As regular readers (all both of 'em) will know, I spend my days driving trucks. The company I work for is possibly the best organization I've ever had the pleasure of sweating my ass off for.
One of the things they give, in addition to a fairly substantial benefits package, is boot chits. That is, you get a gift slip for $100 off new safety boots at a certain store. The company pays the $100, leaving you able to spend the money on beer.
Yesterday evening I had a discussion with another employee--call him Bob. Bob is one of those people you know, he tries to be scary, but you know or at least believe that he's basically crusty on the outside with a nougat centre. He and I have been working at the place for roughly the same period of time and we're friendly-ish.
During our conversation, he mentioned that he'd had two of these boot chits this year. I thought Wow--$200 worth of boots per year--Is this a great company or what?
Now, my boots are worn out; they're so oil-soaked that they leave smudges wherever I go. It's more than my job's worth to walk on carpet with 'em, and they've got a stinking great hole through the right toe, with which I boot recalciterant drums into position.
So the following morning I went to find out why I hadn't seen a chit yet. My boss--call him Frank--said that in fact, we're entitled to only one chitty per year and asked who'd told me we'd get two? I mentioned that Bob and I had been talking about it. It seemed harmless.
At nine o'clock my cell phone rang. It was Bob. He was, and I realize that the word is insufficient for a conversation over a medium where one cannot see the speaker, incandescent with rage. He was yelling so loudly that I couldn't keep the phone to my ear.
"Why the ₤µ€λ did you have to go and mention my name to Frank!"
There followed a foul and generally abusive tirade. I gathered three things:
1) That whatever was pissing Bob off had to do with my speaking to Frank.
2) That it had something to do with the boots conversation.
3) That I was not to speak to Bob regarding work ever again(which presumably leaves social chit-chat).
After the first five minutes I found myself sitting there thinking, if I may paraphrase: "₤µ€λ you Bob."
I appreciate that he may be wounded somehow. But I actually don't yet have a ₤µ€λing clue what pissed him off, and I find I haven't the interest.
And though I felt a powerful persuasion to do so, I have not yet told him to go and have his temper tantrums somewhere else. The man is thirty-eight years old and alternates behaving like a seventeen-year-old (when he's happy) with behaving like a four-year-old (guess when?). I like and respect this guy, most of the time. But under a fairly impressively-sized exterior he's really a very small and petty man.
One of the reasons I wanted to get out of trucking to begin with is the fact that I prefer to solve my problems in the real world like most grownups--of which the industry seems to have a cryingly short supply. I'm next going to see him on Tuesday. If he carries the grudge that long, he can just, in the prosaic terms of the (Vice-)President of the USA, "Go ₤µ€λ himself".
The last time this happened it took him a week to stop acting as though he was wearing a saggy diaper that leaked; Oh yes, this has happened before.
But last time I knew what the cause was. This time I'm having to guess. And I've decided that if he can't talk about it rationally then he can . . .
Oh. Said it before, haven't I?