She had been telling me, for twenty minutes on the way to the restaurant, how much her boss was annoying her recently. I tried my best to look interested in her stories rather than terrified of her crazy driving.

“Silent prayers,” I thought to myself. “They were good enough for Joan of Arc and they are good enough for you.”

I asked as gently as I could just how he had managed to get so far under her skin. Last I’d heard they were great friends and talked to one another on facebook regularly, so what could he have done to make his name so ground into the mud? Talked bad about her mom? Groped her inappropriately? Spit in her tea?

“He’s … just arrogant,” she said with a tone that implied ‘obviously, you idiot.’ She also went on to tell me that he complained about everyone else, bossed everyone around, and never stopped talking about himself and his problems.

I had some very good and reasonably diplomatic explanations for all of these things.
1. What you see as complaining may actually be helpful feedback for someone.
2. Your GM just left, someone has to takeover. In life it’s ‘he who has the best tendency to lead’ but in work it’s ‘whomever has the next biggest title.”
3. Would you rather he stopped talking about himself all the time so you can have a turn at complaining and bossing? There are those who might call you a hypocrite.

She looked at me, one hand on the wheel, and pursed her lips. When she purses her lips they become one, harsh, imperceptible line that seem to gather her whole face toward them. Her pursed lips are like a ripple in the gravitational fabric of space.

I’m sure she said something just then and I’m sure it was mean since all of her niceness is trapped in a blackhole somewhere, but I had more important things in mind.

“Watch the road,” I said, essentially emotionless. “You’re going to kill us all in an unnecessary rage.”

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