• HOWARD is bullied by his wife. I’m bullied by HOWARD.I slumped behind my monitor, staring at the list and wondering where it will end. Feeling both depressed and guilty, I peeked at him over my screen. HOWARD was absorbed in costing a file, his pen gripped between his teeth as if smoking a pipe. He hadn’t been too bad all day.
• We both defend ourselves from bullying by way of creativity and humour, HOWARD verbally employs his cruel wit and I use this blog.
• HOWARD’S office image is that he’s a great solicitor. This is counteracted by him being an office bully. A more modern company would sack him for gross misconduct.
• My office image is that I’m a conscientious secretary. This is counteracted by the fact that, due to this blog, I’ll definitely be sacked at some point for gross misconduct.
• HOWARD and I make ourselves feel better, if only temporarily, by damaging each other. The fact that he doesn’t know I’m doing it is a moot point.
Before going home I tried to chat with him. I thought perhaps I should try harder to get him to see how friendly I am. I asked him about hobbies, what he liked to do.
“For fuck’s sake,” he replied. HOWARD jumped up and stormed over to the PM’s desk in the middle of the room.
“I can’t listen to her,” he said, attracting everyone’s attention. “Can’t you have her back over here? She’s like the bloody teacher off “Charlie Brown…‘Whah wah wah wah ywah ywah’. That’s all I hear…’Whah ywah wah. Do you like this, HOWARD? Do you like that? Wah wah ywah.’ For fuck’s sake! Take her back?”
“No. You were the one who asked for her to be moved there!” the PM said, amidst the laughing.
I switched off my computer, grabbed my coat and, with as much dignity as I could manage, I wished my colleagues a nice evening. Passing HOWARD, I said goodnight. As I got to the doors he called my name.
“Eva!” HOWARD shouted. “Listening to you makes me want to kill myself!”
HOWARD’S words reflect exactly how he makes me feel at my lowest.
It troubles me to think our mirrored feelings, when they break, might bring a lot more complication than seven years of bad luck.
See you soon,