People, in general, do not bother me. When I am feeling positive about this quality, I think of it as a sort of openness towards people. When I am feeling negative about this quality, I think of it as a sort of aloofness towards people. I like to think of myself as open. I don’t like to think of myself as aloof. I don’t know which one it is in reality, and I suspect maybe it’s a combination of both. Not sure. I’m not angry hardly ever at all, because I don’t tend to take things personally. If you’re acting like a jackass, most likely it’s your own stuff that’s got your knickers twisted up. Is that just a way for me to deflect responsibility for making other people mad? Maybe. I don’t know, because most of the time, people don’t get mad at me. Unless you count wackjob patrons of the library, and if you do, then believe me, that anger most certainly has nothing to do with me, and more likely has to do with the hatred people feel for the demon that is the photocopy machine. So maybe my not being bothered by people is a reciprocal result of not being bothersome to people. I don’t bother other people, so they don’t bother me. It all comes out even that way. Just a theory.
The point is, I am not bothered. I am not bothered by the fact that Britney and Lindsay forget to wear underwear sometimes, I am not bothered that Library Patron Marvin wants to yell at me about the CIA who are after his toenail clippings, I am not bothered by the comeback of legwarmers. I may have critical thoughts about these things, or feel a little sad about these things, or completely disagree with these things, but my blood pressure will not go up about them. An angry patron is not going to make me cry, as can happen with some librarians. It would never occur to me to cry about that. I work with all different types of people, I have friends who are a lot different from me in their views and beliefs, and although their differences may surprise me, or astound me, or even give me momentary flashes of frustration, within moments it all just rolls off my back. The more I think about this, the more I suspect that this could be a result of plain old laziness. Letting people get to me is just too much energy. Why not kick back and sip a Bacardi instead of getting all bothered by someone? No contest. Being mad or kicking back? What kind of idiot chooses being mad?
Ok, so what this is leading up to friends, is that I, Miss Unflappable, am officially bothered. There’s this person I know, and holy smokes does s/he bother me. Not only does s/he bother me, it bothers me that s/he bothers me so much. And I am kind of done typing s/he so let’s just pick a gender. He. He bothers me. To the point where I sometimes want to run away from him like he’s a house on fire. I am kind of thrown by this, as it is a feeling I am entirely unused to feeling. I don’t quite know what to do about it. Not to brag (ok maybe a little to brag but to also make a point too), but the empathy part of my brain can usually make me see everyone’s perspective. Not that I like or agree with everyone’s perspective, but I can see it, and accept it. Not this time. So what do I do? I can see that, overall, this person is a good person. There is nothing particularly revolting about him like he doesn’t kick puppies or shit on my doorstep or deny that gays exist in his country or anything like that. (Wow, did I just say shit on my doorstep? I’m sorry. I was just trying to think of revolting things that would merit my feelings and that’s what I came up with.) But if you made a list of every behavior that annoys me, he happens to have them all. And it’s not like he’s directly mean to me or anything like that, so it’s not like I am going to confront him. What would I say? You are annoying me just in your general you-ness, so could you please stop being you when I’m present? And it turns out that I have to be around him a lot, because other people that I know and like are around him a lot. So if I distance myself from him, I distance myself from them too. (An aside: it baffles me that no one else seems to be bothered by this person. Other people seem to like him just fine. In fact, someone who I love dearly just recently described him as “awesome.” I thought to myself: really? Awesome? Because I’d call it more like, oh, I don’t know, UNBEARABLE. Which makes me think more and more that this is all me. Which adds to my feeling bothered).
But you know what? I don’t want to distance myself from him. I would much rather do what I usually do in situations like this: Get Over It. I listen to my own frustration with this person and I am like Oh my GAWD, you are being ree-dikulous. It’s like a challenge to me now. I want to hang out around him even more. To find the humanity in this person. To listen to his voice. His loud, grating, talking-over-people, won’t-shut-up voice, and let it roll right over me, right through me.
So far, it’s not working.
Tell me, what do you do when you have to be around someone who bugs the shit out of you and you can’t really get away from them? I need help. I am completely inexperienced at being bothered and I have no skills at handling it. I am Bothered-Challenged.
I went this whole post using the word “bothered” like a million times, and never once tried to parlay it into a punny “hot and bothered” reference.
Oh what the heck.
Hott and bothered,