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Feature Article | Mar 21, 2019

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 18

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 18

The romantic Cold War continued in its nuanced rawness in the Trumpian fleapit. And, as expected, I stayed far removed from the explosive and divisive epicenter of these romantic hostilities.

Even so the Trumpian fleapit romantic Cold War gave birth to two warring factions, of which I was expected to choose sides. Choosing sides was never an option for me.

Rather than choosing sides in this stochastic matrix of fervid professional relationships, I used the opportunity to appropriate Kwame Nkrumah’s progressive philosophic and political platforms of non-alignment, positive neutrality and pacifism. I tried to apply these platforms forcefully to the practical specifics appertaining to the protracted romantic hostilities.

Of course I was a self-conscious coin of two sides that didn’t have the luxury to choose any side, after all.

Instead, I tried to use my influence with both warring factions to secure an armistice. My intention to capitalize on my endearing rapport with certain individuals within these opposing camps, in the hope of procuring at least an armistice through this warm relational vinculum, however, failed to produce the intended outcome for all of us.

We needed an accommodating finality of resolution for the sake of our charges’ collective welfare, and for ease of operational flexibility and professional socialization as well, among other desired outcomes. In any case, the disappointing failure of my tactical orchestration to bring about some sort of pragmatic resolution to these asinine hostilities only strengthened the hand of their closet critics.

This was bound to happen.
I even tried getting to the bottom of the incomprehensible hostilities between the male staff and the low-level female employee, but my first attempt to excavate this recondite archeology of erotomania and unrequited love, stalled when the low-level female employee categorically denied ever developing or establishing a romantic liaison with him. “We have never been secret lovers,” she told me. “In fact, we have never been lovers to begin with at any point in our professional relationship.” She added, almost as an afterthought, that the whispered romantic relationship between the Assistant Manager and the male staff presented all the hallmarks of professional impropriety, a view I also shared. “I want to get her fired for her unprofessional conduct,” she whispered in my ear.

I asked the male staff, “Did you ever date the low-level female employee?”

He me gave me a blank stare. “Me?”
I feigned surprise. “Who else is here with us?”

He looked around suspiciously. “No one.”

“Why? Is she not your kind of girl?”
"She is not my kind of woman."
"Why?"
"She looks like a man!"
“She looks like a man?”
“Yes.”
His response surprised me for the most part. “Wow!”

“She’s not fleshy enough for my taste; she’s a stick of a human being with skimpy branches of skeletons. Just take a good look at her spare tushies, almost fleshless. She’s been cyberstalking me too.”

Lies. The male staff was only interested in well-to-do cougars, sugar mammas he expected to take care of him in exchange for his gigolo services. Whether the low-level female employee actually wanted to be his gigolette was a question I tried my best to avoid looking into at all costs. I also found the cyberstalking a bit troubling in the sense that the allegation potentially made her a femme fatale. This sensational charge gave me an inkling of what might have been going on in her head.

This frank acknowledgement didn’t provide all the answers, though. Not even the Assistant Manager could locate the provenance of the low-level female employee’s consuming animosity toward her and the male staff, though it was bruited about in whispers that the low-level female employee was secretly entangled in a web of romantic obsession with an imagined Casanova, the male staff. The grinding hostilities among the low-level female employee and the Assistant Manager and the male staff continued unabated―nonetheless.

The disappointing failure did create other unexpected disruptions in the natural flow of occupational operations. At one point a revolving-door of allegations and counter-allegations over the exact whereabouts of a charge’s clothing suddenly erupted between the low-level female employee and the Assistant Manager, a sour point of contention I could never wrap my head around even when I became privy to aspects of the evidence, a matter that reportedly had the Assistant Manager’s ongoing romantic interest in and relationship with the male staff trapped in the complex mix of this evolving controversy.

Where was the Manager in all of these? It looked as though she had disappeared from the surface of Benedict Arnold’s American Dream. Were there any reasons she couldn’t have known about these troubling goings-on taking place right under her nose? In fact if the cameras in the Trumpian fleapit were linked to her company-assigned phone which I suspected may have been the case, then there’s no denying her knowledge of the inculpatory evidence in this matter.

