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


A said...

Sorry Strength, I have ZERO motivation right now. Still unemployed, still waiting to hear back about a program I applied to and really want, am just in a waiting period and so I have no motivation whatsoever to write about any of it. Plus, it's pretty depressing. The blog would just become a chronicle of 'still no word'. Nothing's happening right now. Sigh... Thank you so much for checking back though. I hope your luck is faring far better.

A said...

OK, now that I actually read your post - that's a tough one. There IS no way to say anything without it coming off as presumptuous and/or mean. Oy. Sorry babe, no advice on this one.

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

Oh no, A! I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope things will get better for you soon. And yeah, looks like I'm going to have to grin and bear it with this lady.

E Ess said...

Sorry to hear about Pat. Be honest with her and tell her to back off. Embarrass her when she interrupts your conversations the next time. Stalking/harassment is horrible. Have been stalked anonymously for the past eight years. Fake email accounts set up in my name; emails full of lies sent to my boss and co-workers- even to the principals of my childrens schools. Cops can do nothing as there is never any overt threat, and it only occurs occassionally (once a year). Nip this in the bud!

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

@E Ess Thanks for the advice, but things have seemed to settle down. My experience pales in comparison to yours, though. I'm sorry you had to go through that. And if Pat starts acting shady again, I will indeed nip this in the bud! Thanks for stopping by.