We need to talk about Richard. You don’t know him, and I know you don’t know him because next to nobody does. There is little to no possibility that he has any friends, because the mere idea of Richard having friends is as absurd as the idea of a politician not grimacing and quivering in disgust when told they have to go and meet their constituents.
Some background perhaps, since it’s now established that you don’t know Richard. I work with Richard, much to my disdain, and he is without a doubt the most boring, useless, and pathetic arsehole on the planet. He joined the office I work in late last year and it was clear from the start that there was something iffy about him. He’s old and out of touch, which can be charming in some people, like your ever so slightly feeble grandmother who sits by amazed as you pull up a picture of a pot of jam on your laptop computer.
Richard, however, is not like your hypothetical grandmother. He does something that takes him out of that category and into his own separate place that just makes you want to sigh at his pitiable attempts to join in: he tries to be relevant.
Case in point: another work colleague and I were having a conversation about music fidelity, talking about recording techniques (he has a degree in acoustics, and I am a budding musician), and getting the best sounds for different instruments. It’s quite an exclusive conversation, sure, between two people in a small office of about five people at that point, but we’re not intentionally leaving anyone out. We’re not talking loudly, or interrupting anyone else’s conversation. Everyone else is glued to their laptop screens while us two talk. And then Richard, who has been sitting in the room with us the entire time, gets called to another room, and as he leaves, utters, “So long as you have an OK computer for all that!” I look at my colleague with a look of confusion, and look back at Richard and say nothing more than “Ummm…”
“You know, the Radiohead album!” he clarifies. “Oh…”, I say, like I get it. I hope it makes no sense to you, because it makes no sense to me. When he leaves, everyone else in the room peeks up from their screens, shooting a look of confusion. I mean, what the actual fuck has that got to do with anything we were talking about? Evidently he was trying to be funny, but it’s a joke so grossly misplaced that I still sit confounded when I think about the whole exchange. But worse still, he was trying to be relevant, namedropping Radiohead like he knows they are cool with the kids these days. He might as well have just tried to start rapping an Eminem song in full tracksuit gear and backward baseball cap, and have embarrassed himself completely.
Richard doesn’t really know how to communicate, and it’s not some social anxiety disorder; he’s just such a boring fuck that he has nothing to add to anything, ever. He once posed one of the most idiotic questions I have ever been asked. I was relating to another colleague (because I never actually talk to Richard, unless I’m feeling particularly masochistic and wanted to be bored to the point of pain) that I sometimes partake in swing dancing. After said colleague left the room, Richard piped up and queried, “Swing dancing? What kind of music do you do that to?” Thinking it was a joke, I deliberately paused, waiting for him to interject and exhale that loathsome chuckle he does when he thinks he’s done something ever so clever. There was no response, so trying my best to hide my amazement at his brainfart of a question, I responded, “…swing music” with a hint of disbelief at the fact I was answering such a question. I did not talk to him anymore after that.
It’s not just the inanity of the words that come out of his mouth, it’s his mannerisms, which are so very, very annoying. He types on his laptop loudly, like he’s penning a sarcastic letter. He sticks around in the office for hours, even if he’s allowed to go home early, just to eat sandwiches that are served to us, nabbing all the ones he likes, of course. He also drinks an absurd amount of tea. Last week he drank seventeen cups of tea in a day. Seventeen. And not even respectable tea like Earl Grey or Assam – shitty builder’s tea with way too much milk. Oh, and every time he takes a sup he makes an audible slurp, like a child drinking soup for the first time, followed by a tiny, satisfied “ahhh!” By my calculation that averages about 20,000 slurps and ahhhs a day, or at least it feels like that. I’m not a violent man, and I’ve never wanted to punch a man for simply drinking tea, but oh how Richard tempts me so.
He’s also a rat, telling the boss about one of my aforementioned colleagues using his equipment incorrectly, thus getting him fired – and all because Richard was evidently jealous this other guy was getting more work than he was. Everyone in the building finds him weird, and sometimes they proclaim relief (and joy) that they’re working with me on a project and not “that weirdo”. They also come and sit with me in another room, just so they don’t have to sit with Richard.
In the rare instances I somehow get obliged to have a (always very brief) conversation with Richard, he tries to tell me about his weekend and the like. He talks about how he met a friend for a drink, but I laugh internally as the idea of him actually having friends. This is how I know you don’t know Richard, because it’s impossible that anyone with an ounce of sense or self-worth (which, dear reader, I assume you have) would want to be around such a grimy, measly being. There’s no way anyone would want to actively spend time with such an inconsequential person, someone who adds as much to a social setting as parsley does to any meal.