Jim is driving. me. CRAZY. I called it! He must be the most stupidly OCD person I’ve ever met. He lives his whole life like a checklist, fussing around like an old lady—the kind of person who’s never happy with himself, so good luck ever getting him to say you’ve done a good job. The way I work, I just kind of toss things off, and how it comes out is how it comes out; but he sends me literally every report back with like a hundred tracked changes, all “Not bad, but why don’t you give it another pass.” “Maybe you can find a better word here.” “I think you can tighten this bit up a little.” It makes me want to scream. Every semicolon, every dash has to be used exactly technically correctly; and any archaic phrases that strike my fancy inspire in him deathly enmity—if you don’t plunk out your clauses according to the established tune, he thinks it’s gibberish. It’s MURDER, working with someone like that.
The only thing keeping me in one piece is being so close to the Chief Innovation Officer, G____. He told me outright the other day how frustrated he was with how slow and anal Jim is. People are complaining about it all over the office, to him and to the rest of management — but G____ says you’ve got to learn to accept these things. He’s so funny…at the office holiday party last week, he gave me a motivational poster with a picture of a mountain and the text “Get over it!”. I guess that’s all you can do :P
Meanwhile, Ol’ Jimmy can totally tell the CIO likes me more than him, and that bugs him, and he takes every chance he gets to badmouth the CIO to me. I stick up for him, of course, and so everything just gets even worse. Yesterday Jim really set me off because he started bringing me into it: he said the CIO was a solid thinker, a hard worker, and a good writer, but he was totally useless when it came to basic street smarts, just like all those ‘arty-farty’ types. And then he gave me this look, like, you feel that BURN? But it bounced right off me, and I just thought: okay, if that’s how you’re going to think and talk, I now have zero respect for you. I stood up to him, and fought back pretty hard. I said the CIO was someone you had to respect, for his character AND his brilliance. I said I’d never known anyone who was so excited about learning new things and expanding the scope of his knowledge & thought who could still be so practical and get things done in everyday life. — This was all Greek to Mr. Genius here, and I just walked out to save myself the aneurism in case he said something even stupider.
And this is all YOUR FAULT, all of you who talked me into this ball and chain, and sang me such pretty songs about “productivity.” Productivity! A farmer gets more done than I do just by planting his potatoes, driving into town, and selling his produce. Prove me wrong and I’ll happily row myself to pieces for another ten years chained to this accursèd galley.
And the glitzy misery, the boredom oozing from these horrible people all around me! This status-mania they all have! It’s like all they do is scope each other out and do everything they can to get one tiny step ahead of each other. Talk about nasty, vile, and brutish—this is humanity without the fig leaf. There’s this woman here, for instance, who brags to anyone who’ll listen about her raise and how huge her apartment is, to the point where anyone who didn’t know her would think, wow, this person must be incredibly shallow, to be so obsessed by how well off she is; — but it’s even worse than that, because the girl was an INTERN until three months ago, she’s still commuting in from J____y… I mean, come on. I know about “fake it ’til you make it”, but this is just gross.
So… yeah, William dear, every day it gets more and more obvious to me how stupid it is to judge yourself by comparing yourself to others. And since I’ve got so much to deal with just in myself and this storm-tossed heart o’ mine… buh, I’d be happy to let everyone else walk their own path, if they’d let me walk mine in peace.
What really gets to me is this horrible class-consciousness everywhere. I mean, yes, I understand there’s always going to be privilege, and goodness knows how much I benefit from it myself, but—I just wish it wouldn’t get in my way in the exact places I might actually be able to find a little joy, a little shimmer of happiness in this world. The other day, when I was walking in C____ Park, I bumped into this girl B____ I recognized from work, a suuuper charming person, already pretty far up the company ladder, who’s somehow managed to stay alive and real in this rigid, artificial place. We got chatting and really hit it off, and when we split up I asked her for her number. She gave it to me super excitedly, and we starting texting like crazy, and she invited me over to her place—I was SO excited looking forward to meeting up with her! She’s not from the city originally, and she’s staying with her aunt. So… the aunt’s there when I come over, and right off the bat, this lady’s whole vibe rubs me the wrong way. I tried to be very polite to her, and asked her a lot of questions, and in less than half an hour I’d pretty much got the picture (and B____ confirmed this all later): Dear Aged Auntie has nothing going for her, she’s got no real money to speak of, no personality, and nothing to lean on except her Mayflower-status, nothing to cover her but this aristocratic veneer she plasters over herself, and no pleasure in life other than looking down from her rent-controlled apartment over the yuppie heads going by. Apparently she was pretty when she was young and butterflied her life away breaking young men’s hearts; later she settled down with a retired general, which involved a lot of obedient cowering and housekeeping until he finally died; and now, in her — I don’t know about golden years, maybe, like, corrugated cast-iron years, she’s all alone, and no one would ever come over if her niece weren’t so darn cute.