There is a woman here at the office who slightly resembles a Mennonite. I know she is not, though, because she wears makeup, profanes, and works at this establishment and drives a nice car; not a nice, nice car, but a pretty decent one, better than average. Perhaps she doesn’t possess the extreme humility of outward appearance of a Mennonite, but she makes me wonder if she were a Quaker in another life. She wears a mantle of embroidered wool, with those hokey country quaint patterns on them, a creme-coloured confection topped with coral pink and orange sprinkles. She always wears long skirts with pleating (usually made for women with Muffin-Top syndrome) in boring warm earth tones and oranges and her tops under her mantle-poncho usually fall within the autumnal colour pallete. Boring, wholesome, 50’s farm marm kind of stuff.
She’s not of the type that merits noting on this site. She’s not out of the norm from many of the women here. She fits right in. Though she is a bit more country-crock-traditional than most of my marmy, heavy-set work colleagues, she doesn’t stand out in any particular way that I should spend time writing about her. It’s not how she dresses that puts a nettle in my hat.
I think she’s got a rotten attitude.
This is a dangerous assumption often made of shy people, but I think she has proven herself not to be shy. She and I have spoken on more than one occasion, and never once has she exhibited the ability to smile. At me. I don’t know if she’s rascist, or if she doesn’t like me because I’m skinnier than she–which has been the case with some of the other women here. I pass her at least two or three times a week as we wind our way through the cornflower blue cotton walls of the cubicle maze, or run into each other coming opposite ways near the washrooms. Each time I encounter her, I smile wide, grin right at her, or say hello cheerfully. Most times she will eye me with a quizzical, unfriendly look and keep passing with nary a word of greeting in return. Rude.
This morning it really bothered me.
Now, I take particular pride some days in the way I dress. Dressing well makes me feel accomplished and collected. I feel proud that I am able to dress myself well without spending hundreds on the clothes I have. I am cheap and occasionally chic. Today is such a day, though I’m unmade up facewise.
Again I passed her in the fabric by-lanes of the maze of this office, and I beamed at her. This time, she gave me the up-down eye and looked right at me with a frowny squint and then walked right past me. ME! She gave me stink eye, she in that lamb rug she calls a piece of clothing. Why does this woman frown at me when all I do is say hello and smile at her? It’s almost upsetting considering the effort I put into greeting her with a smile, knowing she is sort of new here. I’ve learned to move past the other frowning frau-bags, because they are quite, quite large, and I’m sure they think I’m a dieter or one of those girls who eats like a bird. I assure you, I so am not. I eat like shit (despite being a vegetarian), and I eat a lot. So, I obviously don’t care because they can’t help being envious of a skinny girl and hating her guts because they choose not to control themselves. But this woman isn’t quite on their level yet. What is her excuse? Why this overt dislike?
She ain’t shy, so what the fuck?
Why are people so rotten? Despite my hating this job many times and many days, I try to be the best person I am in the day when I am here. I smile at others, even if I’m crumpling with anger inside. I wave and make chatties with the wonderful women at the front desk. I joke and laugh with my cubicle department mates, because that’s how we get by.
But this Quaker woman? What is her reason?