Pressure, it Pushes Down on Me

I am a reader and I’m not very picky as long as it isn’t romance. I think that is why I have always narrated my life in my mind. Now that I am actually narrating my life, it’s a whole new ballgame. I have literally psyched myself out about talking to myself about myself. I spaz at a master level.

Last month, I was fired from the job I had for 6 years. I was a service coordinator but my boss retired and the new one brought their own. I was 100% nested there. I have to start a new job soon, and just the thought of starting over at a new place is enough to make one do desperate things. I don’t know what those desperate things are yet, but I am most assuredly desperate. It is a feeling I know well, we’re old friends.

I’ve been spending 90% of my time sitting home alone while Hubby works. I’m obsessed with the Be.Scared podcast, but now I’m listening to it alone and freaking myself out. I have to find things to keep my thoughts occupied. If I don’t, I’ll pace for hours, looking out windows for serial killers. Hence blogging.

I came for the horror, but stayed for his accent.

The job was horrible. Service coordinator is my pretentious way of saying I was in charge of listening to customers bitch. The salesmen and service technicians pissed them off right and proper, then passed them off to me. The job provided benefits, PTO, and plenty of downtime so I sat back, put the phone down until the noise stopped, and apologized until they let me hang up.

Most people just want someone to kiss their ass and say they’re right. I think it makes them feel important. Once they feel validated, they’re usually done with you. Some will torture you as long as you’ll let them scam you into freebies. Then there are those special certifiable assholes that you could make a new blog for just to cover the depths of their fucked-uppery. My all-time worst asshole is a detective. Now that’s scary.

I hate change so much I will stay in bad situations to avoid going through it. I’m 33 now, but I have only had four jobs since I began working at 16.

First, I worked at a restaurant for three years. When it closed, I found work at a western store. After it closed, I became an office manager for Hubby’s aunt. Two years later, we moved the company a couple hours away where there was more business.

Hubby’s aunt drove me insane. I’ll call her Slushy because she turned into a gambling alcoholic. In the 5 years we worked for her, (before she went bankrupt and sold out) she wrecked several trucks, smashed laptops, and lost more company money than I made in 5 years.

When I first met Slushy, Hubby told me she was the coolest aunt ever, but pretty awkward. I felt a kinship and thought we would bond over being socially handicapped. I can be so ignorant sometimes.

She is a very country woman who likes to smoke her pipe after an evening meal with her dog. The dog ate like people. She cooked enough for two, or if she ordered takeout, she bought two meals.

I’m pretty sure she’s a lesbian, but the poor thing was born in the wrong place for that. Instead, she spent her life single with a few live-in friends that happen to be women who needed somewhere to stay for a while.

After working together for a few weeks, I began to realize her more off-putting traits. We were in the office when a customer called. “Hello! Your boss did an estimate for me this morning. Has he made it back yet?”

I corrected the customer “Yes, she’s right here.” Why couldn’t I hand the phone off and walk away? I had to argue like this was actually important.

Then I took a good look at Slushy. As I looked into her scrunched, make-upless face, with thin hair pushed under a cap, and her men’s clothing over her flat chest, I realized my mistake.

The man continued, “I was just with him! I was talking to a man” before she snatched the phone away.

She tried to make it out of the room before she continued the conversation, but I still heard enough to know she pretended to be a man. I don’t blame her, I would have too.

I took too long deciding if I should say more than the sputtery sorry’s I initially babbled. The only thing worse than not saying anything would be bringing up later.

What would that sound like? “Hey I just wanted to say again I’m really sorry for…” I mean what do you say? “For arguing with that man you weren’t a man” or “for seeing you embarrassed”? No thank you.

Anyway, things were downhill after that. She did not respond well to anyone who saw her embarrassed.

Her not being able to computer gave me a complex early on. Once her day drinking began, her memory was ruined. She could not remember anything from the day before. She did not know how to look at the calendar I put on her devices. Instead, she made me read the schedule to her.

After I read it through, she asked me to read it back slower so she could write it down. Every morning Mon-Fri she opened a beer, and spent half an hour writing out customer and job info.

Every morning I asked what happened to the copy from yesterday. She lost it, but I never believed her. I don’t think she was writing anything at all.

I feel like normal people would read this and think “Well. It’s annoying but it’s not that bad”

You’re wrong. She asked the same questions each day. If you made a mistake, she repeated that too. As in “Ok but this time tell them they can’t get any extra materials, they just have to be careful.”

If a job required 20 4×4’s, that’s how many we could buy. If you cut one wrong, you better figure out how to make it work. Too bad I didn’t know it was because she was losing so much at the casino.

When Slushy saw a truck for sale, she called the owner. She gave them my number, and told them to give me the information. I think she enjoyed letting people think she was important enough to need an assistant. She did the same thing with doctor and dentist appointments.

I had many interesting conversations with various people, but the one that stands out most was a woman who said, “Look, he wanted me to give you my information, but I’m not selling to that man. I’m only calling you so I can tell you he sounded drunk as hell and said he was driving. I hope he isn’t really driving in that condition.”

I choked. I don’t remember exactly what I said but it think I stammered out some kind of reassurances the boss would be informed and we would check on the situation. Even I wasn’t dumb enough to tell her, “No, that wasn’t a man, but yes she was the owner and definitely driving drunk.”

This was also back in 2011. Drunk driving was a big deal then too, but out in country backwoods, we were basically living in the 80’s. Even today they’re probably just skimming the 2000 mark. Thankfully, the only things she ever crashed were her own vehicles. By some grand miracle she never involved another soul.

Her memory became more and more a liability. In smaller communities, businesses advertise in several towns to reach more people. Once ad salesmen see a business in one paper, all the others want to sell them ad space too.

Slushy never said no. She agreed to the most flamboyant offers available and gave them my number to receive payment information.

The first time it happened, I called her to confirm she really agreed to the deal. She said she had, and sounded annoyed I was bothering to confirm. The next morning I woke up to her calling.

She was furious. “What the fuck you think your doing spending my money like that?”

Excuse the fuck out of me, what?

She goes on, “You spent 800 mother fucking dollars on a god damn ad in a paper don’t nobody fucking read what the fuck it is wrong with you?”

Oh, hell naw, “Slushy, if your referring to the ad you approved yesterday, I don’t have a clue why you told me to do it.”

“Don’t you try that shit. I ain’t never heard of these damn people before Ned called me this morning. I canceled that shit! Ain’t nobody deciding where my money goes but me! You understand that?”

Why is anger so painful? “Sure Slushy, that’s fine, but I would appreciate if you would try to have an actual conversation before you call me first thing in the morning screaming. I could have told you Ned’s number will be on your call log for yesterday. Then you could have seen you called me right after. I don’t know anything about your stupid ad!

There was a long pause while Slushy reviewed her call log. Finally she said, “Nevermind, bye.” Not a, “sorry” not even a, “my bad.” The resentment burns deeply for every instance it happened. After that experience, I made her send payment approvals via text so I would never be without proof. It didn’t help as much as I expected.

I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I say working for her was emotionally abusive. I seem to be attracted to abusive things. Maybe they’re attracted to me. Or maybe it’s mutual. Who knows.

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