Here’s the story of comprende, anger, and an unsightly todger.
I don’t mean to be rude, but if she comes anywhere near me again I think my head might explode. You might say that’s not really the definition of being rude, but I think if bits of someone’s head splattered all over my lovely frock, I wouldn’t be in the best mood. I am, of course, referring to a woman who I shall name Betsy. It’s the first name I could think of. I know it’s from the olden days, but so is she. Never in my life have I had to deal with anyone so rude and selfish and she’s supposed to be a woman of God! Have you ever had to sit down with a client who, for three hours, keeps saying shit in your ear such as, “Oh, God is not happy with the work you’re doing.” It’s really difficult to know how to handle people and situations like this, especially if one is as shy and reserved as I am. And I tell you this much, I’ve been in more of those situations in just the last seven days than I have been in my entire life. I walked passed a guy this week on my way to work. He was leaning against a tree and I thought something might be wrong. So I looked over and… oh, there’s his penis… oh, he’s having a p – oh, that is not an image I’m going to forget in a hurry…
Don’t worry, people do that all the time in the UK. I mean, sure, not in broad daylight outside a school, but still… it was closed that day, thankfully. I think the art of holding it in is becoming a lost skill. People will now interrupt a conversation to go pee. At least that’s what I think they’re doing. I mean, sure, the last time that happened I never saw her again and upon investigation I found the bathroom window open, but still, I’m more inclined to believe the toilet was broken and the door lock was stuck and she had an emergency so emergent she couldn’t tell me about it – I’m thinking she was a spy, personally and… what? You… you think she stood me up? Ah come on, that’s more ridiculous than my theory…
I often wonder if the police would let you finish if they caught you doing that in public, against a tree, for example. I mean, honestly, if I was a copper, I would. He’s already broken the law and I don’t want to clean up an awful mess in my police car. For me, it would be very harsh to pull him away mid-flow and throw him into a paddy wagon with his todger hanging out. That said, there was a guy arrested near me this week who was, upon arrest, completely naked. The cops thought he might have concealed weapons so they made him take all his clothes off. That wasn’t a pleasant sight as I sat down to watch the local evening news having my dinner, let me tell you. And still, he could’ve been concealing a weapon. They didn’t even check. I mean, sure, why would you want to but – sorry, I feel like I’ve gone off-piste. Talking of being piste off…
It started out well, sure. An African lady entered the place where I work. “We arrived a few months ago and we’ve taken over a Baptist church in the suburbs.” Taken over running it, that is. Not Die Hard ‘taken over.’ Ah, what a lovely lady. Oh, how wrong I was. In this day and age, we all have to be nice and happy and friendly and other such hippy ideals, but I’m sorry, that women is awful. And hate is a strong word, I know, but it is not strong enough for her, let me tell you…
So she gave me a list of things she wanted printing. “Give me the price,” she said. I don’t deal with the prices, I’ll take your details and I’ll get the boss to give you a call. “No! I demand to speak to your boss!” He’s in a meeting and his phone is switched off. “Call him!” Phone. Off. Comprende? “I have never been spoken to like this in my life! You are so rude!” Admittedly, I’d have to agree with her if I had said ‘comprende’, but I’m not cool enough to pull that off. I know my limits.
I know you’re thinking you’re getting only one side of the story, but trust me, I have witnesses that will testify to the fact this is the only side of this story. She was, and remains, this bad. I was getting very wound up and people who know me will say they’ve never seen me angry. Like all good Brits, I keep my emotions bottled up. Unlike most Brits, I find ways to vent, like here. That’s my Italian heritage sneaking in. During said venting, there may be a lot of swearing. That’s my Irish heritage. Irish grandma would be ever so proud…
Since this day, this little shit has been nothing but a constant pain in my arse. She comes in and shouts at me, and I mean really shouts. I’m designing a roller banner for her. So she brought in a design. “WHY HAVE YOU DONE THAT! That’s not what I asked for, you stupid little man!” Okay, her English isn’t great so I’m not entirely sure she fully grasps the gravitas of what she’s saying. But I was patient. I never raised my voice and I tried my best. I did absolutely everything I could. So I did her another design. You tend to go through a couple, it’s a process with the clients. A back and forth. Not with her. No, we’ve gone through 27 designs. TWENTY-SEVEN! She came in on attempt 5 with a drawing. We did exactly what she drew. “Why! Not what I wanted! You’re so frustrating!” I showed her the drawing and I was still calm. She ripped it up and threw it in the air. “NO!”
