Giving up chocolate for Lent without killing anyone

Giving things up is never easy.  If you could do without them you wouldn’t have to be giving them up in the first place.  I find Lent quite useful in that although not fervently religious by any means, it’s a kind of extra discipline and encouragement – besides – its only forty days after all.

So I’ve given up chocolate for Lent.  I like chocolate but I don’t like the craving it inspires in me and this body could do without the extra calories.

I’m grumpy though.  Intolerant, unreasonable and on occasion verging on homicidal.

Lovely hub and College boy are still alive; Uni boy won’t be home for another fortnight and Whinging cat can’t help being old, deaf and smelly so he gets a special dispensation. Not so the rest of the world.

On Monday I was roundly berated in front of the rest of the office by a colleague who obviously has time her hands.  My heinous crime?  I never wash up.  Not totally correct.  I don’t drink tea or instant coffee and I wash up my drinking glass myself.  I occasionally use a plate for my lunch (my own plate and part of a picnic set I donated to the office, ditto my knife, fork and tea spoon which I keep on my desk).  Because I’m busy I dump the plate in the washing up bowl and wash up anything left at the end of the day when I’m often the last one in the office.  I don’t expect and have never asked for anyone to wash up for me.  Last Monday I brought in some chilli – in my own bowl – for lunch.  As I was going to wash it up immediately I picked up the washing up bowl with other people’s washing up in it and asked if anyone else had anything that wanted doing.  This bought forth the diatribe from my colleague about how I’m ALWAYS leaving my washing up for other people to do.  It was delivered in one of those ‘ha ha, I sound like I’m making a joke but in actual fact I’ve been desperate to take a pop at you for ages and now is my chance’ voices.

Other mates in the office defended me and – without losing my temper and with a fixed smile on my face – I defended me too.  In a previous job I never got to wash up – the alternative to washing up was dealing with difficult phone calls or actually doing some real work.  Sometimes there were as many as five people crammed into a kitchen built for two and all fighting over who should do the washing up.  I can’t be arsed to fight.

I did the washing up but the comments rankled and made me both annoyed at the rudeness and sad that this person should be so petty when I don’t remember ever having been anything but pleasant and courteous to her (she’s in a minority).  I mentioned it to a mate who said to forget it and that no one else had a problem about it anyway.

On Tuesday we were having a general conversation about transport and it came up that although I occasionally catch a bus when he’s at work (he works shifts), my lovely hub ferries me to work and back when he can.  We like it that way; it gives us extra time together, we sing along to RealXS radio and generally put the world to rights.  According to my antagonistic colleague however, I don’t deserve my hub, he’s far too good to me.  She said that about three times during the conversation – accompanied each time by a glare.  She’s never met my hub, all that she knows of our relationship is what I care to impart in the office, and after twenty-five years of being together, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  So those comments went to join the washing up jibes in my mental rankle file.

On Wednesday I’d arranged to go out for lunch with two friends for a catch up.  As I’m leaving the office and walking past my colleague’s desk, she says

“Don’t eat too much.”

“What?”

“Don’t eat too much or you won’t be able to concentrate on your work this afternoon.”

“Oh well – if I fall asleep at my desk just chuck a blanket over my head and leave me in peace – please?”  And I’m out of the room.

So in the space of three days I’ve been told that I’m domestically challenged, I don’t deserve my hub, I eat too much and can’t concentrate on work after lunch. Possibly true – in part at least – but what right does she have to say these things to me – especially in a loud voice so that everyone else in the office can hear?

Why do people have to be so bitchy?  Does my solitary plate in the washing up bowl offend her so much?  Does she boil with ire when she sees me having a crafty snog with my hub before I leave the car in the morning?  In the words of College boy – is she well jeal of me?

My hub got cross when I told him and said that I should make a formal complaint – I thought that was maybe a little harsh but said I’d mention it to the Boss.  The Boss listened and turned a little pale but was sympathetic and said that in the first instance I should politely tell my colleague to stop making personal comments about me.  If she persists, then he’d have a word.  She’ll undoubtedly deny any ill-intent and may even shed a tear or two.

I’ll do it even though I really don’t want the hassle – especially when I’ve given up chocolate for Lent.

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