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When Rude Begets Apathy

Coldness can be cruel, but it's hard to feel much else when you see the worst side of a person. Years ago, embarrassingly I was a booty call to a Fire Marshall named Chad (not his real name). I occasionally worked with him in my days as a temp in a small town. Chad wasn't "emotionally available" which is code for he was looking for someone better. I was such a doormat at the time that I would bring him lunch (which I paid for) on a regular at the fire station where he worked. I even used to read the fire regulation manuals he would leave around his apartment so we had something to talk about, yeah I was a big doormat (who used to know a surprisingly large amount about fire safety regulations).

One day I brought Chad a sandwich as usual. He was reading a physics textbook and he turned to me and said: "Did you know that a feather and a bowling ball fall at the same rate?" Btw they don't fall at the same rate unless they are in a vacuum like outer space, but hey he was at least decent at his actual job so I wasn't going to nitpick. It turned out that his sudden attempt to branch out and be a better man was because he had an intern that was assigned to him for the next few weeks. He immediately decided that she was the best person ever. It probably helped that she was 20 years old, pretty, and from a well-off family. Chad talked my ear off about her that day, it was obvious he had an infatuation.

A couple of things should be cleared up before the misunderstanding that I am mean to firefighters or public servants comes up. The intern was not a firefighter or an EMT or a cop or any of that. She sat in on local governmental organizations for a general management class. Her internship was to watch how a fire station is run for two weeks and then write a report on it, just like the other people in her class were to sit in on places like the courthouse, the hospital, and the police station. Also, I would never subvert or do anything to take away from the public or personal safety of anyone or anything for any reason. I can easily live my life with eggs on my face for the greater good and do so often in truth.

Since at the time, I worked closely with those particular firefighters, I knew I would have to deal with the intern from time to time during her study there. It became clear to me that all too often there is a societal trend for women to be petty with one another. In response to this thought, I decided to be as friendly as I could be toward this person, after all, it wasn't her fault my fat non-committer was crushing on her. I saw her that first week when I was between shifts dropping off some training equipment at the fire station. I smiled and said a polite greeting to her, in return her response was to look me up and down and scowl at me without a word back. That night Chad and I went out to see a movie. It was frustrating that he kept going on about his beautiful intern. He wanted to know if she had said anything about him to me. He started asking me to help him date her during our date. I could not have been more disinterested. I was over it after a few minutes and went home.

Chad called me over to his little side office the next day and I thought he was going to apologize to me for being so rude the night before. I was wrong. He gave me a fool's errand to volunteer with his intern for a public training day, and I was a contracted employee at the time who could help run it. Out of morbid curiosity, I wanted to know if she was into him or if he was sexually harassing her at work, so I went along with it. The whole day she was beyond impolite to me to the point of being outright hostile. She was either an unbearable jerk, actually seeing Chad as he hinted, or something else I would never figure out. No matter how nice I was to her, I was met with an over-the-top obnoxious attitude. She did the routine of a spoiled teen. There were eye rolls, lots of huffing, mumbled insults, and instead of speaking to me she would turn her back and wait to talk to someone else. I finished out my day exhausted from babysitting an immature girl.

By the end of her internship, I was done with Chad. Not that it mattered because the intern and Chad were inseparable by then. I felt a little less like an outcast when I learned that the intern was hateful to every woman who crossed her path. She flirted with the guys and put down the women openly. Unluckily for me, there was a small ceremony for all of the community interns, and as a part of my job, I was required to go. This meant that everyone at work had to start their scheduled shifts an hour early that day. It also meant that I had to deal with Chad and his bratty intern again. When I arrived I decided to be as mentally checked out as possible, I was ready to leave as soon as I could. Right after I got there the interns started lining up outside to get their award certificates and the dull speeches were about to start.

I thought standing in the back would put me closer to where I had parked. Just when I felt like the whole event was going to go off without issue and that I was worried about it being awkward for nothing, Chad walked up to me and struck up a conversation. It was then that I learned that Chad had gotten his intern an actual firefighter trainee dress uniform (at his expense and despite her not being or planning to be a trainee at all). He was anxious because she was taking so long to get ready. He asked me to check on her. I went into the woman's locker room and found her there. She was standing at the ironing board in her underwear. The girl had burned multiple holes in the uniform and was crying because she couldn't figure out that irons have different settings for different materials. I guessed she had never had to iron her clothes before and put two and two together to realize that Chad had probably instructed her to press the uniform when he gave it to her and that she was too proud to admit she didn't know how to do it. When I went to help her out, she snarled at me.

It was right then that I decided being nice to her was never going to improve her attitude toward me or any woman in general. At that moment I was done with that kid. I smiled and walked outside and told Chad that she was just finishing up without helping her at all. Then, I went over to my co-worker (who was known as the biggest loudmouth) and told her that the rude intern was in the bathroom burning holes in her uniform while she cried in her G-string. This co-worker was not a friendly or even tactful person. She laughed saying no one is that dumb, not even that twat of an intern. At that moment Chad had overheard us and he quickly ran over to the women's locker room. I could see the panic on his face that made me have to repress a giggle. It felt good to finally stand up for myself with Chad and his little minion.

The annoying intern walked around with huge burn marks on her clothes all day. She looked ridiculous. Before the event was over I could see her turn beet red when the Mayor sternly asked what had happened to her uniform. After it was all said and done, I realized that I should have never dated a person that I worked with. That's the real lesson here for me. Hopefully, the intern learned that she shouldn't have burned bridges with every female in her vicinity. I think that she was trying to cozy up to the guys around her and forgot that a person needs to be able to communicate with those around them and not just date their way into a career. Instead, she picked the path of hitting on the guys and insulting the woman she worked with. Had she been a little nicer, one of the girls from the station would have let her borrow something, but you can't help a growling monster, and so no one helped her that day to be sure.

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