Getting sort of lectured out by a non-entity

Sometimes, there are just people you cannot stand. They set your skin jumping. Everything they do, down to the drumming of fingers or eating a banana, seems like a personally-delivered kick to your head.

This is normal, right?

He’s a colleague. He’s an intelligent older male, in his thirties or forties, and he drives me nuts at every pass. Today he called and wanted to speak to my supervisor, M. When I told him she wasn’t in, he then enlisted my help on a particular book he’d requested from her. Now, usually when requesting items, the logical idea is go through the Acquisitions office instead of Cataloging, as we do not have anything to do with ordering titles. But because M had the last contact with him, he wanted to know from her if the book was ordered and when it would arrive. I told him, somewhat confusedly, I’d look on her desk. He didn’t like that, and told me to find out some other way. So I asked him to wait while I searched the catalog.

You know how people ask you to do something, and then constantly interrupt, or proffer advice, while you attempt to do what they want? He treated me to a mini-lecture about how he knew there was a better way to do it. I in turn refrained from telling him that he could easily have searched the catalog himself, and found the record.

In the end he had to go to Acquisitions to find out more exact information. He seemed disappointed that I didn’t offer him a quicker or better way to do this? I wonder if M normally runs around doing his busy work … as if she isn’t busy enough.

The problem with all this is that I think he can tell, easily, that I find him distasteful. It’s like I can’t make myself smile, or simper; I can barely be polite. It feels like I’m encouraging something outside of simple office courtesies: to paraphrase Maeve Binchy, I think I’m being distant and then suddenly I’m being propositioned. Is there a term for men who give off this vibe of – neediness, or maybe it’s a receptor, that picks up false signals? (“Desperate” doesn’t count)

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