1. Possibly because I was looking at the phone being held not very far away from my face, I looked boz-eyed. I've always harboured a secret fear that I am in fact a bit cross-eyed, and that people have always been too nice to point it out (given all my other physical afflictions). I'm therefore a little sensitive about it, OK? Why are you looking at me like that?
2. I looked like Bert off Sesame Street. I'd love to put this down to the slightly fish-eye nature of the smartphone camera lens, but I have an uncomfortable feeling that this may not be entirely true. So, the image had to be cropped, which happily seems to have mostly rectified the boz-eyed effect too. WIN!
3. I would prefer to maintain a certain degree of anonymity for when this blog hits the computer of someone with nothing better to do, who then shares it with the rest of the planet (it would have to be the type of person who has about 4000 'friends' and 16,000 'likes' on facebook), upon which it goes viral. Or, more realistically, somebody I know may accidentally happen upon it, and I'd rather keep some pretence of being anonymous to avoid my/their/anyone else's embarrassment over the drivel I pour forth. Hopefully nobody ever looks at my eyes...
The eyes are my 'angry' eyes, usually ably assisted by my more than adequate eyebrows (which, by the way, I am increasingly having to trim in order to stop them looking like a pair of hairy hands growing out of my face).
Why angry? Well, to illustrate my point/question. I started off down this trail a long time ago, jumped off it, then back on, then off it again. The trail/issue is this: being patient/nice with people who are, frankly, arseholes.
I just read an interesting article by a disabled comedian (he has cerebral palsy and uses a motorised wheelchair) who explains why he has given up being nice to well-meaning but patronising people who try to proactively 'help' him. It got me thinking about being 'nice' in general, and why I've been doing a great deal of it since I came to Canada in 2002.
The other day I was finishing a night shift at work. As usual, it hadn't been particularly busy, but that meant that the night had dragged, and I was rather tired (it being the last of a four night run, and - mostly - me being a bit of an old bastard). The person who was due to relieve me is something of a thorn in my side. Indolent, dishonest, manipulative and devious (I can't remember why I don't like her, though), she has been working in that building (part time) for five years or so, and has about three times more hours under her belt than I do. She's a little over half my age, and seems to believe that she is the mistress of all she surveys. I know (evidenced) that she engineered a former colleague being fired, reporting him for conduct which I have subsequently obtained irrefutable evidence of her routinely engaging in. Like I said; it's hard to work out why I feel less than enamoured with her, really.
Over the last year, she has been downright offensive in manner, dishonest to me (about stuff she doesn't realise I know the truth about) and has engineered a very useful and frankly inappropriate friendship with someone else in the building. This friendship has recently borne fruit when she was given an opportunity based largely upon her friend's recommendation. It's not just me; a colleague (same age, same kind of life experiences) has experienced almost identical - and totally independent - interactions with her over the same time period (we started work in the building at the same time). In the course of more than twelve months, I've had one 'blunt' conversation with her about the way she has treated me (i.e. with barely concealed contempt), during which she burst into tears/sobs and subsequently went running to our supervisor about.
Since then, I've worn my patient face/persona. I've sought to be civil and occasionally attempted to broaden or improve our professional relationship by being proactively friendly - trying to open up conversations about the workplace and the work we do. It's been to no avail; she's responded almost uniformly with grunts, silence or smart-arse remarks which seem to be intended to put me in my place (which place is that?) or reassure herself that she is more experienced in that building. Sharing any insight or information that she doesn't already have is met with the universal put-down: "Oh I know."
Why the HELL have I been so pathetically patient with this obnoxious piece of humanity? I'm not sure whether I've been more angry with her for her behaviour, or with myself for not reacting the way that I traditionally would have. In the past - particularly as a copper - I'd have addressed the first such piece of antagonism directly and bluntly (along the lines of "Just who the **** do you think you're talking to?"), but since I came to Canada I've consistently poured honey instead of acid. It's not really honest to how I feel.
Part of it, I think, is because of a perceived loss of status. Being a cop is an important job, and it's a high-status role in society. I lost that sense of professional worth when I left the cops, and I think that to some degree it affected how I feel about myself within society; perhaps a little dis-enabled. A (bigger) part of it since I began working outside of the cops is that I've always worked with supervisors who are either inept, lack integrity or who have little concept of what is actually going on around them, and therefore feel threatened by anyone with a functioning pair of neurons. Some have fitted into all three categories. The effect has been to make it rather difficult to get across reasoned arguments and observations about the workplace; I've had ideas stolen, been told that meetings at which I was present never actually occurred, and told outright that my presence is indeed a threat. In contrast, when looking for someone to work with or under my supervision, I actually want a very smart person...
Now, by choice, I'm working in a low-level job, and it seems that some of my colleagues (and one in particular) struggle to understand who I am or what I've experienced in life. I think, perhaps, that it's time that I lost my patience with that; we're all adults, and I've been soaking up the disrespect/contempt for a year in this particular situation. My job now is simple, a little repetitive and routinely boring, with very short bursts of only mild excitement. It's time to stop being Mr. Nice Guy with the people who have never made an attempt to be welcoming or accepting of the new boy. It's time to step up, frighten the crap out of my supervisors and start being the real me.
On this last occasion, my colleague was late to relieve me. She is almost routinely late, and the word in the building is that it has always been thus. Despite this kind of attitude, through manipulative tactics (which I've seen for myself) and judicious application of effort only when the boss is around, she is something of a golden girl. I disagree, of course. When she rolled in late, I had already begun to do the work that she was expected to do. She came in without a word; said simply nothing to me. It was the final straw.
Without boring you with the details, I voiced my opinion and she switched immediately into 'whatever' mode, dismissing the entire issue. Then she offered me an excuse for being late (fire alarm in her residential building) which she's used on at least two occasions before (once with me, once with a colleague). Her default position is dismissive, and that's where she went again, so I've warned her now that if it happens again I'm reporting the matter. I avoid telling tales about people I work with, but what's finally dawned on me is that this young woman is affecting me emotionally when I'm at work, and if I'm anticipating seeing her at work. the reason for that is that I'm not being honest about how I feel about her behaviour. It's the old 'line in the sand' moment. I should have done this some time ago.
All of which means; I may be looking for a new job sometime soon!