Pointless Conflict

You may or may not know that I have a short temper. And yesterday I lost it good.

5.15pm. My phone rang. It was a guy I refer to as Missionary Sex (because he’s fucking boring). Missionary and I have a long history of clashes. They’re mainly born out of me being right and him being wrong. He thinks I’m arrogant (probably true, but not necessarily a bad thing if you’re aware of your weaknesses) and I think he’s unnecessarily pedantic and kind of thick. I could hear him breathing before he said anything. He’d been working himself up for this; he’s terrible at confrontation. Me? I get a kick out of it. Spices up a slow day. ‘Jack,’ he said, ‘you’re doing this wrong…’ And then he launched into a long spiel some spreadsheet or other. Ever the consummate professional, I told him to ‘Get fucked.’

‘Listen, kiddo,’ I said. ‘You’re not making any sense. Why don’t you write me one of your long, dull emails with all the grammatical mistakes and I’ll take a look sometime next week, yeah?’

Missionary didn’t like this too much and threatened to raise a complaint. Now that was ungentlemanly. It’s like telling the teacher or ratting on your fellow criminals. It just isn’t done. So then I really lost my rag and erupted into a torrent of shouts. He put the phone down on me.

I was right, of course, but by then right and wrong weren’t really important anymore.

After that, incensed and shaking, I jumped on the 141 for a squash match at Clissold Gym. I lost pretty much every point. I couldn’t get the fucker out of my mind. The only decent shot I played was when I imagined the ball was Missionary’s head.

Later that evening, I went out with a couple of friends to my old stomping ground of Kingsland Road. Ate a rather nice Turkish meal and got drunk on Efes and bourbon. But he was still there. Every time I closed my eyes, Missionary’s miserable face popped up.

He was ruining my night.

At 12am, I was slumped over a ripped sofa in Dalston Social – we only go there because you get a beer and shot for £6 – and, during my inebriated rambling, I realised something blindingly obvious, yet previously completely oblivious to me: There is no point in giving a fuck about Missionary.

I’m a passionate guy, but passion makes a person tired. Arguments are draining. And there are a lot of arguments in my life right now. However, when you harness this energy and put it into creative endeavours it is the electricity that animates Frankenstein’s Monster. Why would I waste it on someone so unimportant?

That’s just an example. Most days feel like a battle. I’ll come home with my tie hanging off my neck (usually McQueen, of course) and a bloodied lip. London is bursting with people wound up so tightly that even the slightest nudge will cause them to explode. I just can’t do it anymore. Perpetual aggravation – it’s ruining my life. So I’m adopting a new policy, I like to call “Jack’s DGAF Policy.”

Don’t Give A Fuck.

Spend emotions on the shit that matters, not the all this peripheral nonsense.

In 10 years’ time, am I going to be more pleased I spent my energy working on a novel or spent it winning a couple of arguments with some people I don’t care about?

This morning I battled through the Essex boys with their ill-fitting pocket squares and gelled hair. My hangover raged. When I got to my desk, accompanied by the stench of stale alcohol that had seeped through my pores during the commute, my voice coarse from the 3 cigarettes I was too weak to refuse last night,  I called up Missionary. ‘You know that thing we spoke about yesterday? You win. It’s fine.’

He was not gracious in his victory. Cunt didn’t even say ‘Thanks.’

But I felt better. My mind was clear. I opened up my ever-expanding novel plan and got to work. And it was pretty good.

15 comments

  1. It will come as a severe shock to some people: but being friendly and polite, even when provoked at times, makes our lives so much more pleasant and actually far easier. And nothing winds an unfriendly know-it-all up more than an unflappable approach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a similar realization today, being disrespected for the last time in an office I stress myself out over far too much. Forced confrontation with your boss in which there is no mental filter may not be the smartest move, but I think it turned out to be the most freeing. Perhaps there could have been more tact involved in portraying the feeling that working with him has been a complete nightmare. But! I’m free of the war that place has waged on my mind. One resignation away from doing what I actually enjoy. We have limited time, and I’m not going to waste mine in a place I’m not wanted. So here’s to channelling it all to our Frankenstein! 🙂

    Like

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