Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fiery Interaction  

, , , , | Working | December 11, 2019

(One of my coworkers asks me to give him a ride, since his car got totaled while parked and he is waiting on the insurance payment to get another. I agree, drive over in the morning, and pick him up. Literally the moment he gets in the car, before he’s even put on the seatbelt, he pulls out a cigarette, sticks it in his mouth, and pulls out a lighter.)

Coworker: “You don’t mind if I smoke.”

(He doesn’t phrase it as a question, but as a flat statement.)

Me: “Yes, actually, I do. Please put that away.”

(He gives me a look like I just told him to pull down his pants or something. We end up in a stare-off for several seconds, with the cigarette still in his mouth.)

Me: “We are going nowhere until that cigarette is put away.”

(At that, he finally puts it away, swearing under his breath just loud enough for me to hear. I’m pissed at this point, but we are already running late, and I don’t want to deal with the fight of trying to get him to get out of the car, so I start driving. At one point, he starts reaching into his pocket again.)

Me: “If you pull that out, I will pull over and kick you out on the curb.”

(He stops, swearing more under his breath, and we finally get to the office. Rather than going to park, I pull up in front of the building and then point over towards the street where the bus stop is.)

Me: “There’s the bus. It’s only around a buck fifty or so for a one-way ticket.”

Coworker: “Huh?”

Me: “For when you need to get home tonight. Because I sure as h*** ain’t giving you a ride.”

(He scowled, climbed out, and slammed the door as hard as he could. I went to park, checked to make sure there wasn’t any damage, then went inside and headed straight to my boss to let her know what had happened. That turned out to be a good thing, as he did try to make up stories about me threatening him. Unfortunately for him, mild-mannered me threatening someone a head taller than I was way less believable than a grouchy smokestack like him not being able to go ten minutes without lighting up a cigarette.)

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