I used to fantasise that I were secretly related to people I didn’t get along with.
The haughty office colleague, the unfriendly classmate, even the nasty lady at the gym who routinely dominated the squat bar, ruling her territory with fear and icy glares.
It wasn’t because I wanted some kind of blood relation to give them a sudden change of heart – and this might come from a place of childish naivety – but I always wanted this indelible bond between us to help me understand where they were coming from, and why they choose to act the way they do.
I used to work with a lady who abided by a ruthless daily routine – Morning racism, afternoon terrorism, and an evening of discrimination and fear. She branded herself a ‘fearless leader’ – a verbatim term that was comicized by the rest of the team to emphasise her declamatory manner – but she was no better than a bully.
She was offensively crisp, undermining her peers with sarcasm and treating her subordinates like they owed her the souls of a thousand virgins. Naturally, she was always right – despite her multiple requests to enforce a team democracy – and had the best ideas, claiming the team’s credit but never shouldering the blame.
I despised her lack of empathy and cruel approach to basic human rights. I often wished her dead and played out various death scenarios in my mind. But most of all, I ardently wished that she were some long-lost relative that I could approach with honesty, without the barriers that accompanied a professional relationship.
I never had that honest conversation I wanted with her, and – not through the lack of trying – I doubt I ever will. The last I heard, she still terrorizes, insults, and defames – still under the guise of providing ‘constructive feedback’.
Aaron says I’m naive, that it’s a waste of time to punctuate my everyday happiness with ignorant child-like dissatisfactions with life. I agree, but it doesn’t stop my wishful thinking.