The fact that the low-level female employee consistently succeeded in staying on the right side of the Manager directly spoke to an important ligament of professional intimacy between them. This relationship paid off in interesting ways.

The Manager managed to get the low-level female employee to do some of her work in the Trumpian fleapit, and then paid her out of her own pocket. I initially thought the low-level female employee had somehow been shanghaied into doing the Manager’s bidding until she convinced me otherwise, claiming that the Manager did in fact pay her for whatever work she did for her in the Trumpian fleapit. This unofficial arrangement resulted in extended shifts for the low-level female employee, thus allowing her to accumulate more hours than company policy permitted.

The low-level female employee did the Manager’s groceries and performed other chores in her home as well. A charwoman she literally became for the perfidious Manager. They were more like mother and daughter. The two were that very close, like mirage and the American Dream.

What were the Manager’s official duties? It was difficult to tell because she was good at burying secrets in the silence of her thoughts. She was so intent on retiring in a year or two from the day the controversy began to unfold, first at a snail’s pace, then at breakneck celerity. She was bent on receiving her retirement benefits no matter what, that she strategically stayed away from any happenings that potentially threatened her retirement expectations. She was that kind of a snake-in-the-grass poison you kept a comfortable distance from. She was the type to laugh with you so effortlessly at your birthday party even as she plotted your demise and funeral with a daggered obituary in your heart. You looked straight up when she inveigled you into looking down, and vice versa. You smiled back at her only because she smiled at you first, a gesture you didn’t take at face value because her innocuous smile could as well mean your professional and career death.

As an unabashed character with a connatural Luddite mentality, she remained an unprincipled contraposition to gravity―an anti-gravity projection of alterity within her confined self-space―defined by and contained in the general space of public socialization. This woman also managed to remain free from the internecine chirality of self-definition whereby she masterfully shielded her laminated autoethnographic contradictions from the critical oversight of public scrutiny.

She was, of all complex creatures in nature, the ultimate epitome of the flowery metalanguage for the dangerously absurd.

Particularly, she strategically managed to remain philosophically and socially inscissile within the spectacular double consciousness of her private self.

Everyone, friends and enemies alike, remained expendable in the sphere of her supervisory influence.

To understand what was going on around me, I kept my ear to the ground by focusing my attention on the possibility of untangling the stratified meanings of the Manager’s tactical silence and presumed ignorance of unfolding goings-on in the Trumpian fleapit, in regard to the specifics of the romantic Cold War. There had been other extraneous tensions brewing in the Trumpian fleapit as well. Both mother and daughter privately nursed their emotional pain from romantic rejection, thinking they’d lost the male staff to the Assistant Manager. I knew also that the Manager didn’t like her assistant because she was better educated, younger, more energetic and outspoken―and therefore would’ve loved to see her go so that she’d not be around to do anything to cost her her job.

I saw planks of schadenfreude and professional jealousy in the Manager’s tear ducts waiting to explode at the moment her clandestine machinations against her assistant became a material reality.

Rumors made the rounds in the Trumpian fleapit, of the Manager tactically using the low-level employee to execute a proxy war against her assistant. Sensational reports the Manager made about the male staff at top-level management meetings the Assistant Manager also attended somehow filtered back to the male staff, potentially creating additional strata of tensions and hostilities and disruptions in the smooth flow of operations, productivity and employee socialization. In doing so, she hypothetically killed two birds with one stone. No stone of man, not even the Great Wall of Zimbabwe, however big, could kill the relationship anarchy and chivalric romance of the two lovebirds―the foolhardy Assistant Manager and the nugatory male staff.

The low-level female employee capitalized on her privileged relationship with the Manager to throw her weight about as a shadow manager of the Trumpian fleapit. This drove her and the male staff to the verge of open conflict but, fortunately, the latter always succeeded in restraining himself in the midst of provocation. These calculated provocations led to other sensational crises in the unconscious lavatory of the Trumpian fleapit. More sensational surprises began to emerge from these tensions. “On a few occasions, the low-level female employee moved in with the Assistant Manager when she quarreled with her live-in boyfriend,” the male staff alleged. “And you may wonder why she is creating all these problems for the Assistant Manager.”

