Avoid at all Cost

You ever feel like you’re putting way more effort into something than it’s worth, while simultaneously knowing that it is absolutely necessary? That’s what feel five days a week. I have a job at the bank down the street from my apartment. My apartment is at the top of a hill, so my job is both figuratively and literally all downhill from here. I tell that one a lot. Maybe it makes me feel better making people aware that my job is nothing special, I don’t know. I can deal with mediocrity, but what I can’t deal with is the forced comradery. The comradery with the single most fascinatingly annoying person I’ve ever dealt with. Yeah, I’m talking about an annoying co-worker.

I’ll tell you how my start to this week went, since it’s so fresh in my mind.  Kind of like a fresh kill on the side of the road. It’ll be just one of many examples I could subject you to, but won’t.

My shift started at 7:00 AM on Monday. I feel asleep only four hours beforehand, so I was already not prepared for him. For Erik. That’s right, I’m building up drama. I just told you, it helps me process.

As I walked down the hill, passing all the varying degrees of depression that my neighbors call homes, I looked ahead at the bank. Most of the other employees were waiting outside of the entrance (aside from two others, including Erik). We always have to wait. The manager, Murry, is systematically late. I believe he just likes to make us wait around, but of course I can’t say anything about it.

I made to the bottom of the hill, the manager pulling up in his sedan as I did. He got out and looked at me with an almost annoyed demeanor. I know I’m right.

Whatever, moving on. He opened the doors and let everyone in. It was once we all reached our usual stations that Erik finally made his appearance. He’s a very average looking person at first glance, but he manages to ruin that perception after interacting with him for a whole of about ten seconds. People will begin to notice subtly awkward posture, bad breath and almost pervy look in his eyes. He’s also way too comfortable with making everyone else uncomfortable. All around, he’s a set of fingernails running down the blackboard of your soul.

“Morning, Beth,” Erik immediately said to one of our co-workers. He has a crush on her, and he’s intent on making her acknowledge it.

“Oh, morning, Erik,” Beth replied while making the absolute minimal amount of eye contact. She does acknowledge his crush, just not to him. Or anyone else for that matter. I doubt her boyfriend of two years would appreciate Erik’s unsettling advances, if he were made aware of them. Yes, I’m waiting to cash that chip in at the right time.

Well, Erik stared at Beth for couple more seconds, waiting, and finally gave up and went inside his office. He’s one of our accountants. He’s also in his late thirties, which makes his advances of the twenty-year-old Beth even more unappreciated. He’s also, also Murry’s son, which make all of this especially fun.

Once Erik was safely locked away in his office, I could not resist the chance to rip into him with Beth.

“Did he bring some flowers?”

“Shut up, Todd.”

Oh, by the way, my name’s Todd.

“Sorry. He doesn’t take a hint very well, does he?”

“No, and it’s really weirding me out.”

“Have you talked to Murry about it?”

“Are you kidding? Like he’d help me.”

“You’re probably right. He’d help make wedding arrangements before he ever tell his spawn to stop.”

“Ugh, don’t say that.”

“Sorry, sorry.”

“I just wish he’d stop.”

“I’m in the same boat. Well, I’m going split our magnanimous leader tells me to get back to work.”

Beth and I gave each other our regular, sympathetic farewell smile and wave, and I returned to my desk. This was going to be a long day for me. A long day in that boat I had mentioned to Beth.

The boat I referred to is Erik’s recent pestering of me over something really, really pointless. Last week I made the horrible mistake of mentioning to someone that I enjoyed reading X-Men comics… in the fifth grade. I’m sure you guessed who I mentioned it to, and I’m sure you can guess who’s eerily obsessed with the comic.

“Hey, Todd,” Erik snuck up behind me. He has a very stealthy way of approaching you from behind, and standing just a little too close to you when he does. I flinched, but not enough for him to notice.

“Oh, hey Erik,” I used my now refined skills of pretending to look busy as I replied. It usually works.

“So, did you see the news about next X-Men movie?” It didn’t work this time.

“No, can’t say that I did.”

“That’s too bad. It’s pretty exciting. I’ll let you see for yourself, though. Don’t want to spoil it for you.”

“Okay,” He’ll spoil every part of my life except this.

“We’ll talk later. I’m going to see if my dad about what we’ll be ordering for lunch.”

What Erik really meant was that he planned to tell his dad where he’ll be for two hours during his forty-five minute lunch. Whatever, at least he left without first telling me about his favorite X-Men costumes. No, seriously, I think he has a few real-life versions.

The day went on normally after that encounter. Erik had ended up going all the way into the city lunch, or “Decided to take a personal day,” has his boss-dad told us. I didn’t know personal days could be taken while on the clock.

I guess I can let it go. We all got a nice reprieve from him for at least one day. I mean, at least I don’t have it as bad as Beth.


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