Today I drove home without turning on my headlights. This miracle was occasioned by the combined influence of reaching the end of a task at 5 pm; my boss, Justin, going home at 4 pm; and his boss, David, worrying more about what Justin was doing than what I was doing. As I passed David he sent me off with his signature humor: “Half day today?”
I should not mind his teasing, since I heartily take to the opposite role in the same game. It was only Tuesday at lunch that I took my most recent shot: David said, of one of his staff sitting with us, “Her projects always have problems because I don’t know the details until afterward.”
“Oh,” I said, “Are you saying micro-managing increases efficiency?”
Besides illustrating my propensity for barbed remarks, this little story also shows why I don’t like David’s teasing. In this case it is his comment about his other employee I take umbrage at. Obviously the remark was meant at least in part in jest, but it seemed to be as much a deliberate performance criticism; and if so, it should not have been delivered in front of me. But maybe it was meant entirely in jest; in that case the problem would be that it was too hard to tell.
Now if I had real diplomacy I would glide past such repartee without taking sides. My criticism of David applies to myself: if the rebuke was meant, it was given in the wrong context. My ire defeats my prudence.