On the other hand because of his own flirtatious ways with women, the male staff distanced himself from any form of socialization that smacked of bromance or homosociality. Some of us correspondingly put a comfortable distance between the overweening male staff and us to avoid being directly associated with the causative underpinnings of the hostilities. And I, for one, played it safe by straddling the fence about determining who was actually responsible for the hostilities and apportioning blame.

I still managed to protect my neutrality from partisan contamination. I knew I’d to watch my mouth around the Manager and the low-level female employee owing to the endearing propinquity they shared. The two, in turn, kept a respectable distance from me because of my working relationship with the male staff. I found myself torn between two antagonistic blocs agonizing over events I’d no hand in creating. This situation made competing claims on my neutrality and emotions and psychological equanimity, undermining my tactical insulation from any conduct I may have found myself in that reeked of professional impropriety. I didn’t want to be blamed for unduly interfering in a matter that fell outside my sphere of adjudicative authority.

I was even compelled to take on additional responsibilities on those days that I worked with the low-level employee and the male staff because they simply refused to cooperate on joint assignments. There was a time the low-level female employee leveled a charge of verbal abuse against the male staff when the two worked together on the same floor. I worked on a different floor that day in question. She later came to me wanting to know if I would be willing to testify on her behalf. I was busy feeding and administering medication to our charges and didn’t hear a thing. How could I serve as a material witness for a complainant in a matter I had no direct knowledge of?

I felt emotionally eviscerated because of all these. The Trumpian fleapit and its convoluted politics, its bruised humanity, its jaded present and future, its unabashed unprofessionalism, its corruptible character, and its troubled soul rediscovered themselves in the sinking depths of Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince where the fetid rawness of political expression trumped the imperatives of moral considerations.

Yet this matter about the missing clothes didn’t get to management for swift arbitration until much later.

I continued to plumb through the thick forest looking for the anorexic trees. I’d later learn from one of the parties involved in this matter that the mysterious disappearance of the charge’s clothing was the result of an alleged maneuver by the Assistant Manager to protect the male staff for a particular reason. Protection from what? I was never made privy to this reason. Was it to deter this charge from constantly making the Trumpian fleapit unconducive and ungovernable for the male staff, or a subversive attempt to blame the alleged missing clothing on a particular staff involved in the scandal, in hopes of getting that staff fired? I remain completely ignorant of this reason to this date.

The missing clothes were eventually found. By whom? The same low-level female employee! The Manager tasked her to retrieve the clothes, to sort them out, to return them to the charge.

On the other hand the Assistant Manager insisted that she’d trashed the clothes because she found them unwearable, but then one thing led to another, and before long a verbal confrontation erupted between the male staff and the low-level female employee in the kitchen of the Trumpian fleapit.

She blamed him for being behind the mysterious disappearance of the clothes. How did she know this?

Because he didn’t want to do anything that could later be misconstrued as physical aggression against another employee, a female for that matter, and possibly result in unfavorable decisions against him, he called the Assistant Manager at home and asked her to come to her aid. He wanted a material witness badly, so the Assistant Manager rushed to the scene of verbal confrontation.

The Assistant Manager’s timely arrival in the Trumpian fleapit merely replaced the subdued arrogance of the thickset male staff. Neither did her presence douse the spreading fire of verbal confrontation. Her presence added more fuel to the fire instead. Threatening gestures of body parts and unspeakable words flew across the fizzing volcano of a purely feminine altercation, eventually settling on the helipads of their histrionic consciences. Some of the cameras installed in the Trumpian fleapit captured remarkable Shakespearean scenes of this shameful dramatic pathos. We had a labyrinthine plot of a Shakespearean tragedy on our hands to damp down at all costs.

Chimerical ligature marks and nooses tightened around the loose necks of their brains, starving these cantankerous brains of ethical oxygen and self-awareness. Their open display of gross unprofessionalism, discourtesy, and inability to resolve their differences amicably stoked up the thunderous explosions in the character of their confrontational theatrics. I couldn’t see myself umpiring for these extemporaneous bouts of verbal violence and screaming pugilistic feints. It was abundantly clear to me and others that the seemingly endless confrontations had everything to do with emotional matters of the heart, rather than to the strange disappearance of the charge’s clothes.

