My book club resumed our monthly meetings Wednesday night. Covid infection rates are way down in this area, and once again it seems safe to do so. Olenka was the hostess this time, and while she always puts on a really nice spread, this time she really outdid herself.
We read The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni. I didn't bother to link to it because I thought it was a piece of crap. Everyone else loved it, or said they did, with the possible exception of my friend Marian, whose only comment was "Well, it's certainly no World According to Garp". I thought that a very apt observation, because the author really did seem to be trying to write a sort of John Irving-esc novel. Well, we can't all like everything. I borrowed the book from someone else so at least I didn't pay for it!
Good book or not, I was grateful for the chance to get away for a couple of hours and spend time laughing with friends. We called Kathleen, our former group leader who moved away last month, and put the phone on speaker so everyone could say hi. We certainly miss her, and it was obvious she misses us too and is lonely. She's in rural New York state helping her (very) elderly mother at the moment. The only other member who didn't come was Sara, whose younger son has asthma and is still a year too young to get the Covid vaccine. We missed seeing her, too.
I'm feeling a little punky today. Yesterday I got a flu shot at work so I'm blaming that for the achy, tired, dragging feeling I woke up with this morning. I've also been under some stress at work which isn't helping. Two women who work with me in the office have suddenly turned into adult versions of middle-school mean girls towards me. I have no idea why.
I've tried to think how I might have inadvertently offended them, but there really isn't anything. It would be easier if I had (offended them) because then we could talk about it and work it out. No, this is mostly a difference in personalities, but also something deeper. It's me. I attract bullies and always have. That's a hard thing to admit to, a shameful thing. Every day when these women ice me out, pretend I'm invisible, refuse to speak to me or make eye contact unless it's absolutely necessary (but then retreat to one or the other's office to whisper and laugh and gossip together for literally hours) I sit there feeling small on the inside.
This might have already been resolved if I were the type of person who could just walk up to them and have it out. That's really hard for me to do, though. I'm not very assertive, and to be honest, I'm afraid I'd cry, which would be humiliating. Of course, they save the worst of their behavior for when no one is around to observe it (particularly the administration) and I'm afraid to complain because of how popular they are with the rest of the staff. The principal is really nice, but he's a typical man in that he doesn't notice these kinds of subtle, catty behaviors. I can't help but wonder if he'll think I'm being overly sensitive or even paranoid if I say anything.
I'm thankful they're not really creating any problems for me beyond hurting my feelings. The entire rest of the staff at my job is wonderful and I have plenty of good relationships. I might be overworked and doing the job of two or even three people, but I get a lot of respect from everyone except these two. I shouldn't let it bother me as much as it does, honestly. Most days I try to adopt a veneer of cool, distant professionalism and a blank face when they're around. You want to pretend I'm invisible? Ok, I'll ignore you right back. Since they only speak to me these days when it's absolutely necessary, I've starting doing the same in return. It's uncomfortable, but I'm not sure that there's a better solution at the moment.
With everyone else, the students and parents and the rest of the staff, I'm warm and friendly and welcoming. Helpful. Cheerful. I do still like my job, and I'm still very grateful for it. I just wish these two women would move past their (apparent) arrested development and start acting like they work in a middle school, not attend one!
File this under: at least some one appreciates me! (Just kidding) :) The other day a really nice parent brought me a little Halloween treat as a "thank you" for always being kind and helpful to her and her daughter. It's a tiny s'more kit with a custom Halloween marshmallow on top! Isn't it adorable?