Saturday, December 10, 2005

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CHAMPAGNE AND MEMORIES




Tonight was my friend Mary's party and it was fun. Mary and I worked together in a tiny cubicle for about four years, going out to lunch every Thursday for those years. We were way too close, schmushed together like ice cream on a steak sandwich. Apart, we were nice women, but gradually over time we annoyed the hell out of each other. Mary has higher standards than God and she tries to live up to them; my ideals are a little over mediocre. She was slowly driven crazy and I felt as though I was sitting next to my mother, only worse. My mom was an idealist, but not a perfectionist. Anyway, the years have passed and especially now that I've escaped from that job, I miss Mary and I appreciate all I learned from her. Mary grew up working in her Dad's diners in Central Pennsylvania and Chicago. Small friendly talk comes naturally to her as well as a livable attitude about work. Mary is the oldest in a large family with parents who still go home to Greece in the Winter. Mary is very liberal in the best way, yet practical. When I was physically attacked at work by another woman, Mary's good advice was to sit at my desk and tell everyone who asked that I was fine. She said that would quiet the talk about me, which was that either I made up the assault or that I shouldn't have reported it. It was that kind of office; regardless of what happened, the in-crowd offender was always right, and some of the in-crowd were really emotionally disturbed folks.
I had never been pushed and verbally assaulted on the job and was shaken; I couldn't believe Mary's advice would work, but it did. As time went by, I kept very much to myself, didn't get involved in office politics or gossip, and never went to their parties. I realized I couldn't speak their language and needed to keep my angry, opinionated, free-spirit self to myself. That tactic worked well and the people I liked, liked me. Yeah, I couldn't stand some of the humans I saw, and I am glad to have been released.
This evening was sweet; Mary's cooking is out of this world;a few of my favorite people from my old job were there and I enjoyed seeing them. I've been freed and I'm living my life.

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