We have a new hire at work. She does her job well and is pleasant to everyone but. . … On the very first day there were 5 of us, and her, in the break room eating lunch, when we were all suddenly aware that she was talking to herself in a low mumble. Not loud enough to hear distinct words but very audible.
She scrubs herself crazy in the bathroom and leaves both toilet paper and paper towels strewn all over the place. Unroll, unroll, unroll. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Unroll, unroll, unroll. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Unroll, unroll, unroll. Scrub, scrub, scrub. No one has the courage to tell her to clean up after herself.
In the bathroom she also has conversations with herself. Unlike the mumbling in the lunchroom, in the bathroom she whispers than mumbles, whispers then mumbles in a talk and respond pattern. It never seems to be a nice conversation as you can hear her curse in the mumbled parts occasionally. Plus, it has the cadence of an argument. This is what prompted this thread asking opinions because I’m imagining, “Should I kill all those motherfuckers?” “No, no. Just scrub yourself clean and they can live.” “Shoot the fuckers!” “Use more paper!”
I, like Dane Cook, will make friends with anybody. Especially if I think it’ll save me from getting killed. I’ve found out she’s recently married. For the first time at 58. She doesn’t look 58 at all, hence another co-worker wondering if the wedding photo on her desk was her husband or a very strange father-daughter picture.
As I said, she’s very pleasant although she does have a tendency to talk to people and them not quite knowing what she’s talking about. For instance she recently asked Jason if he was better. Jason gave a vague answer in the positive and she spoke on about how her husband had to carry her about when she hurt her back. Me, being a jokester, told Jason he should have told her he isn’t “better”, he’s “the best”. To which he answered in a whispered tone, “I don’t know what she’s talking about.”
Let me emphasize, she’s very pleasant and not in any way threatening. Except for the part where she scares me.
Yeah, the mumbling would creep me out too. I don’t know why stuff like that is so unnerving, but it is. You can tell yourself all day long that it’s harmless and then recall the statistics showing how crazy people have more to fear from non-crazy people than the reverse. But it is still weird being around someone who doesn’t seem to be quite all “there”.
That said, it’s possible she isn’t “crazy”–as in, psychotic. Maybe she’s just “quirky”. The TP thing sounds like she has OCD. A lot of people with OCD have tics, which might be what the mumble-mumble stuff is (it could be echolalia. Sometimes when my thoughts get to echoing, I’ll find myself repeating the same phrases over and over again under my breath. When I am in this mood, I’ll close my office door so as not to disturb anyone who may be passing by. I don’t think I do this in front of others (I really hope not!), but it’s possible I do.
I have explained to close coworkers that I am a bit weird as a way of explaining any abnormal behaviors they notice from me.
I think it was Alexander King (author of “May This House Be Safe From Tigers”, “Mine Enemy Grows Older” and other classics :dubious:) who once commented that it wasn’t the obviously eccentric sorts he worried about.
He was more concerned about the people who buttoned down their feelings and presented a “normal” facade for years, until finally blowing a fuse and hurling a metal filing cabinet out the 30th floor window of an office building.
Yeah it’s a guy thing. We reserve that right, exclusively, for us.
The OP’s situation does sound creepy. With such people I’ll be pleasant, greet them with a helloif we pass each other in the hallway, but that’s it. Otherwise I keep my distance and be watchful and observant of such potential loonies. I definitely do not chat them up.
Where I do volunteer work we have several of those that hear voices and talk to themselves. I have on rare occassions seen them go off verbaly on someone bit I have never witnessed one get physical. It has been my experience that in at least 99% of the exchanges that I have had with them where I have to tell them to clean up their messes or try to control their behavior a little better it has been no issue. Try to be friendly, understanding, non judgemental and sincere.
She really does need to clean up after herself or be fired. You should not have to deal with that.
Now the mess in the restroom is not acceptable. But no one owes it to anyone else to broadcast their mental health issues in public. I have only told one coworker out of hundreds that I have Tourettes and that I’m obsessive. Why? Because people can be jerks with information like that. She may be afraid of what will happen if she comes out as the “crazy lady”, especially if she has a probationary period.
If Biggirl is really curious, she can befriend the coworker and hope that one day she becomes comfortable enough to talk about herself more. But no, she should not ask what the deal is.