Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Attacked on both flanks

I could have "Circled my Wagons", but it was a tricky situation!

A workmate sat in my local hostelry having a quiet lunch with another of his pals. My mates back was to me so it could have been a non-event. I couldn't resist the urge though, the compulsion. I hadn't been to work for more than 2 months and I liked my mate a lot. I suppose I just wanted to be seen or catch up. Don't get it wrong he is only a workmate and I hadn't given him a thought until I saw him.

So I overcame my shyness and a bit clumsily, approached, catching his fellow diner's glance and directly addressing him I gave my apologies for the interruption. "Hi xxx, blah, etc", I said enthusiastically. I'm afraid I can't remember my exact words and they do not really matter. During my initial "outburst" I said that I had been off work with depression for 2 months. This is when it all went wrong!

My mates pal, who is from this point called "Nasty", said "It's the winter, I've got it, we've all got it!", or similar! At the same time as I recoiled on one flank, my mate said "I've been off for 3 months, my wife died". OMG!!! The poor soul, I gushed the usual sanctimonious bullshit, but with heartfelt passion and sympathy, touching his back in the accustomed manly way. I issued some comment about it's suddenness.."It's been 3 years, she's been under Drs X & Y." and he pointed to his upper chest. "So you'd better give up?", or similar well intentioned small talk my friend offered. A remark that a simple nod or Mmmm would have dealt with adequately.

But no...OH NO!!!!
Nasty says "You MUST!"
Gasdoc says "Oh MUST I?"
Nasty "No doubt there"
Gasdoc "I do know a bit about it"
Nasty "Not enough, onviously, you must just stop"

My poor workmate, was subjected to a petty bickering between two complete opposites who were both on his side.

Gasdoc "Not because xxx's wife has died?"
That shut him up...oops!

My mate and I finished our small talk and wished each other well.
I am left completely overtaken by fluster and tachycardia because I am totally outraged by this ignorant fools prejudice both towards mental illness and smoking, and shocked to hear my friends awful news. Fortunately my mate's bigger than Nasty in everyway and he just took it in his stride, I hope.

But, what an inexplicably sorry tale this was, that will stay with me forever. Nasty is now labelled and a lost cause, which, to be fair, had been my supposition, but silly me , I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.