Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Exciting, sadly

I am feeling much more stable and relaxed than in that last post. Much of what I wrote is still true, or true-ish, or not blatantly false, but I'm dealing with it.

I walked out of the office yesterday (well after 8 p.m. by the way) in the middle of a pointless, circular argument about the height of a parapet wall: after half an hour of debate, with no end in sight, I declared that it was a waste of time and that I was sick of it. U was shocked, and appealed to G to forbid me to leave; G replied that he thought I was right.

I find it odd that this should have happened on a day when I was feeling weak and weary, rather than from a position of strength. I would normally have backed down from the argument, abandoned the fight and simply drawn at her insistence that which I knew - and could prove - to be incorrect. Absolutely wrong, for all concerned; pure passive aggression. Well, that's bullshit, harmful emotionally (for me) and financially (for them), and I'm not going to do it any more.

They were on a site inspection today, so we didn't meet and won't until tomorrow afternoon. I am curious to see how U will react. I will not back down, and I am not afraid to resign.

U was the cause of the circularity, as is often the case: she simply cannot - or will not - change her mind once it's been made, and will disregard any evidence or logical argument that is presented. A sample of the conversation, towards the end of the session:
U (furious): The top of the parapet wall is at 37! God damn it to hell!

Udge (slowly, calmly): Look at the cross-section, this is the parapet here. The bottom mullion of the window is at 42, is that correct?

U: Yes.

Udge: And the mullion stands on this little metal foot, right?

U: Yes.

Udge: The foot is 9cm tall, is that correct?

U (getting bored): Yes!

Udge: So the mullion is at 42 centimetres, and the foot under it is 9 centimetres tall. Does the foot stand on the top of the parapet wall?

U (scornful): Yes, of course.

Udge: Then the top of the parapet wall is at 33 centimetres. 42 minus 9 equals 33.

U (screams): NO! The parapet is at 37!

That was an exact quote, I'm sorry to say: the substance of the half-hour argument was that 42 - 9 = 37. Well, what can one say to that after hearing it for the fourth time? So I walked out.

G and I shall have to have a boys' night out, one of these evenings, to have a little talk about that elephant in the office.

In other news a relevant and bitterly funny Dilbert.

In other other news for some reason I was moved to put on Prince's soundtrack to Batman while writing this, a middling album with a few great songs ("Electric chair," "Partyman" and the burbling basso continuo of "Vicki waiting"). I was a great fan twenty years ago, I've got all the albums up to Come (1994); but somehow I have moved on. (Did I ever tell you that he and I were born on the same day of the same year? Prince too is nearly fifty years old.)


Blogger Philip said...


I will now forevermore think of you and Prince in the same breath.

You just need a really cool purple chopper to ride to work . . .

October 19, 2006 at 4:05:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger zhoen said...

Nothing quite as draining as dealing with idiots.

October 19, 2006 at 5:26:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Anxious said...

I had no idea of your age, udge!

And U sounds completely batty and irrational - I think any sane person would have walked away...

October 19, 2006 at 8:52:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

Maybe the number 37 has some mystical meaning for U? Definitely not a subject for rational discussion, at any time of day. You did the best you could, which is a lot. Now I have to go and listen to Prince (for the first time)

October 19, 2006 at 9:15:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

Well, Blogger ate my comment last night. Thanks guys.

Philip: purple isn't my colour, but I can see myself on a chopper. Problem is, the background to this image is always the American southwest.

Zhoen: agreed.

Anxious: well, how old did you think I was? Age is even more abstract in the Internet than in daily life.

Savtadotty: U isn't completely mad, just has some seriously crossed wires. 37 is the correct height for the north side, unfortunately we were talking about the SOUTH side and she just couldn't lose that no-longer-relevant fact.

October 20, 2006 at 9:16:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, dear. Hope things work out. I've had to work with people like her. I had a boss once forbid me to alphabetize files before I filed them. He thought it would take less time to go from a to q to z to b to p to o to a than a-z. It was the most ridiculous argument of my life. I wish I would have walked out much sooner than I finally did. Could have saved myself months of misery.

October 20, 2006 at 7:28:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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