Last month I wrote that this slot would be by invitation only unless I was really scared of someone, in which case that person would automatically be next. Well, Lulu has scared me a lot over the past few weeks, so when she said she had a bone to pick with someone I said, “Be my guest!”
You all know Lulu: she’s a helpful little thing. But she’s not a happy bunny today.
No one stays the same
There was someone I used to have a crush on. Let’s call her A.M.
I first met A.M. around 11 years ago. At the time I didn’t have that much experience with that type; I had been much more familiar with more conformist bosses. But A.M. was just soooo cool. I met her at work, as soon as I started a new job, and it was clear from the start that liking her put me in a small but select club - running against the pack, as it were. It’s hard to resist being invited to be included in the hip group, the in-crowd, especially when it never happened to you at school or college. By being around A.M., I was suddenly among designers, photographers, musicians - creative, enthusiastic, positive, exciting, inspirational people.
A.M. was difficult and demanding, quirky, perfectionist and occasionally irritating; sometimes it seemed she was being bl**dy awkward just for the sake of it. You had to work hard at understanding her; she didn’t make it easy for anyone. She had a great sense of humour that was clearly a direct line from the people who made her - a set of in-jokes that you had to learn to get.
A.M. was what by anyone’s standards you would call a colourful person. A rainbow of vibrancy. She had phases of colour - in a largely beige and black working world she would turn up every day in turquoise, raspberry pink, bright green, then she went for rich jewel colours like burgundy red and dark blue and emerald. They always suited her. Appearance mattered to her, style was vital, but she backed it up with substance too. I never knew her put a foot wrong at work. Whatever I wanted to achieve, she always saw a way to help me do it. She made me feel anything was possible and that she was there to make the journey that tiny bit pleasanter. Individuality was her watchword - I don’t think she ever made any of her decisions with the intention of pleasing anyone.
So why am I slapping? Well, in the past couple of years A.M. has changed. It started when she ditched the colours and started dressing in black and white only, in a self-consciously ‘stylish’ way instead of the sheer fun of before. I think what also happened was that she began to get really interested in making money - she had one really successful work idea and the universal acclaim and financial rewards went to her head. Then she started trying to please everyone. She deliberately hid her subtleties, her complexities, and she started copying other people. She dumbed herself down, basically. And then she got insecure and started devising ways to keep the new people loyal to her by trickery, with information they couldn’t use elsewhere, where before she relied on her brilliance alone to hook people. And now she keeps changing every few months, so you just get invested in one of her new ideas or projects and the next one will be introduced, at such a rate that you are continually having to spend more time and money on keeping up with her latest fad. Instead of helping with the work, it becomes work just keeping up with her changes of mood. The loyalty of her original supporters goes unrewarded; I feel betrayed, as if she’s only interested in new young conquests.
Another role model bites the dust.
If it carries on like this, I might even have to abandon my beloved Apple Mac (aka A.M.) after 11 years and (horror) change to Windows.