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2003-10-12 - 10:48 a.m.

These last couple days at work have been a lot of fun. This is in large part due to Sharon, our trainee, and Jeff, whose last day working was yesterday. It's a damn shame. That guy is so entertaining to talk to, and I was laughing all day long.

He was telling me this story about how him and a couple of other guys went camping when they were out in California. One of the guys, Ryan, is the kind of guy to just park the car and go off into the woods, which is what they did. So it's starting to get dark, and they still haven't found anywhere that isn't completely covered with vegetation where they can lay their sleeping bags down. Just before it gets too dark they find a spot, and they light a fire and have some drinks, and go to bed. Jeff was sleeping uphill from the fire in a borrowed sleeping bag. In the middle of the night he wakes up and thinks, man it's hot in this sleeping bag. Then he looks down and sees that the sleeping bag caught on fire! He just puts himself out and goes back to sleep. A little while later he wakes up, feeling hot again; the flames had come up the sleeping bag almost all the way up to his head. He thinks, god dammit I'm on fire again, and puts himself out, and goes back to sleep! In the morning, Ryan wakes him up and says, Jeff you're sleeping in the fire! He had rolled into the fire pit during the night and was surrounded by coals. The zipper had completely melted, along with a lot of the bottom of the sleeping bag. The worst part was trying to explain this to the guy he borrowed the sleeping bag from. Or so he told me.

Funny stories aside, one of the more interesting things he told me was that he doesn't really hate anybody. This came up because Jeannie, another girl at work, was saying how much she hates Misty, who was setting up a going away party for Jeff. He couldn't believe how much Jeannie hates her, and he started talking about how he doesn't dislike anyone, and no one really dislikes him. Then he started laughing and saying that it sounds like he's saying he's the coolest guy in the world, everyone likes him! But the more I thought about it, I realized he was right; it's impossible to hate Jeff. This was particularly interesting to me, because today was Sean's first day back at work after having been on leave for the past 10 or so days, and Sean was unbelievably mean to me. He said something to me like, why do you bother to speak? And I said, well not EVERYONE hates me, to which he replied, I don't think anyone cares enough about you either way about you. I thought, my God! Who would SAY that to someone else? But what I said was my God! When did you become so mean? Good lord! And his response was, and this kills me, quit whining because you're decreasing what little tolerability you have.

Not even JAKE is that mean to me.

It gave me cause to think about how there's this whole group of people here who really despise me. Part of this is because things went so poorly with Jake, and everybody I used to hang out with all took his side, which is fine; a casualty of a relationship gone bad. But Sean used to treat me fairly decently, or at least wasn't so mean unless slightly provoked. And there are a lot of people like this, who I used to hang out with or talk to, and who ended up disliking me. Why? What's Jeff's secret? I don't think I'm rude or mean to people. It recalls a line from a book called Damiano's Lute that goes something like "Damiano reflected that although he was very friendly, he didn't have many friends."

I chalk a lot of it up to my being in the military, which is not exactly the best institution for someone like myself. I'm curious to see how my social life and dynamics change once I go to college.

One of the bright sides to this is that aside from shock at Sean's comments, I didn't have a whole lot of feelings towards them. I guess it's hard to take anyone seriously when they show such a total lack of respect. It also made me realize that I only really care what people say to me when I care about THEM. This is a good realization since I was wondering if I had been overly sensitive lately. I'm probably just starting to care more. Or less, as in Sean's case.

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