What are your buttons? You know. The ones that make you explode when they get pushed? The ones that maybe you don’t even know are there until you explode?
One of my RR colleagues, we’ll call her Grace, came over, and asked if we could talk. No problem. She then told me that a guy named Tennyson asked her why she had been eating in the bathroom. She had explained to him that she was diabetic and was trying a new food, and had to test her blood to see how it would affect her glucose level.
What she wanted to know from me, was how did this guy know that she was eating in the bathroom? Had I told him? I was the only one who had seen her eating. She wasn’t mad or anything, she just wondered how a guy knows what’s going on in the ladies’ room.
I then had to tell her that I couldn’t have been the only one who had seen her, because another lady, Ronnie, had been talking about how she had seen Grace eating, and how she couldn’t understand how anybody could eat in the bathroom. I had told Ronnie that it was probably because Grace was diabetic and it had something to do with managing her diabetes. Like Ronnie didn’t know this already? Grace sits right next to her.
So then I went over to Tennyson and asked him if we could talk. I wanted to know why he had to broach the subject with Grace, anyway. It had obviously upset her—and now I was upset because she thought I had been talking about her behind her back. He shrugged off my concerns. What was the big deal?
I went back to my assigned seat, and started to leak tears. I tried to stop, but they just kept coming out. So then I had to start asking myself, what IS the big deal? Why am I taking this more to heart than Grace herself? Well, it’s just terrible how some people treat other people; the cruelty of human kind; homo homini lupus, etc, etc. I stayed with this self-righteous indignation until lunch time, and then I went out and took a walk.
I had to admit to myself that my feelings were much too strong for this to be about somebody else. This felt much closer to the center of my universe—me. Then I realized that for the past month or so, I have been going over every single word of a hearing in which I was being accused of saying things that I never said.
“You said: SILAS sexually harassed MADELENE.”
“ You said: MADLENE should be used to being touched by boys.”
“ You said: Write that I didn’t say what I said.”
Button: He said, she said, they said that I said. But I didn’t.
Before publishing this post, I ran it by one of the wise men (as opposed to the wise guys) of the rubber room. He’s been here for a while and is therefore wise in the ways of this place. He pointed out that once you get here, your faults become exacerbated under the pressure of the charges hanging over your head, the lack of meaningful work to do, and the lack of choice about who sits next to you. All things considered, I feel pretty lucky that, so far, I have gotten along so well with everybody in my immediate vicinity.
When you put sane people together for seven hours in a small room you can expect some zany behaviors. However, when you put some people who really have issues in a small room for seven hours, one can expect some insane behaviors.
When you put sane people together for seven hours in a small room for weeks on end, they can develop zany behaviors. As weeks stretch into months, some will develop issues, and as months stretch into years, some issues will manifest as insane behaviors.
This process can be expedited if sane, zany, issue laden, and insane are mixed together in a small room for months on end.
How to avoid going down that dark path? That is the question.
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