Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I Don't Wanna Play
I’ve matured over the years. I’m a woman, ok? I’m no longer that bespectacled little girl who screamed “I don’t wanna play!” whenever I was forced to join my Lego's with the Boy Who Eats Paste, or asked to make room in my sandbox for the Girl With the Orthodontic Headgear. You see, when you’re already uncool, there is nothing that knocks you further down the popularity scale than being teamed with someone who is even less cool.
Those years are long behind me, but I’ve found myself in an adult version of this scenario in the workplace. As an adult, how do you tell someone that you don’t want to be their friend? How do you tell someone that their good intentions are coming across as stalkerish and insane? This is my problem.
Several weeks ago, I met Pat while washing my hands in the restroom.(Red flag #1) She introduced herself and noted that we were among the .5 percent of black folks in the building. We shared a few “No, I don’t eat watermelon” and “Yes, the president is very articulate” stories and went our separate ways. I was fine with that, I’m always open to seeing a friendly face in the building, especially one of color.
But, I began to see Pat everywhere. And everywhere I see Pat, she wants to TALK. If I’m entering the building while she’s outside smoking, Pat will put out her cigarette to ask me about the weather. If I’m reading and eating in the lunchroom, Pat will come in to ask me what I’m reading. If Pat is on her cell phone when I walk by, she’ll end her conversation to ask me about something on television. Or to gossip about another coworker. Or a popular song.
She leaves books on my desk, with promises of sending more. She interrupts my conversations with other people to ask if I’ve read said book. Once, I found Pat in the restroom and I swear she was waiting by the sink for me to finish up in the stall. I had to fake a bowel movement – lots of grunting, ya’ll – to get her to leave.
Pat is making me a prisoner at my own job. I have no desire to go to the vending machine, to my car, or even to the bathroom. I’m tired of being caught up in the web of her one-sided conversations that go nowhere. Yes, she may be a lonely person who is just hungry for a friend. But she needs to realize that I’m a loud, ticking time bomb of an introvert with raging bouts of pms and my dance card is full, thank you very much. So the next time she comes at me with some of her gibberish, I may just throw my hands up and shout: I DON'T WANNA PLAY!
Photo from http://witchnextdoor.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/sandbox_boy1.gif