I used to work with a woman named Mary. I had been working in the department for about a year when one of my coworkers transferred to a new position and Mary was hired. She was pretentious with a capital P. From her very first day on the job, I could see that we weren't going to be best buds.
Mary was from out of state and made it clear that Michigan did not suit her. The weather was not to her liking; it was always too hot or too cold. She was from a state where snow was uncommon, so she complained endlessly about having to drive on snow covered roads. Just a dusting would have closed roads and businesses in her home state, she always told us.
The way we talked bothered Mary, too. She was always questioning our pronunciation of words and the expressions we used. It's common, around here, to refer to any city north of mid-state as "up north". If you said you were going "up north" for the weekend, she would say "You live in Michigan, how much farther north can you get?"
She was not beyond blatant insults, either. She once wondered aloud why anyone would think that pink and red were colors that looked good together. I was wearing a blouse with pink and red print that day. Yeah, she was fun like that.
All of the women in the office were in our early twenties, so break time conversation usually centered around dates, boyfriends and plans for the weekend. Mary, though, talked mainly about her parents. She wanted to make sure that you knew her parents house was bigger, newer and more expensive than yours. Her dad had a more important job that yours did. His car was nicer, newer, bigger, blah, blah, blah. She would ask you questions just so she could top your answer. It was, like I said, pretentious. We often rolled our eyes at one another while she was talking.
I think it would be accurate to say that I'm generally a non-confrontational person. I'm only human, though, and I have my limits. One day, during a particularly grandiose breaktime story, I could take it no longer. She was going on about her father, once again, and I just snapped. "It must be great to be your dad," I said. "I'll bet his shit doesn't even smell." She got up without saying a word and walked out of the office while my coworkers erupted in laughter.
Moments later, my boss called me into her office. I was pretty sure she had heard my remark and that I was going to get chewed out, written up or fired. I didn't know if what I had said constituted some sort of harrassment, or if insulting a coworker's father violated company policy. When I walked in, she told me to shut the door and have a seat. "That was the funniest thing I ever heard," she said. "It's about time someone put that girl in her place. Do you know that on her first day here she told me she wanted my job and would do whatever it took to get it?"
Needless to say, I did not get chewed out or written up and I didn't lose my job. Mary didn't speak to me for a few days after that (which was fine by me) and eventually toned down her stories. She worked for the company for another six months or so, and then quit after she got married. She told us that she had a much better job lined up where she would be making twice as much money. At her father's company.
It's not often that I speak my mind, unedited. Have you ever had a similar experience?