"I'll help you with dinner," he said.
"I got it." I was making beef stir-fry, my favorite meal for about the last 10 years, and I had it down to a science, just the way I like it. The rice was started, beef was cut and marinating, and I was slicing mushrooms, the first to go into the hot frying pan.
"No, I'll help." He's looking at the vegetables I have ready on the counter, the ones that get cooked less than the mushrooms. "You want to use this onion? Is this too much green pepper? Which knife do I use? where's the cutting board? Where's a bowl for the scraps?" I answer each question, and watch him wander off to the living room coffee table to do his work in front of the TV and I sigh. Quietly.
I finish slicing the mushrooms, and start them frying in the hot oil. I like them toasty browned in some spots, and the trick is the pan's gotta be hot, and you have to let them sit a bit, not stir them too much. I am ready for the onions, but he's not done, now he's on the phone. He is of course sanding in the doorway between kitchen and living room, blocking, stretching the phone cord. This is one of the conversations about softball, it will be a long one. I turn down the stove and make my way around him to grab the stuff, bring it all back to the kitchen (no point asking him, he's on the phone and won't hear me) and finish cutting the onions. Meantime, he's stretching the phone cord to the stove, incessantly stirring the mushrooms. Turning them to mush. I try to get around him without getting upset, turn the heat back up and add the onions. I finish cutting the green peppers and add them, and he's still stirring. Absently. Still talking on the phone, not paying any attention to me. He thinks he's helping. And of course, now I have an extra knife, cutting board, and two more bowls to wash, and he's trimmed about half the green pepper away, what a waste. And turned most of the vegetables to mush.
Finally he wanders back to the doorway (his work is done, I guess). I remove the veggies, let the pan heat up again and sear the beef slices, then throw the veggies back in at the last minute to mix it all together. The rice is done, and he's still on the phone, so I dish out my own, leaving his plate on the counter, turn off the stove, and make my way past him again to my spot on the couch to eat.
A couple weeks later, he offers to help me with supper again. "Why don't you help me by bringing in the groceries, or starting the laundry? You know this kitchen isn't big enough for two people"
"No, I want to help you with dinner," he says. Sure... help... Sigh.
That other guy was a fucking dick, and I am so glad I am rid of him.