|Old cup - fairly generic, nothing special|
So, someone in the office where I work has a problem with me. Its either the janitor who cleans here after hours or else it is a coworker. But no one has ever come to me and said "I have a problem with you." So I think this person is just an ass who likes to mess with people they hardly know, sort of like my brother used to do.
For several months, over half the past year, someone waits until I am not at work, either before I get in that morning or else after I've left for the night, and steals my coffee cup. I don't know what they do with it, but I always find it somewhere in the office, usually in the break room either in the sink, in the dishwasher, or else sitting on the edge of the sink. Sometimes it even appears to have been washed.
After this happened a few times I asked that the janitor be informed that this is my cup and to please leave it alone. I was told "how do you know it is the janitor? We can't just go around accusing people." They may or may not have spoken to the janitor, but it didn't make any difference because the thefts continued anyway.
I thought it was a retarded person, someone who just can't quite grasp that my plain blue cup isn't company property and that they should leave it alone, so I thought I'd be smart and replace my generic cup with a very non-generic cup, one that looks totally unique when compared with everyone else's cup here in the office. So I bought this:
|New cup - clearly no generic corporate cup|
Yesterday we had a bit of a sleet-fest. We had tons of rain all weekend and then a cold blast hit us and turned it into sleet. So the roads started to freeze and they told us all to go home early. The last thing I did before going out to my car was to rinse out my coffee cup and lock it inside my desk. I remember this because it was the very last thing I did.
This morning I came into work and found my desk drawer sitting half open. The cup, of course, was gone. The roads driving into work were still icy and people in this town don't handle cold and ice very well. People get irritable and do stupid things in traffic. Today was no exception. So I came into work in a very bad mood. Finding my desk broken into and my cup stolen once again made me mad.
I sent an email to my boss, my boss' boss, human resources, and my specific HR rep, along with the usual people I had been emailing about this, asking why nothing has been done and what can be done to finally end this crap. If this is a joke, it isn't funny anymore. It is the same stupid harassment every single time with no variety at all and no one ever saying "Ha ha, I stole your cup and then watched you go looking for it while I laughed! Isn't that hilarious?" This isn't a joke. This is harassment for harassment's sake. This is someone who has a problem with me, but doesn't have the manhood to come to me and tell me so to my face.
So I have a few suspects. Well, only two really.
The Janitor - at first I thought it was because some of the cleaning crew are retarded. Some of them are, but not all of them. They come into my office area after hours and vacuum, empty the trash, etc. They see whatever is sitting out on my desk. I get 2 different newspapers which tend to promote 2 different political viewpoints. I read these papers during lunch and sometimes even underline important parts of some of the articles. I usually throw them away when I'm done reading them, but sometimes they are left open on my desk. This past year was an election year, and in case you hadn't noticed, this country has been cut in two, divided intentionally between 2 dramatically different viewpoints. It has gotten bad enough that even the papers themselves have begun to comment on it. I don't ever put any political stickers on my cars because I know how the other party's supporters can be. They represent the labor unions and labor unions are notorious for violence and intolerance towards all disagreement. And they aren't the only ones. Anyway, I don't advertise my political views beyond The Blog. No one who works with me has ever heard me say which candidates I supported or why. Beyond the articles in the papers on my desk, no one here knows anything about my views. But if they look at those papers and assume that because I read them I must totally agree with everything they say, then odds are high that the janitor thinks he or she knows my political views. Ironically, the two papers I read disagree with each other frequently. But if all you know about them is what you see glancing at the headlines of the papers in my trash or on my desk, you can make all sorts of assumptions. Harassment connected to my perceived political views wouldn't be shocking, especially considering the way certain groups acted during political demonstrations over the last few years.
The Slightly Autistic Guy - he sits across from me and over a few seats. He never speaks to me, even when I smile and say "hello." He won't make eye contact with me. He is in a group that used to talk often and loudly, playing jokes on each other and having fun. They all instant message each other constantly, with almost their entire team talking all day long about whatever is on their minds, including coworkers they like and don't like. He likes the woman who sits next to me. I'll call her Drama Queen. She stirs up things all the time. And he loves, loves, loves her. When I was brand new here and she would talk to me, I mentioned to her that I had noticed that this guy never swings his arms when he walks. I didn't mean anything by it. I just thought it was odd. Her response was to yell across the office, "Hey Slightly Autistic Guy, he noticed it, too! See, I'm not the only one who wonders why you never swing your arms when you walk! HA HA!" This was before I realized that this guy is slightly autistic. He's super smart, but he clearly doesn't relate well to humans. No eye contact, jokes on Drama Queen that seem juvenile but flirty, no arm swinging, very stiff from head to toe, no facial expressions except the few times he's laughing. I started keeping a record of every time my coffee cup is stolen. So far he's always here when it gets stolen, and the days or weeks he's away it never gets stolen. I've been considering leaving it on my desk the next time he goes on vacation just to see if anything happens to it. Last time he was on vacation I left my desk unlocked with the cup inside and no one took it. Now that he's back my desk was broken open and it was taken. Coincidence?
The girl he clearly has a crush on laughed at him because I noticed he doesn't swing his arms. He didn't laugh. He didn't say a word in response. I didn't know he was autistic at the time, but after I figured it out I went on the internet and looked around. There are forums where people with various disabilities including autism talked about the whole arm swinging thing and the expectation that they do it when they walk. Several of them even said they tried to do it just so people would leave them alone about it, but it took too much concentration and distracted them from their other thoughts. They almost all concluded that it wasn't worth the effort and gave it up. But it bothered them that people noticed.