Ms Snake and her strange disliking

April 28, 2006

Ms Snake is another one of my annoying workmates, along with The Old Duffer and The Dumper. Ms Snake and I used to get on very well, although I knew we weren’t really friends in the conventional sense.

Ms Snake is quite moody and has snitches against quite a few of the staff (especially those who aren’t teachers). But as we were around the same age and both independent-minded women, she seemed quite keen to get along with me at first. We went on a few lunches together (at which she would do basically all of the talking and interrupt and change the topic back to her if I did say something). We helped each other with work problems when they arose, we even texted each other about new shoe stores we had discovered. While I found her self-absorbed and arrogant, I also found her funny, at times very generous, and definitely smart, and we had enough in common to rub along nicely, as younger female teachers in a school dominated by those wedded to the older ways. So far, so sisters-in-arms.

But slowly everything seemed to change. Suddenly Ms Snake was quite silent about my role in a project she had asked me to help with – she still expected me to do the work but she actively hid my involvement from anyone in the management team. In fact she got highly snotty with me at one point when I was upfront with her about the fact that I was too busy to contribute much for the next month or two. This would hardly have come to her as a surprise as she knew all about the other work I had on my plate.

Ms Snake made it very clear to me that I was in fact not allowed to say no, despite her refusal to help me with something a week earlier because she was “snowed under”. (Funny how she found time that week to go to a clothing shop sale on one day during her release, and then disappeared for a three hour repast on another.) Apparently her “too busy” was to be respected but mine was not.

This was my second inkling that all was not right between her and I. The first was when she started excluding me from lunches which I normally would have come along to. I thought Ms Snake must be going through a patch of wanting some distance from me, so I was hurt but didn’t say anything, assuming her mood would pass.

But the exclusions from lunch continued (and continue to this day) and then there was this practical denial that I was helping her with her project.

Then on a Teachers Only Day we were supposed to share a ride to a course that all the teachers were expected to attend, four of us in someone else’s car. I turned up just as I had been told to by Ms Snake, and waited for her and the others. And waited, and waited and waited. Luckily I got a lift with another colleague in the end, but how juvenile can you get?

This kind of thing is happening on a pretty regular basis, and I’m starting to stop feeling hurt and start feeling angry. I honestly cannot think of anything I’ve done that might justify this pettiness. It’s like are the ones sitting behind the desks, not at the front of the class, and Janine told Freda who told Arnetta who told Mandy who told Ms Snake, that Snake’s boyfriend once told Harold that I had nice hair. I feel like I’m stuck in some pathetic version of Mean Girls, and I’ve unwittingly worn sweatpants two days in a row.

And there we get to the one difference that I can think of that may have gotten under Ms Snake’s skin. I have a partner, she does not. Another teacher who I mentioned Ms Snake’s coldness to observed that Ms Snake feels very left out because everyone else at work is hitched (legally or otherwise) to some significant other. This is not quite true, not everyone has a partner, but Ms Snake herself snarkily commented to me a few weeks ago “at least you’re married” (I quite forget the context now).

I find it all quite bizarre. Ms Snake is a highly attractive young woman (much more attractive than me, verging on truly beautiful), who has more teaching experience than me, quite probably more skill, and certainly gets a lot of (deserved) credit from colleagues. And yet she sees me as a threat because I have a partner?

And how is it my fault that she doesn’t have a boyfriend (or girlfriend) anyway? She certainly seems to have lots of friends and a very active social life, and good for her. I fail to see how my existence is to blame for her singledom.

I keep hoping she’ll thaw, but, if my own teenage years are any indication, I know that she won’t. Sooner or later one of us will probably move on to another school, take time off to travel or have children. I just hope that happens before I explode all over her in a sticky, icky mess of raging innards. So it had better happen soon.

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