This week proved to be a horrible exception to this general trend. Fortunately it never came to blows or even an unpleasant exchange of words, but if this person could have heard the internal monologue going on inside my brain cage he would have slunk off with his tail tucked firmly between his legs. He wasn't a bad, or even a mean person, and in a general sense I could be around him without continuously suppressing the urge to slug him. The problem was that he just wouldn't shut up! The sound of his own voice droning on about a vast array of horrifically boring topics seemed to be a balm to his psyche without which he could not function. Once he had latched onto a conversational topic, he hung onto it with the tenacity of a pack of wild dogs that have treed a three-legged cat. No facet of a particular subject was left unexplored, including every excruciating reference and sub-reference. His favorite topic was, of course, himself.
This individual was not more experienced or at a higher level on the corporate food chain than I. He was simply on the job site to fill in for some hours at the end of the day that I could not cover. Among his many charms was the annoying habit of telling me how to do things I had already done, already knew how to do, or had no need to ever accomplish. Add to that his tendency to call my bosses and suggest new ways for me to do my job, additional tasks that I should be engaged in, as well as a laundry list of problems I had not attended to on the job site, and by the end of this week this particular individual was fortunate not to be using his anal sphincter as a speaking device.
Violence is not an option, so instead of pinching his head off between my thumb and forefinger or yelling at him, I took to avoiding him whenever possible. This was not an easy task as all construction sites require personnel to wear Safety Orange or Dayglo Yellow as a safety measure. Fortunately some of the equipment on the site is similarly colored so on occasion I could avoid detection by fading into the contours of a front loader, or sidling up to a crane.
I am grateful to report that today was the last day I had to work with this conversational Olympian. As I left my office this evening, backing slowly away and continuously trying to terminate his stream of consciousness, he excitedly filled me in on the recent exorcism of his new home. Apparently the spirits left because they had been informed that he was "a good guy". I didn't have the heart to tell him they probably vacated to get a little peace and quiet.