Do You Have a Nemesis?

As easily as I’ve been able to name my best friend at various phases of my life, so too have I been able to pinpoint my nemesis.

The title shifts as my life evolves. Nemeses have included (in no particular order): the deli worker near my office who was totally rude when I ordered my sandwiches; Matt’s ex-girlfriend; a woman who always spoke up—and went on uninterrupted for a full five minutes— just at the end of staff meetings in what seemed like a blatant attempt to make my ears bleed; a high school classmate who was BFF with my first real boyfriend and hated that I was in the picture; the woman who sat across from me in my first job and lobbed over passive-aggressive jabs because I was apparently much less literary; the lady at my tiny gym–no, it was a fitness room–who always turned the overhead music on full blast so I couldn’t hear the TV on my machine.

These were the Newmans to my Jerry. Plenty didn’t know that we were nemeses at all. I mean, I’m not about to tell the woman who puts together my sandwich everyday that her attitude isn’t appreciated. You know what else wouldn’t be appreciated? A spit sandwich.

My nemeses aren’t people I’ve fought with. If you saw us interact, you’d never know I’d named them Nemesis #1. They’re not even the people who’ve been meanest to me in my life. A couple of years ago someone told me I was stupid—yes, he actually used the word stupid—because I like How I Met Your Mother. According to him, the only people who enjoy Barney’s antics are “stupid people who think they’re smart.” He told me this after I told him it was one of my favorite shows. But he’s not my nemesis. He’s just mean. Nemeses are those people you see everyday and there’s an underlying, if not acknowledged, animosity. They make you want to shake your fist in the air and say “Ugh! Nemesis!” (Or is that just me?)

It’s ok if that animosity is only one-sided.

In fact, that’s funnier.

You know how love and hate aren’t really opposites, but two sides of the same coin? That’s how I feel about BFFs and nemeses. Both are sort of fun to have. They keep you on your toes. There have been plenty of times when people have asked me if I know some girl from college and I’d say, “Oh sure! She’s my nemesis!” as if I was declaring we were having a slumber party that Friday.

These days I seem to be nemesisless. Such is the burden of working from home. I don’t interact with anyone on a regular enough basis to have achieved nemesis levels.

Instead, I’ll live through you. Tell me, who is your nemesis? Come on, you know you’ve got one.

17 Comments

Filed under The Search

17 responses to “Do You Have a Nemesis?

  1. anonymous

    Sadly, I’m pretty sure mine is my roommate.

    • Social Butterfly

      I hope you are able to find a new roommate or place to live. I’m sure daily life would be happier if you knew your foe did not live under the same roof.

  2. Christine

    hm..mine would have to be the woman two cubes over from me…which is a longer story than I will write. She has the air of “I am better than You”. Don’t get me wrong she is quite smart and good at her job, but so are other people. It is funny because she and I use to be good friends. Another part of that long story. Now I avoid eye contact and IM my co-worker/friend who sits diagonal from neimesis’ cube my fist shaking. :p

    • I find the fist shake to be helpful and cathartic.

      • Christine

        Fist skake, eye roll, muttering under breath…

        then at times missing my old friend who was a douche to most people except me unti they became a douche to me.

    • stealthbutterfly

      Oh man this woman a few cubes over from me irritates the heck out of me (while cube farms may foster open communication I think they also make it way too easy to get irrationally irritated with your coworkers. That person who breathes loudly? Tolerable if you’re in separate offices but a potential murder victim when he’s sitting right behind you). She is negative about everything and she tends to poop all over anything I’m excited about (the Trader Joe’s we finally got).

  3. Social Butterfly

    I can think of a few that I have befriended or have to interact with in life. I suppose that saying, “Keep your friends close and enemies closer” is perhaps why I put up with people who act more like a foe than a friend. I never thought of fist shaking as cathartic and will try that also. I usually write about my upsetting encounters metaphorically to find a release from the clutches that a nemesis seems to have.

  4. Anonymous

    I just have a friend who feels like the slightly cuter, younger, richer, more successful version of myself. Like, when I see her, I see a better version of me at that age (she is only like 3-4 years younger than me). Her family she was born into sort of set her up for success and for getting whatever she wants, and she is a great manipulator and charmer to boot. All things I tend to be bad at. So in my head I always see her as a sort of nemesis. Even though we are pals and hang out here and there in social settings. It is always weird, my feeling toward her. Love and hate all at once. Cause we get along really well despite the nemesis thing.

  5. Marie

    The one that comes to mind as my current nemesis is my cafeteria checkout lady at work. Every morning I order 1 scrambled egg beater egg from the short order cook and every morning he makes me 1 1/2 scrambled eggs. Then when I go to checkout I say I have 1 egg, she looks at my plate and says that I have 2 eggs. I always tell her that I only ordered 1 egg. And she always comes back and says that the cook made me 2 eggs and he should only make me 1 egg. Yeah, but I don’t know how to make him only make me 1 egg. I’ve even tried holding up one finger when I say one egg please. I’m getting so tired of this routine that I’m ready to switch to oatmeal!

  6. Emily

    I love a good fist shake! So cathartic!

    I shake my fist, mentally or actually, almost every single day about my nemesis. She’s a woman I work with who is just awful – truly, I don’t throw that sentence around much, but she’s awful. Always undermining, passive-aggressive, steals good projects before I even know they exist…nemesis!

  7. anonomous

    A best-friend “group” situation of 40 years has recently displayed an unsupporting face of late. I am trying to adjust to widowhood. And after five years, I am suddenly experiencing anger (I guess FINALLY) at some “unfairnesses” in Life. Since it’s unlikely that everyone in this group has suddenly flipped on personalities, I can only assume I am slightly insecure and extremely vulnerable to negative judgements. However, with a couple of these friends who are very influential in the group, I feel betrayed unjustly in their judgements that I have an “exagerated recollection” of past events. That’s like calling me a liar! I am seeking answers directly from the “event people of the past” to verify if I am losing my faculties. So far, it seems I am OK. But I am very wary of the “laser tongues” in this group and am trying to NOT throw back stones. I guess they are my “nemesis”.

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