girl next to him told me the same thing. But they'd used different words. Told it in two different ways. I tried to gently explain that we don't all learn the same way, so there are times it might take once or twice....or more....until we understand a concept.

"I get it," he said with a smile. "She gets mad a lot more than you do. And you like us."

I wanted to hug him. Instead I told him how smart he was and I was able to say the same to his doubting father, when he came to pick the boy up. He's trying really hard, I added. I'm proud of him.

In a way, as angry as I am at the irony of doing all the work and being called the lazy one, I'm proud of me. After all, I could've marched up to her angrily and pointed a finger in her face while yelling, "You lie!"

But that 's not me. No, as I prepare to go again this afternoon, knowing how badly she's spoken of me after I've done most of her job all these years, one thought goes through my head....

Lady, what goes around comes around. Good luck. My brain and I are searching for the exit.


Peggy said...

Grrrrrrrrrrrr, I am so sorry that you had to suffer at the hands of a jealous fool! You handled it so well, I would still be steaming and burning holes in the back of her head. She is so jealous of you, that's obvious! She should really be removed, I wouldn't want her anywhere near my child.
I also believe the same as you that what goes around, comes around. Maybe you'll even be around when it happens. :)

mapstew said...

It takes a lot to hold it all in!
Something I'm still learning to do, even at my age! Good on you.

But you DO need to vent, and you do that so well here :¬) !
As Frazier Crane would say "I'm listening".

(I sing VERY LOUDLY when there's nobody around, that does it for me.)


Titus said...

Bloody hell hope! If you opt for the hitman/woman option I will happily volunteer myself and my husband as we know things about evidence that might assist in committing the perfect crime.
On a more reasoned note, the only way you win with these sort of people is morally, and internally. And you are winning that one, big time. I admire your fortitude and marvel at the value you bring into the children's lives. Like Peggy so perceptively said, this is jealousy. You are better than her and she knows it.
She is paying for her crimes already, in bitterness and gall.
Stay sweet, stay tough until it's time to move on.
Love and best wishes.

Brighid said...

Hang in there, she must be miserable to act that way. You are the light for the kids, and they are the important part.
Will you remember her meanness in years to come, or that special kid you helped to see the light? And who do you think the child will remember? I'm thinking it will be You.

Rachel Fox said...

Dreadful woman. Dreadful stupid woman. (Her not you obviously!)

Susan at Stony River said...

Hope, I'd say what you need is a passing bus and no witnesses. Jiminy Christmas. I'm glad you're at least surrounded by nice people -- like 'community worker' (ahem) who was honest with you and saw through the tales, and the kids who like you and are straight with you too.

I have a hm, let's say a female relative, who tells terrible lies about me. I did nothing to deserve it, but getting upset about the injustice or pain of it only serves her evil purpose (and yes, this woman is indeed the spawn of Sauron, switched accidentally into our family in the maternity ward all those years ago). So I'd say, go to work so damn happy it makes her blood boil and her brain 'splode.

And, problem solved.

Meanwhile, I'll try to figure out how to pack all these hugs and good wishes I have for you into an envelope headed for South Carolina.

hope said...

Peggy, I'm somewhere between furious and sad. How do those in charge get to stay there when they're so blind? Oh well,I chose the name "hope" for a reason. ;)

Map..thank you Doctor. :) So, prescribe a song for me to sing. I do that in my car when I'm alone so I don't offend anyone.

Titus...don't tempt me. She was a pain in the arse this afternoon too. I just stayed quiet. Now she's looking at me funny. Maybe she should. :) Sad thing is, I'm stuck with her ALL DAY on Thursdays! Sigh.

Brighid, I hope to never remember her at all in the near future. I'm taking a vacation at the end of the month and the job search will intensify. I'm nice, but I'm not sadistic. :)

Thank you Rachel. That actually makes me feel better to hear someone ELSE say that. :)

Susan, just keep talking to me and keep me human. Whatever happens, please don't let me turn into a Republican man. :0

mapstew said...

'Dance Tonight' by Paul McCartney is my current feelgood cheermyselfup calmmyselfdown favourite.
I prescribe two views on YouTube and call me in the morning.


Janie B said...

I'm so sorry you have that to look forward to every day. It is so hard to work with a difficult co-worker. She must feel really inferior and badly about herself to take it out on you. Head up, you are above it all.

steven said...

hello hope - i echo janie b's comments. it's so sad to have work clouded by interpersonal issues. have a peaceful day hope - i really wish that! steven

the broken down barman said...

here's what to do:

laugh at her face (in private) and just say calmly, i know your scared cos you dont have a clue what your doing, but we both know the truth, everyone that comes here knows the truth, so stop making more of a fool of yourself.
i would probably add something about miserable old bastard, or im gonna cut you up into your various molecules, but that depends on taste!!! dont let the bastards grind you down.

Dan. said...

Hope, that situation sounds awful. I know everyone says that you have to rise above it and be the better person, but when you have scenarios like the one you have just laid out, it makes it very difficult to do that sometimes.

The main thing is obviously not to disrupt the children too much; this woman obviously has such low self esteem.

If you won’t consider a hit man, have you ever thought about hiring a band of ninjas? They are normally a lot cheaper, and a lot quieter.


Try to keep your chin up, and vent on here if you have too.

hope said...

Map...sorry I missed my morning call Doc. Good prescription...mandolins are very comforting. Had to work with that woman all day. She was SO nice this morning...because she was late and called to ask me to unlock her building.

Janie B...I'm trying, I swear I'm trying. [Okay, so I'm trying not to swear but..]. It helps when nice folks like you point out I'm the OK one. was peaceful in an odd way. I refused to speak to her unless necessary today. She's looking at me funny. Let her wonder.

Barman...I just envisioned what you said and it made me laugh. Thanks.

Dan...oooh, ninjas. That would be fun. Well, at least for me. :) Gives me options. I like that. Thanks.

the broken down barman said...

well thats me written ma happy stuff then hope!!! at least it made you laugh.
i was serious though.

enchantedoak said...

She's so toxic I hope she will get gall bladder disease. I love your way with the kids. I love your solution: Not talking to her and putting first things first: the kids. I hope you get to see her get her just desserts, but if you don't, don't worry. There is a God.

hope said...

Barman, I KNEW you'd say that. :) I'm trying to consider her not worth the extra effort. ;)

Welcome enchantedoak! In my head, I know. But sometimes taking the high road gets lonely. :) But you're right...God's along for the walk. Come back soon!