The Assistant Manager was let go as a result of incontestable camera evidence. Afterwards, she invited me to her house where she asked that I help her compose an appeal letter to contest her firing. I initially agreed to help out until she tried to convince me to become a witness in the case, a case I’d never been part of in any shape or form from its beginnings to its synthetic conclusion. I wondered how she was going to ratiocinate my inclusion in an investigation without the benefit of camera evidence. Don’t get me wrong, she was a nice and caring human being who allowed her unstinted love for a man to erode her sense of professionalism and concern for the welfare of other human beings entrusted to her care. Unfortunate that these things should happen to her.

It appeared the low-level female employee finally won her clandestine battle on the exculpatory strength of the camera evidence. Did she really win her clandestine battle? Almost. She was subsequently deemed a liability in the balanced sheet of the Manager’s political book. The Manager asked her to take four of restless charges out. And she did. But instead of requesting an additional staff to accompany her and the charges, she chose to drive the four charges in a company van to a public park by herself. This idea to go it alone amounted to a Brobdingnagian miscalculus on her part, a decision she may live to regret. Various groups of Trump supporters populated the park for socialization and jollification following a rally in Colorado. Trump keynoted the rally. His totemic fealty to his myrmidonian flight of white doves, ever ready to cannibalize and ravage black crows at the slightest opportunity, was clear at the rally.

An incident involving the low-level female employee and one of the charges in which she tried unsuccessfully to get the charge aboard the van occurred, causing a total stranger from among the different groups of people to call the Manager with a complaint about a case of abuse. It was the Manager, her mother and prodder, who reportedly alerted the State to the allegation. This set off a State-level investigation that would drain the low-level female employee’s sap away. “I was trying to get the charge into the van without success, after he scrambled for a stranger’s food. I tried to explain what I was trying to achieve with the charge to a white woman who later called to report me to the Manager, though she never made any attempt to assist me get the charge into the van. She falsely claimed I abused the charge. This is simply not true,” she alleged. “None of the revelers we saw on the park ever tried to help me. I shouldn’t have gone to the park alone with the charges.”

In the end, nothing positive came out of the State of Colorado’s place in the arbitration process. She retained a lawyer to fight her case but the lawyer’s efforts went nowhere. This low-level female employee, a first-year medical student who had taken a break from medical school for personal reasons, and made a noble decision to work with persons with developmental and physical disabilities during a year-long hiatus, now has a blemished record.

“You are too trusting of others,” I told her in no uncertain terms. I had previously advised her to be on the qui vive for the possibility of the scheming tendency of the Manager to do her in the eye someday, a propitious advice she felt was misplaced because she thought I didn’t know the Manager well enough to speak of her in strong apocalyptic terms. “This is a shotgun advice,” she said to me through thunderous laughter. Thus the know-it-all low-level female employee outrightly dismissed my advice solely on the basis of her sententious alterity, as a matter of fact.

I remember her coming to work one day in a leg cast―with her frame partly supported by a crutch―a few days following the eventful firing of the Assistant Manager. It was bruited about in the Trumpian fleapit that the Assistant Manager may have contracted someone to rob her and beat her up. I knew that if this were the case, then it represented a bold reprisal statement on the part of the Assistant Manager. However, I didn’t take the rumor to heart because there was no way I could have confirmed its veracity. Even the male staff who had first shared this privileged rumor with me couldn’t vouch for its authenticity. How did he get this information in the first place?

The male staff later told me about his own ordeal with the low-level female employee even after he’d been transferred to another house following their chronic conflicts in the Trumpian fleapit. “She reported me to the State,” he told me.

“Who?”
“That vindictive girl!”
“She reported you to the State?”
“Yes.”
“For what?”
“For allegedly abusing a charge.”
Little did I know I was the next in line to act out my part in a dramatic rehearsal of The Prince.

Francis Kwarteng
Francis Kwarteng, © 2019

This author has authored 567 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: franciskwarteng

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