Tuesday, February 13, 2007
A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma
I just don't understand my coworker, Curmudgeonly J. Or maybe, to be more accurate, I don't want to understand. He approaches life with a taser and a big heavy shield, as though every interaction, from passing over information from the previous shift to ordering coffee at Dunkin Donuts, has not only the potential, but the likelihood of hostility and personal insult. And rather than sit around waiting for that hostility to actually materialize, Curmudgeonly J will strike out preemptively, which, of course, ignites hostility, so he has the unique pleasure of being right while he is being attacked. At the same time, he feels that he knows best about ev-ery-thing, and feels personally responsible to make everyone else do their jobs to his specifications.

It just seems like an exhausting way to live.

The worst are his interactions with Perfect J, because they've worked together for the past two or three hundred years, give or take, and they both have an overflowing boatload of preconceived expectations of how the other will act and what the other will do in any given situation.

Curmudgeonly J: I have this form that one of the psych hospitals is asking the emergency room nurses to use, to relay information. We should all use it, because there have been so many screw-ups lately when those stupid nurses overstep their boundaries and try to talk about the patient's psychiatric symptoms and they're directly contradicting what I just said.
Perfect J: Well, but, I don't want to tell the nurses what to do. I feel like they're doing the best they can already. I don't mind using the form, but I don't want to fight the nurses about it.
CJ: What do you mean, you think they're doing the best you can? Are you willing to accept mediocrity? What's wrong with you?

And degeneration from there.

I don't get caught up in the same cycle, partly because I haven't been working here so long so I'm not tied into the same dynamics and misery, and partly because I have very little ability to give two hoots (or even one) about one middle-aged man's finger-pointing combined with a way overdeveloped sense of responsibility combined with relative powerlessness. Sorry, Curmudgeonly J, but what matters to you just doesn't matter to me.