It’s time to get personal.
When people are together for long periods of time in an enclosed area, there is bound to be conflict, but for the most part, all of the seasonal employees that I live with get along swimmingly. Granted, some of have conflicting personalities, but we make it work.
And then there’s Dennis.
Physically, he’s a tall, large guy. He’s hairy, and the best way I can describe his overall look is to say that he looks like Jesus after week-long bender in Vegas.
He doesn’t conform to societal norms, and I can respect that. He also doesn’t conform to hygiene, and I can respect that too – who am I to judge if you don’t want to wear deodorant? But he just loves to push the envelope and cross that line that doesn’t need to be crossed. I have too many examples to write about, but I’ll just tell you about a couple.
The man farts and burps like it’s his job. I mean, we’re all nature-lovers and this isn’t exactly the most fashionable place to live, so we tend to let appearances and manners slide, but Dennis can fart the alphabet. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but still, he burps and farts constantly – in your face and general direction. It’s not the sound that gets to me, it’s the smell, but he doesn’t care one bit.
He also loves to flaunt his intelligence. He’s brilliant, I’ll give him that, but it can be absolutely infuriating. An example of this is when we played Categories, which involves going around in a circle and naming everything you can within a category without repeating someone else.
“Ok, how about dogs?” someone suggested.
“Can we do scientific names? Like Canis Familiaris…” Dennis started to spout off.
“Seriously Dennis? This kind of thing is what made me go all pterodactyl on you the other night.” I cut him off.
What I was referring to was an incident where he corrected me one too many times and I lost it. Everybody has their breaking point, and he finally cracked me. I yelled at him for so long that everyone in the vicinity started to find it funny and later told me I sounded like a screeching pterodactyl. And what was even more infuriating was that he totally disregarded the incident. I’m not kidding you, two days later, he gave me a foot massage.
I’ll admit that it’s my own insecurities that tick me off when he flaunts his knowledge of everything under the sun, but the bodily functions are just gross.
And he has no respect for personal boundaries either. Granted, we’ve all gotten comfortable enough with each other that we’re always in each other’s business, but once again he takes it to another level.
One day, he randomly did this:
That’s him, lying on top of the girl who lives across from me. There was no rhyme or reason as to why he did it, he just did. He just pushed her over and did it.
I have more stories I can’t post on here, but Dennis is truly teaching me the meaning of patience. But honestly, I’ll probably yell at him a few more times this summer.
The thing is, I wrote this at about 9 a.m. Later that day at about 3 p.m. I went to the Visitor Center to take photos of a junior naturalist program, which consists of small lessons about nature that are taught by our park naturalists. That’s where I saw Dennis in a completely different light – he was teaching three eager young students about fire, and I’ve never seen him act like that. He was engaging, smart, and above all, interesting. He had the kids hanging on his every word as he taught them about convection, conduction and radiation using foam balls and matches. It was quite a sight. Even adults in the vicinity were stopping and watching his little show with faint smiles on their faces.
I don’t know what to think anymore.