Having just posted nudey photos of my work cohorts (I got permission from them, dear reader(s)), i feel there can be no more apt time to move quite to the other end of the spectrum to rant endlessly about a rather uncomfortable situation I find myself in frequently these days, with nary a clear solution.
I work more than one job, dear reader(s), and my other place of employment finds most of my colleagues fairly consistently clothed. This is a great relief to me, specifically in the case of one gentlemen I occasionally find myself working alongside, who pays FAR TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO MY PERSONAL LIFE. FAR TOO MUCH.
It began sometime back with your average work chatter, what do you do, where do you live, etc etc. Not unusual. From most people, this kind of chatter I find both welcome and immensely edifying.
However, in this case, things graduated to a point where this gentleman, a self-confessed illiterate when it comes to computers, was reading my (previous) blog daily and visiting my (rarely changed) website regularly (or so it seemed, judging from the comments about it) At work he would comment on events in my life back to me in greater detail than I ever outlined in this silly cyber-preoccupation of mine.
I began to realize that something one-sided was going on, but how does one stop being amicable, with someone who is being "kind" and "considerate", by most peoples judgement?
When I printed my first comic, and threw away a badly coloured one, this man protested, grabbing the book and saying he would like to keep it, despite already owning a copy of the completed book. At the time I was indifferent to the matter.
A month or so later he confessed that every time he goes to one of the bookstores that carries them in the city, he buys a copy, so now I no longer know if my books are actually selling, or if they are piling up in this man's personal environs.
These days I cannot enter the room without being leered at, and somehow such things as orange juice appear for me on the lunch table when I'm sick, despite NOT asking for it, despite expressly insisting that I am not in need of anything.
A month ago I moved house. This gentleman has asked me where I live THREE times now. Specifically. He isn't content with "the west end" or any response like that. And he isn't content with "I moved TO A DIFFERENT ADDRESS" either.
When male friends visit me at work, there is an impromptu quiz about who they are, what they do, "my, (they are) handsome" etc etc.
For a long time I have tried to accomodate these questions with pleasant vaguaries, in the interest of keeping the peace (read: being passive agressive). This has been, of course, completely ineffectual.
My next step was to begin pointing out to this man that he pays far too much attention to my personal life. This was greeted with a chuckle on his behalf, along with some vage sort of disclaimer.
Finally, the other day, when he mentioned that he had read about a friend of mine in the latest uTOpia book (about culture and the arts in Toronto), identifying her by her first name, as if she was an acquaintance of his, i announced that she is NOT his friend, and HE REALLY PAYS FAR TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO MY PERSONAL LIFE.
His retort? "well, she's in (the book) for anyone to read about"
How do I argue this, dear reader(s)? Of course, nothing about her relationship with me is "in the book", but he remains staunchly oblivious to the inference that HE HAS CROSSED EVERY RESPECTABLE BOUNDARY ONE CAN CROSS WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER whose only shared connection is the workplace lunch table.
Now, all of this seems to imply a simple solution, non? Keep Away. Plain and simple. This man, rife with good intentions as he sees them (and they no doubt are), has absolutely NO intention of listening to my complete lack of interest in him, or my increasing discomfort with being constantly waylaid with attentions that even my ex-boyfriends wouldn't indulge in.
Now here, dear reader(s) is the problem. This gentlemen runs two of the machines I need to use to do my own book projects. And, try as I might, I cannot get him or anyone to teach me how to use them INDEPENDENTLY if I decide to use them off my own accord, it is pointed out that I am doing a far from perfect job, and this gentleman inevitably steps in to improve on it, Completely Ignoring my entreaty that I am not in fact Interested in doing a perfect job, I am interested in doing the project on my own. I have attempted to negotiate these jobs in trade, since the gentleman has an affection for scotch, but now my offer of compensation to ensure that the arrangement is seen as a business one is greeted with a voluble tirade that he WILL NOT help me if i purchase him anything of the sort.
The difficult thing is, I need to use the machines, I need help using them (at the moment) I am grateful for the help. These projects are SO important to me. I need to make the books. There isn't a question here. That is a mutual understanding. Unfortunately.
Good intentions, ladies and gentlemen.
What's a girl to do?