I did something the other day I never, ever thought I would ever do.
I hit a girl. Hard.
Now, I'm not telling you this to show I'm a monster. Because I'm not. I'm not telling you this because I'm doing some sort of mea culpa. Because I'm not doing that, either.
But in my defense, if there is any such thing, I didn't strike first.
I have a job that for the most part, I enjoy. It is physically very difficult for me because I have been suffering consistently from gout and rheumatoid arthritis - well actually, the diagnosis is ankylosing spondylitis.I've known I had a auto-immune disorder from before I even had my heart attack, almost 8 years ago. In fact, the doctor I went to discuss my symptoms (that were caused by congestive heart failure) were diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis (and then Ankyolosing spondylitis). I had hoped, when the heart attack happened, that it would have proven my original doctor wrong. But unfortunately, it didn't. He just missed the heart failure diagnosis.
Anyway, back to the subject...
So for the past month or so, I have been having a serious flair up of my gout. It's causing swelling in both ankles and both knees. In addition, I have just also been diagnosed with planter fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on
the bottom of my foot. Considering I also have the arthritis AND chronic back pain (from a lower back fusion 10 years ago), it is very hard to do my job quickly.
You see, my job requires me to be on my feet for 6 hours a day. Sure, I get to sit from time to time. But for the most part, I'm on my feet.
Now there is also something else you must know about my place of employment. My boss, the owner of the place, is a die-hard liberal Jew who has no patience for anyone who leans right. For the most part, when he brings up politics (I try to avoid it when we are together), he isn't too vile. But from time to time, he really loses control and completely becomes unhinged - especially when talking about Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck (Or George W. Bush).
To his credit, he is not an ignorant man and at times he has educated me a great deal on why he believes the way he does. We have, at times, had very fruitful conversations and debates. But most of the time, it's because I don't wish to be fired for arguing too stridently.
However, he also has a very unstable side as well. Especially when he feels threatened. Yes, he has come after me (very loudly, embarrassingly and publicly) because of something he heard on the news that morning. This usually happens when he is in a bad mood to begin with - not that excuses any abuse.
It should also be noted that I do not like confrontation and I try to avoid it at all costs, if I can. I am what most people would call a peacemaker. I never raise my voice in anger 9although I used to before my illness, but I think that was mostly the blood pressure talking) and I am very nice and sweet to anyone who lets me. I know I sometimes come across as weak because of this. But this is who I am.
Now there is another employee were I work who is a 24 year old, eastern European immigrant. She is not unattractive (but not my type) and I always tried to be nice to her. I've stuck up fer her at times and again, I really do get along with everybody (and always have). But for some reason, and I think I know how it started, this co-worker simply hates my guts.
The reason it started, I believe, is because my boss decided that there was nothing wrong with telling everyone how much money he is paying me. Because of my education, and the fact that that education is required to do the job I do, I'm actually the highest paid employee on the staff. Unfortunately for everyone else, my income is what is standard for my position. Her problem with that is number one, she's worked her longer (although she has a different job description than I do), and number two, sometimes, she has some of the responsibilities I have (but not the ones that my education is required for).
In addition, the fact that I am a bit slower than she is at those responsibilities, make her feel as if I am grossly over payed. Furthermore, it seems my boss has always been infatuated with any female who has worked for him. The girls know how to flirt and he eats it up. So when he went away for a few weeks, he left her in charge. I didn't really care because I'm only a part-time guy and at this stage of life, I don't want the headache.
Still, because of her absolute hatred of me, she takes it upon herself to treat me as if I were the devil incarnate. And you know what, that also doesn't bother me too much. I'm a firm believer in karma and as long as I know I'm doing right, nothing she can do will bother me. Even in the oft-cases when she purposely lied in order to get me fired. In an above-board company, once it was discovered she lied, she's have been fired. But my boss loves her, so after he refused to accept my story (in one certain case, it couldn't have been me because I was in the hospital at the time it happened). Basically, he told me to stop deflecting and accept responsibility!
A few days later, I approached him about it - hoping he was calmer and would be reasonable. Instead, he just dismissed it as "old news" (just like a liberal, eh?).
Anyway, this had been going on for quite some time. The boss would lose his cool and ALWAYS take it out on me. When it was something I was responsible for, I took the blame like a man and apologized for my mistake (which were never anything so bad as which to blow up over). But I got used to it as the price to stay employed in this economy.
But a few weeks ago, both the boss and this co-worker were in rare form and seemed to gang up on me that day. It happened to be one of our busiest days and by the time my shift was over, I was a complete physically mess. I was in so much physical pain I ended up going to the ER for morphine. But I never said a word at work. I had a job to do and I had to do it. Right? Regardless of the verbal abuses, I took my responsibilities seriously.
But following that fiasco, I informed my boss that I would no longer be working with that co-worker. However, he promised me he would talk to her and I should not over-react. I could just hear him telling her and her responding how much a cry-baby I was. About 3 months after I started there, she made a huge, costly error. Before I knew it, the boss blamed me (she told him it was my fault). I tried to explain that it had nothing to do with me (while she was laughing about it in the other room), but it fell on deaf ears. When I saw her laughing about it, I called her a very bad name to her face. It was the first time I ever remember calling any woman that to her face. It just isn't something I do.
That night, I went home very upset at myself. Yeah, she clearly deserved it. But again, I just don't do things like that. Anyway, when I called her that (and believe me, she has called me much, much worse), she came over and punched me in the arm (and threatened to "kick my ass" LOL). Well, I was stunned she would hit me, but I didn't retaliate. I'm still of the belief you just don't hit a girl.
The next day, I went over to apologize to her. I had hoped my apology would trigger one in her - after all, she started it all by lying. I then told her about my heart transplant, stroke and arthritis and tried to explain why I wasn't as "quick" as she thought I should be (I also have to compensate for short-term memory issues from my stroke). Well, she obviously took it as a sign of weakness and started calling me "big baby" and other childish names from then on out. While it was a bit embarrassing, again I figured she is just a miserable person and ignored her.
But then Thursday happened.
I will complete this story (which is 100% true - I have plenty of witnesses) in part 2.