I had a poor night’s sleep on Thursday (waking up at 3am, not being able to get back to sleep until jussssst before my alarm went off) and was feeling particularly grumpy at work on Friday. I’ve never been able to understand how people can get little sleep and then be cheerful about it the next day – I am a complete grouch monster and cease to function. (thanks autism diagnosis, for explaining why I can’t function on little sleep like most people seem to be able to). I was also just about due for my period, so I was feeling run-down anyway. Despite my fragile state, I really wanted to socialise, so I joined some work colleagues after work on Friday for drinks (I don’t drink, but anyway).
It was quite enjoyable, and all of the people there were people who are Very High Above Me, so it was good to make connections and talk about my goals in the organisation etc. And then someone’s non-work friend showed up, and he sat next to me, and as soon as he started talking to me I thought to myself “You are literally the worst person I have ever met.” Not actually literally, and probably not the worst person, but he was pretty damn terrible. He was one of those faux-intellectuals who like to pontificate about obscure things the people around him don’t understand just so he can look at them pityingly because they don’t share his remarkable intelligence. I know I go off on obscure tangents, but I also try and explain what I am talking about so the people listening to me a) understand what I’m talking about and b) understand why I find it so interesting and c) don’t feel like idiots because they didn’t immediately know what I was talking about.
He was also one of those bland white guys who likes to ~stand up for oppressed minorities~ which then gives him the right to pepper his conversation with mildly offensive and derogatory terms. When called out on it, he then gives a ridiculously convoluted logical explanation why it’s ok, and his explanation always has the caveat that if the listener disagrees, merely by disagreeing they are confirming his point. When talking about music, I asked him why he referred to Creed as “gay rock”. He then patronisingly explained how there’s three different meanings of the word “gay”, and he meant it in the sense of “wimpy” and “pathetic”. I pointed out that that meaning is so often conflated with the meaning of homosexuality that when used in a derogatory sense, they’re really not extricable, to which he smugly replied that he would be the first to fight for a gay person’s rights and it’s the listener’s fault for misinterpreting what he says. Oh, and also, people should have the right to say whatever they want. I should also have the right to put my fist through his face.
He was sitting in an armchair beside me, and I ended up pressed as far against the arm furthest from him that I could. Despite my body language, he leant over the arm of my chair to keep talking at me, and would periodically grab my arm and shake it when he was making a point. I snatched my arm away at one point and said “Don’t touch me,” but he was too busy listening to himself speak to hear me. There was so, so much more that he said that was horrid and repulsive (“That woman is too Anglo for me. I like exotic women” etc) but there was one beautiful moment where he was going on about “crazy” women, and how he didn’t want to date a “crazy, neurotic” woman again. He was going on and on about it and then turned to me and said: “You don’t fly into unreasonable emotional tantrums where you don’t care how your actions affect anyone around you, do you?” Trick question, because who could said “Yes” to that? He just wanted me to confirm his “point”.
I looked him straight in the eye (ugh yes, I know) and I said: “I’m autistic. I frequently have meltdowns where I can’t control my emotions or actions.”
He stared at me, open-mouthed, for all of two seconds, the only time he was silent the whole night. He could not say shit about me being “crazy”, since he was so pro-minority rights, and everyone at the table sniggered at him. And then he was off ranting again, but for those few seconds I felt far better than I would have if I’d actually been able to punch that stupid supercilious look off his face.