I’m not argumentative, it’s just that other people are so incredibly wrong that I have to point it out.
Word of the day: Kelpie – mischievous water spirit
Today was a day of rain and rain and rain. We stayed outside hoeing weeds off paths, and keeping our heads down, waiting for the minutes to inch past.
At break time we had fifteen minutes to try and dry off, even though it’s summer we all huddled around the radiator.
Then Barry (attention-seeking road sweeper who’s become increasingly unpleasant over the last few weeks) came stamping into the mess room. He was wet through and had decided that was our fault, specifically mine.
‘Well thank you very much!’ he shouted. We all looked at him blankly. He was waving his arms around, eyes bugging out.
‘I was out there all on my own and then the rain came down like a fucking bus on my head!’
‘Oh dear,’ we all mumble, ‘shame.’ It hadn’t occurred to him that we experienced the exact same rain.
‘But none of you came to check on me did you? None of you came to see I was ok!’ He was red-faced, slamming things in his locker, then taking them out so he could slam them in again. At this point I thought, bollocks, and sat down to read the paper. He had been building up to this tantrum with a series of minor tantrums, and my patience had worn away to nothing. The others in the room made awkward sympathetic noises, but I stayed quiet.
Now, in case you’re wondering, there’s no reason why we would check on him, we don’t work with him, we never know where he is, or even if he’s at work unless we happen to pass him. But in Barry’s mind (which I’m starting to think is the mind of the narcissist) this was an affront! An insult! How dare we!
His ranting carried on, but now I was obviously not listening, and this was a further insult, a sign of disrespect. And although he didn’t use my name, I could tell that each rage-filled comment was now directed at me, I could feel his bug eyes trying to burn a hole through my paper. Above the page, I could see him leaning over the table towards me.
‘No! Don’t worry about me! I’ll be fine! You just sit there like it doesn’t matter!’
So I did. And it didn’t.
‘I could have died out there! You wouldn’t even know!’ He slammed something in his locker again. ‘And look at me! I’m soaked! I’m not going to be able to dry off now,’ he snarled, I focused on my paper. ‘I’ll be wet all day!’
Eventually he ran out of words and I ran out of break. I got up and walked to the door, where I ran into Mike coming in.
‘Hi Inkbiotic, do you think you could help me do a service on the hedgecutters after break?’
‘Sure, Mike,’ I say.
From behind me, Barry sneered,
‘Oh she can speak! Now she talks.’
I didn’t say anything, because fuck this, and I carried on out the door. As I went back into the rain with relief, I heard Barry shouting after me,
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.’
But it’s too late. He’s a dickhead and I’ve had enough.