On the way out of the office today, I was caught waiting with The Silent Man.  This guy, who works on my floor, does not talk to anybody.  Seriously.  I supppose he must talk to his boss and probably some support staff, but apparently does not interact with anyone else in the office as far as I (and several of my colleagues) can tell.  He exudes this aura of chilly disinterestedness.  I’ve never had the nerve to do more than smile at him when stuck in the elevator hall because of the pall he carries with him.  Of course, because he doesn’t really look anyone in the eye, he probably doesn’t see the smile encouraging him to say hello.  Anyway, in a very distant way he reminded me of the dementors in the Potter books in that his silent presence is so palpable that even when I have gotten on the elevator chatting with other people we all fall silent in his presence.  Weird.

This got me thinking about dementors.  In the Potter books, the dementors suck all the happiness out of people whenever they’re around.  They drive people crazy with sadness.  They are not personal dementors in that they have the same effect, generally, on everyone.  I was thinking though, that I, and probably many others, have a personal dementor.  A personal dementor is someone who just makes you crazy.  Perhaps with sadness, such as the Potter dementors, or in my case, crazy with rage.

When I say drives me crazy with rage, not only has this person done absolutely infuriating things, but has done them so often and made me so ‘demented’ that even minor faux pas and irritations that I would overlook or dismiss in someone else make me glower and storm about in overwhelming anger at yet another offense by this person.  This relative, quite literally, drives me crazy with rage almost by “being” sometimes. 

It is absolutely absurd that I let this person affect me so and I have on occasion tried every trick I can think of to simply not engage, not allow the minor irritants to get to me, but I have always failed.  Basically, I end up doing all sorts of stupid passive aggressive things when I am around this person and it drives me nuts.  I can be very straight-forward about issues, problems, etc., with most people, but not with this person.  I tried it once and it blew up in my face.

One of my best friends in law school was managing editor of the law review and as such, had the not so joyous task of giving assignments to her peers to review/edit articles.  There was a guy in our class who became her personal dementor.  He was typical of a subset of people on the journal who once they had ‘gotten on law review’ and had that credit to add to their resume did simply the barest most minimal amount of work, complaining all the while about how put upon they were.  Anyway, everything this guy did drove my friend nuts the entire year she was editor.  Finally, in desperation, she decided that for Lent (she being Catholic) she would give up her anger at him.  It worked.  I”m not sure how.  She still despises him, but for the last few months of the year she was able to let go and he did not phase faze* her. 

I wish I could find a way to do that with my personal dementor.  I need to be able to do a Patronus charm.

Please share your thoughts on personal dementors and how to defeat them – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

* Updated to correct wordchoice.  I seem to have more and more problems with homonyms the older I get. Weird.