Envy and jealousy form two of the limited range of emotions that we are permitted. Of course, our reduced range of emotional responses is entirely by design so that we are furnished only with those emotions which drive us forward in our pursuit of fuel and thus we are freed from the hindering effects of many emotions which you experience such as compassion, sadness and joy. Envy and jealousy certainly provide us with the impetus and motivation to gather our precious fuel but they are emotions that you exhibit as well. Admittedly, there are those amongst your number that are so selfless and giving that an envious thought or look of jealousy never clouds your saintly features, but for many of your kind there is a bitterness that arises from this jealousy although we know you would never admit it and would prefer to blame it on us. Take for example the following exchange I had with one of my ex-girlfriends. I have not named the individual,not because I have some semblance of decency by granting her anonymity. Not at all. No, this is borne out of highlighting that this conversation could have taken place with any number of my ex-girlfriends. It is a conversation that could have taken place with many of you. She was in a period of devaluation and was providing me with plenty of negative fuel so as I worked behind the scenes to line-up my new prospect there was no urgency to bring about a discard. We had arranged to meet at a wine bar. I was fifteen minutes late.
“Oh here at last,” she remarked as I walked in to the wine bar. I pretended not to notice her at first,my eye caught by a tall and attractive lady who was stood near to me at the bar. I smiled at the tall lady and she returned it.
“I said,” declared the ex in a louder voice, “you are here at last.”
I turned to where she was sat as if noticing her for the first time.
“Ah hello, yes what a day, major deal going on and I had to take a conference call with New York,Pretoria and Frankfurt. It’s all happening I can tell you.”
“You could have rung to say you were running late, I have been sat here wondering where you were.”
“Am I late? We said 7-15.”
“No, seven o’clock.”
“I think you will find it was 7-15. I remember distinctly because I told my secretary to schedule the conference call for 4pm to last for no longer than 3 hours to give me sufficient time to get here. Big deal you see, so it needed that time allocated to it.”
“Well, I was busy too you know,” she remarked.
“Not on the scale I have been my dear,” I replied with a smile as I continued to scan the wine bar to see if there was anybody I knew and any further opportunities to gather fuel.
“Oh of course, your work is always more important than mine isn’t it?”
“No need to be like that, I am just stating a fact.”
She began to say something but I cut her off by pointing at her wine glass which was nearly empty and asking,
“Which wine is that?”
“Er, the chardonnay,” she replied.
“The Chablis here is far better, I will get that,” I remark and smile as I see her twist her face at my comment. I indicated to a waitress to come over to the table and I ordered two glasses of the Chablis.
“A far better choice,” I declare pleasantly,
“Oh it would be wouldn’t it since you chose it?” she added sourly.
I pretend I didn’t hear and thrust my hand out and revealed a watch from underneath the double cuff of my shirt.
“What do you think of this then? Impressive no?”
“Why have you bought that? I got you a watch only last month,” she announced in irritation.
“I know but, well, this is of a superior quality and the strap on the one you got me did not fit my wrist properly, not like this one,” I explained and I then continued to espouse the virtues of the chronological item as her face darkened. I of course revelled in this but I maintained the pretence that I did not notice.
“Anyway, enough of that,” she snapped.
“Something the matter? Not jealous are you? Jealous? Of a watch?”
“No I’m not jealous,” she answered far too quickly.
“Yes you are.”
“No I am not, anyway, where are we going this weekend? I thought we might go to Rockcliffe for a couple of nights, the restaurant in the orangerie is apparently really good,” she continued.
“I am not going there.”
“Because I have been invited to Guisborough instead.”
“What’s it got to do with you?”
“Er just a bit, I am your girlfriend or had you forgotten about that?”
“I would rather not say, you will only get jealous,” I grinned.
She looked indignant.
“Let’s just say Guisborough is better than Rockcliffe so that is where I will be going,” I added.
“Oh I see, you always have to go one better than what I suggest,” she snarled.
“Hey,I cannot help it if people who have excellent choice invite me to such a place can I?”
“You do it all the time. I get a new car, so you do the same only yours is more expensive. I gained a promotion and rather than congratulate me you tell me all about the targets you apparently smashed. I cook you a fantastic dinner but you tell me it is not as good as the one you did the previous week. I show you a picture and you tell me you have one that is similar only yours is better. Good God, I even told you about a moisturiser I was using, just chit chat and you have to explain how the one you use is superior to it. What is wrong with you? You always have to bring it back to you and go one better?”
“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you?” I replied feigning a look of displeasure despite the fact I was revelling in all this fuel that was being provided.
“You are consumed by your petty jealousy. I share what I achieve, I tell you first, I let you into everything I do so you can feel reassured that you are with someone who is successful and all you can ever do is be jealous and envious. How about being pleased for me for once rather than thinking about yourself?”
“I cannot believe what I am hearing. You boast all the time, you do it with everything. You tell me repeatedly about how you are ‘kicking ass and taking names’ at work, how the higher-ups adore you, how you are looking at buying an even larger house and how you have always been the highest achiever in your family. I told you about my degree result, yours had to be a class higher, if that is even true of course as sometimes I wonder. Your university was better than mine, your post code is a more desirable area,you have more friends than me, you have visited more countries than me. Every time I try and tell you something you have to trump it and go one better,” she continued as the anger tainted her words.
I slowly stand and her eyes widen as she seems surprised by my movement.
“I’m not sitting here listening to your jealousy, I am parked on a double yellow line and I am not getting a ticket just because you are envious of me,” I hiss. I turn as I hear her shout after me.
“There you go again, it couldn’t be a single yellow line could it? Oh no.”
I smiled and walked away content in the knowledge that these continued bouts of envy provided me with such delicious fuel. So predictable. Single yellow? I liked that.