I was becoming a tad stressed out. This is not me. I know I sound like an angry and bitter old man, but trust me, I’m only angry with people who deserve it. I never snap and I never shout. But it was really affecting me. After every round I was frazzled. I was getting no sleep and I couldn’t think straight for days. I don’t like being shouted at. I’m never shouted at. Not at all. Never. So when people like me, with social anxiety, get an ear full, it’s like we’ve been shot. It’s so demoralising. You feel pathetic and like you’ve done something wrong. Like it’s all your fault. But this week. I do not know what happened to me but I just – four months this has been going on. Four bloody months. “I can tell you’re not a man of faith,” she said to me once. “You be so much better at your job if you were.” And I had no choice but to sit there and take it. No choice. Actually, no I do. I volunteer. I don’t get paid. I do it because I love it. Not one bad review in my year there. This really pushed me to the edge. And for the record, I go to church every week and I believe in God. I think the God I’ve been brought up with would not like people like you, missy. I think, and this might just be me, that He likes people to be nice to one another and not a total bitch.
This week, she came in again. We did banner 27 and we showed it to her. She, a week previously, showed us two banners she’d designed herself. They were utter shite. And the thing is, she said copy them exactly. So I did. I really did! Exactly the same. She comes in. “Why! Why have you done this! I’m not happy!” So she gave me a list of changes and I set to work trying to get it right for her. Behind my back, literally, stood right behind me, she was having an argument with one of the bosses. “Well, I’ve asked him to do what I want and he doesn’t listen! He’s a terrible designer! Every time I come in he’s rude and arrogant and refuses to listen to me! I’m sick of him! I was told this was a good company and I’m very unhappy with this service! I deserve to be treated better than this!” I was actually close to tears. I am now, even.
She stood right over me. “Why have you not done that!” “Look, I’m trying my best will you GIVE me a minute!” She didn’t. Two-minute job. Every five seconds. “Come on, hurry!” One hour this went on. “Listen, I’ve done exactly what you’ve asked for, calm down!” I’ve never said that to anyone. Never stood up to anyone. But she… oh, God. Even the fonts she complained about. “I can’t use it, it’s $200!” “You pay for it!” “Nah, you want it, you pay for it!” And even the colours. “It’s not the exact shade I wanted.” Oh, I kid you not, I was 99% accurate. No, not good enough for her. Has to be 100%. I was so angry, I really was.
You might wonder why we put up with it. It’s a good question. I woke up the next day and I didn’t want to get out of bed. Social anxiety is like depression. You have good days and bad days, days you want to get out of bed and days you don’t. I have been volunteering for a year because I love it. It’s the best job in the world. You get to design things, like shop signs and menus. You go down one of my town’s major shopping streets and I say to myself, ‘I did that sign. Oh, and that one! I did their window graphics!’ I’m so proud. Never been happier. Everyone’s said to me how well I’ve been doing in the last year. Happier, healthier, more confident, talking more, and so on. But one little thing like that ‘holier than thou’ woman, and I honestly just feel… I don’t know. Not good. But the job is a big one. She wants lots of stuff off us. Five grand’s worth of printing and vehicle wrapping. We’re a small company. We need that money to pay the bills. You might say every job has a moment like this. A client like this. But in my 27 years, I’ve never experienced anything like it and it’s really shaken me.
Now the ‘experts’ will say I’m wrong. Countless studies PROVE me wrong. Having a rant and a rave against someone or something, especially online, is not ‘catharsis’ and is terrible. It is the worst thing you can do. It will make you feel worse. Well I’m sorry, hippies, but I think anger deserves its place alongside any other emotion. I know I feel a hell of a lot better after this. The psychologists say anger is without merit and is utterly pointless. Bullshit. Utter bull-plop. Anger strengthens us. It defines us. It makes us better people because it gives us a shield to protect ourselves from the detritus of the human race. We are, probably, the worst race in the whole of the universe. We are terrible people and anger is what elevates those of us brave enough to embrace it above those trying to hurt us. It galvanises us and gives us our hearts. Anger is not black but every colour of the rainbow. You need it otherwise you’ll get nowhere. I have worked so hard in the last year and I’ll be damned if some woman thinks she can break me down. It is anger and nothing but anger that got me out of bed the next day. It is the fuel in the rocket of life. That’s what I’ve learnt this week. Don’t use anger for hate, use it as a source of strength against those that hate you.
As was first said by one British army officer during World War II, don’t let the bastards grind you down…
American actress and stand-up comedienne, Phyllis Diller (1917-2012), once said: “Don’t go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”
Peace Out :|:
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