25 September 2007

All-Leather Cow Interior

Y'know that Denis Leary song? I've decided that it's the new theme song for one of the guys at work. We'll call him Chuck, because that's his name. For about the first week, I was so annoyed by him that I considered going to management and asking to work with someone else. Now that it's been nearly two weeks, I've learned to let most of what he says go in one ear and out the other. Having a slight hearing problem makes this easier.

He's not a mean-spirited guy. He jokes around a lot, but it takes a while to learn when he's joking and when he's being serious. He sees it as his duty to gently haze all of the new-hires. One of the other guys in the shop heard Chuck playfully picking on me for not working as quickly as he does and said, "well, it's nice to know you don't play favorites, Chuck. You give everybody the same hard time."

At first I thought Chuck was sexist. When he wasn't picking on me for being slow, he was picking in me for being a girl. Statements like "men are never wrong" and "women slow everything down" come out of his mouth on a regular basis. It took a few days for me to realize that he wasn't serious, he was just trying to get a reaction out of me. He's as big a fan of Equal Opportunity as your average liberal, and got angry at some guys who work for his uncle's construction company because they refused to work with the two women on the crew. So... not sexist, just pushing those buttons to see what I'll do.

He's actually turning out to be a pretty nice guy. He has some warped ideas, though. His ideas about alcohol amuse and worry me at the same time. Chuck is known for drinking a lot on the weekends. A lot. He boasts about going through a 30-pack of beer in an evening. One day when he was going on about the wonders of beer, I shook my head and told him that his liver was in trouble if he kept drinking like that. He protested that his liver was fine. After all, he said, beer is good for your liver! It flushes everything out! He'd had 13 beers in three hours the night before, and he felt fine, so there's nothing wrong.

That was the moment when I decided that smiling and nodding is the best way to deal with him when I disagree with him. It keeps my blood pressure out of the red zone and my body in the vertical position. (If I roll my eyes too much, I get dizzy and fall over.)

Even though I'm getting used to him, I still wish I could work with someone else. Chuck is the person I work with all day, every day, and I would love a change of scenery. His green plaid "two-baby belly" (as one of the second shifters puts it) is something I'd be happy not to see every day.

Coming next: The Good, The Bad, and The Dreamy

No comments: