Don't Sweat It
I've run into another narcissist.
I seem to attract them like gravy to a white shirt. Initially, our interactions were fine. I figured that she was simply being kind, you know, like someone making sure that the new girl was comfortable. Then I realized that she had the listening skills of a grouper, which is only impressive if you're under water. She greets me with various epithets, none of which anyone else in my social circle uses. There's really nothing terrible about, "Hey sweetness," but if you fire that off in a condescending tone, like I'm ten, something dark and bad rises in my core; something that I don't have complete power over. I hear whispers of,
"Tarry–not in your comfort because it will not save you,"
...coming from somewhere inside my own head, inside a rotted trunk behind a torn curtain, I think. I have, however, learned from the past and, instead of getting myself all in a sweat about it, I have decided to have some fun.
The next time she comes toward me for a hug but looks away at someone else (which is glass-chewingly irritating), I will be ready. I will take two smooth steps to the left and put an alpaca in my original spot. Nothing is funnier than a surprise hug to an alpaca, right?
Later, when we're in mid-workout and I head for my water bottle while saying, "I need a drink," and she says, "hydrate," in a way that makes me seem like a complete moron, I will open the emergency exit door and let the North Sea flood in. Not enough to drown the alpaca (I'm not a monster!) but certainly enough hydrate the room. The North Sea always gets a laugh. See?
When we are partnered during the workout and she crushes my groove (which seems to flourish with all of the other partners), I will pull a phoenix maneuver; burst into flame and then rise again when our turn is over. I know, right?
Finally, at the end of the workout when she asks me if I'm "having fun yet," I will rotate once and then appear in a cape and boots high atop a great, fierce black stallion, his mouth frothing as he fights the bit. I will brandish my sword (because that's what you do when you're atop such a horse), my eyes indistinguishable from lava, a flock of ravens rolling and twisting through the sky portal that has opened up above us, and I will say,
"Why yes. I am having fun. Thank you for asking!"
Remember, it's important to be polite. Always.