I know this is old news, but not having heard the specifics until Saturday night, I was unaware of how detested I am.
Audrey used to live with a married couple, one of whom worked with us at the coffeeshop. After many, many months of him creating a toxic, negative environment at work, he finally quit. After putting in his two weeks’ notice, it was discovered he was stealing hundreds of dollars’ worth of coffee beans (to name just one thing he lifted), and Annie had to ask him not to come back.
Over the course of the year or so that I worked with him, I went from liking him very much to despising him. He was impossible to deal with and put me in a situation where he made it clear that he thought Charlie and I had a lot of money and that we also rubbed it in his face. He also expected me to choose between being his friend and being Annie’s and when I wouldn’t take sides he stopped speaking to me.
There were a lot of annoying incidents that I didn’t detail here, but I’ll give you a summary of a few:
When we got the hail damage fixed on the Hyundai we got a rental car from the insurance company. It was a Jeep Liberty, of which I was not a fan. The Santa Fe was on the same frame they use for their Sonatas, so it was a much smoother ride. So we pull up in front of the place where he had taken a second job (we’ll call him “Pete”) and get out of the Liberty. When we walk in Pete starts making all these noises about how fancy our new car is and how nice it must be to be able to buy new cars all the time. We corrected him and said it was just a rental, at which point he said it sure must be nice to be able to afford car insurance. This is merely one of many times he said something about our apparent luxurious lifestyle, despite the fact that we used to live down the street from him on 50th Street, and the house we live in now is two blocks from where he was living at that time.
Pete also used to make snide remarks about Annie and our trainer Katie, but immediately stop himself, look at me sideways, and say something catty about how he shouldn’t complain because “word gets around.” In other words, he didn’t want me running to Katie and Annie to tell them what he said.
He also once said something really rude to me about Charlie, which pissed me off royally. I told Audrey about it, who told him, and he half-heartedly apologized a couple of days later. Word does get around.
Finally, Charlie and I sat at his house, surrounded by cigarette smoke and the stench of dirty dogs, for two hours one day, attempting to help him work out the issues he had at the coffeeshop. We were very diplomatic, but honest, and tried our best to convince him that he was smarter and better than what he did, and to not let his work define him. He should basically let it go and find a way to move on. We were at his house to pick up a stray bit pull Pete and his wife had found, both of whom guilt-tripped us into taking the dog — saying that their landlord would evict them if he found out they had a fourth animal. We eventually did find a home for her, but had to contact our landlord first (because she lived right next door) to get her approval for fostering the dog. They acted like this was a terrible inconvenience for them, even though we already had two dogs and two cats at our own place.
This, apparently, was the incident about which Pete told Audrey that Charlie and I were “fake,” that I was a bitch, and that we were full of shit. Saturday night she started to tell me about all of this and I almost stopped her, as I have in the past, because I don’t want to hear the crap people say about me if it isn’t useful or constructive in some way. Pete said we’d come over one day and tried to act like we were his friends, but he could barely tolerate us.
Of course, my memory of the conversation is much different. I know Charlie and I were both sincere and wanted to help him. If for no other reason than to make things run more smoothly at work. I don’t think I was fake, and though I have been called a bitch numerous times, “fake” is not an insult I hear that often. In fact, what most people tell me is that I am either too honest or I just keep things bottled up — not that I present an image that’s different from who I really am.
Audrey said he talked shit about everyone, but it hurt to hear that someone dislikes me for no good reason. It’s one of the things that bothers me most in this world. If I give you an excuse to dislike me, I probably know it. If I don’t give you a reason and you just decide not to like me, I feel like I’m in the seventh grade and I f-ing hate it.
I never did anything to Pete and the only thing I could be blamed of doing is trying to be his friend, trying to help him out, eventually complaining to Charlie about him and, perhaps, gossiping at work. When Pete took over as assistant manager he made a lot of big productions about the fact that managers did not take tips – except for the fact that this was a policy he, himself, claimed to have instituted. A few people relayed these stories to me and I listened. I suppose that’s a form of gossip.
He created a really hostile work environment and I’m glad he’s gone. Especially considering all of the little remarks about how “well-off” Charlie and I appeared to be. These statements bothered me the most because, at one point, Pete was working two jobs while his wife had none; she just acted in local plays for free. They also spent, from what their dealer told me, somewhere around $200 a week on pot.