People We Don’t Love – Stealth Trolls

People Who Take Advantage of People in Transit and People Who Forget Gifts Given

I often suggest that people buy an artichoke and take it with them to a café, which seems like the most ridiculous advice ever, but there is a lamentable (but thankfully small) percentage of humans who mistreat those who aren’t local. An artichoke presupposes a kitchen in which to cook it (few are those who would eat one raw) and a kitchen presupposes residency, hence waiters who are inclined to misbehave (you know who you are) might have second thoughts about waiting until all the foam bubbles have given up the ghost before handing you your cappuccino.

We despise the ‘she’s not from here, I shall act up’ kind of thinking but have seen it in action so many times that we sometimes concoct a cover story of having recently moved to the area, especially with beauty salons. Telling a hairdresser that you are only in town for a few days seems to trigger ‘let me be demonic’ impulses which result in haircuts that look good while you are in the salon and disintegrate into bird nests of roughly hewn locks that moment you get back to the hotel. Or nail polish put on so thick it never dries. Or scars from deplorable facials. I could go on but I shall spare you. Even brands such as Bliss and Aveda have technicians with this type of thinking so lie my dear, lie your sweet head off. Announce that you have just been hired in X local company and get beautified in peace.

There is a second kind of stealth troll – those who accept your gracious behavior and do not reciprocate. When I first started working at my company, I had to review a document written by Z. There were a few mistakes, which I corrected, then I forwarded the document back to Z and to his boss. Z wrote me and explained that he had been told to write it that way, so I wrote another e-mail to his boss withdrawing my corrections. A few years later, Z reviewed a document I wrote and (without telling me) wrote my boss highlighting my mistakes. I went to his office and explained why I had written the document that way. Z was unmoved; when I finally asked, “Are your comments fair?” He responded, “I can’t change them.” I asked again, “Are your comments fair?” And he stayed silent.

These sort of people are most annoying because they do not do anything upon first meeting them to indicate that they are trolls. Simple trolls, who are clear in their sexism, racism, condescension and bullying behavior, are unpleasant but easy to spot and thereafter avoid. Those who act justly and friendly, covering their imminent obnoxiousness with a thin frosting on bonhomie, are the dangerous ones. Only time will uncover their true trollish nature.

When you encounter such people, the first and normal reaction is to be sad, which calls for music. I recommend wallowing in Sam Smith’s ‘I’m Not The Only One.’ Of course country music also comes to the rescue, as it so often does. Try Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats.’ Or go with pop girl power with Beyoncé’s ‘Irreplaceable’ or any of the revenge songs by Rihanna or Taylor Swift. But eventually you will have to let go and move on – your hair will grow out, the stealth troll will be universally discovered as such and be shunned. Then you move on to K. T. Oslin ‘New Way Home” and ‘Come Next Monday.’ And then back you are, with a  smile on your face, a skip in your step and an artichoke in your bag.