Earlier this week my boss, the Big Man put two of a three-man work crew on a two-day suspension. They're all fairly new to the company and have had problems getting along and focusing on their job. This led to a lot of infighting and dirty laundry being aired. It didn't help that there was also a teeny problem with the misuse of company equipment.
It wasn't pretty.
As a result, the third guy, who I'll call Footinmouth, was left with nothing to do but sit in the office for those two days and await further instructions. None came. Needless to say, Footinmouth got bored. REALLY BORED. Why I call him Footinmouth is because he often speaks his mind, but unfortunately, it often appears that his mouth is running on empty when he does.
Added to this, the guy has zero impulse control. Recently, he was waiting at the office for his other crew members to get in so they could head off and do thing. Since I’m normally at work by myself most of the time it was just the two of us. While he was waiting, a female staff member (one he’d never met before) came in to the office to drop off her crew’s timecards. This staff member in particular is a young, attractive Jamaican girl who... let’s just say is very amply proportioned. When not in uniform, her dress code is normally too tight and too short. This was her off day, so she wasn’t in uniform...
Have you ever seen a train wreck situation about to happen, but knew you couldn’t stop it, so all you could do was watch the horror take place. Not only did she have to drop cards off, but she said she needed to collect more timecards for her crew. I didn’t have enough for everyone at her worksite, so I had to print a few more up. That meant she had to sit and wait... in her jeans that were about two sizes too small and a vest that barely covered anything... next to Footinmouth.
Dispite my telling him (repeatedly) to behave, he didn't waste any time in making his move. He started off by telling her (repeatedly) how “damn fine” he thought she was, which she ignored as politely as she could. And, for some reason, which I’ll never understand, he thought he could get away with asking what model smart phone she had so he’d have an excuse to "casually" reach for it to get a closer look. Conveniently, it was resting on her lap, in the vicinity of her crotch. She wasn’t naïve, though and spotted his play. That’s when she let her phone “accidentally” slide off her lap and onto the floor. By the time she picked it up I'd finished printing more cards, which she collected and she left.
I told my supervisor to be ready for when she lodges her sexual harassment claim.
Anyway, as I was saying earlier, Footinmouth was stuck with me for those two days with nothing to do. The Big Man didn’t really have anything for him so he spent most of his time sleeping in the training room. I didn’t really care as long as he kept out of my way. I even felt sorry for him and let him use my computer while I was on lunch (and hoped, he stayed off porn sites). Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and on the second day he decided he’d pass the time talking to me.
I blame it on my act of kindness. It won't happen again.
For fun, I’ll leave the conversation in Trini dialect. Don’t worry, I’ll translate (in red) where necessary.
FIM: So how long yuh (you) married?
Me: Almost ten years.
FIM: WAAAAYYY !!! (WOW!!!) Yuh ever horn she? (Have you ever cheated on her?)
This always seems to be one of the first questions I get asked when I talk with some people about my being married.
Me: Nope. Not in the seventeen years we’ve been together.
FIM: NAH!!! (NO WAY!!!) Not even once?
Me: Not even once.
FIM: But I sure real gyals does be tracking yuh! (I’m sure a lot of girls flirt with/express their interest in you.)
Why thank you. I'm flattered. That’s very kind of you to say.
Me: Not that I know of. At least, not in a long time (It's hard to get flirted with when you never go anywhere or do anything).
FIM: What about all them gyals who does be tracking yuh on Facebook?
Me: Nice try, but you’ve never seen me on Facebook (I’m nothing if not discreet with my web habits at work when people are around).
FIM: Yeah? When I was on de computer, I saw ah Facebook message from a gyal.
Me: Well, 1 - That’s email spam and, 2 - that’s the company email, not mine. It’s the Big Man’s Facebook account that’s linked to it.
FIM: Alright, "Mr. Innocent". Allyuh so (Your kind) could never do anything wrong.
I think I detected a hint of sarcasm there.
Me: I never said I never did anything wrong, just never cheated on my wife.
I don't think he ever really believed me. I should mention that Footinmouth has a child and a girlfriend (who he complained to me about during our conversation). Of course, his earlier exchange with that female coworker should not come as a shock, given our conversation. His opinion of women are similar to a commenter a blogging buddy of mine, Jules of According to Jules, had to deal with recently.
There’s an old Trinidad & Tobago Carnival classic from 1982 called “Deputy Essential” that declares that having an “other woman” on the side is a must for every male. A lot of men ascribe to that belief and Footinmouth is one of them. He can’t fathom the idea of being with only one person.
I, on the other hand, don’t share that sentiment. While I didn't grow up in some upper class, well-to-do family, my parents raised me and my two younger sisters to a certain standard (which mostly took). I’m not a prude and I don’t look down on them, even if I don’t agree with their point of view when it comes to relationships.
However, that doesn’t work the other way around. Guys like Footinmouth think other guys are lying when they say they stick to that one woman and never play the field. Even Footinmouth’s supervisor, a guy about 10 years older than I am, told me he could never see himself getting married, even though he’s been in a long-term, common-law relationship for years. He said he feels like he needs to have an escape route if things went south with the mother of his children.
I... don’t get it.
All-in-all, though, I guess it’s just a matter of guys like them and guys like me being from two different worlds.