Imported from MySpace blog
The other day, or week, or sometime in the past (my sense of time has never been spot on) the wife and I agreed to meet a cool coworker of mine for a quick cocktail at a so-called “hip” bar with a happy hour. As it had been a stressful week and I was just about to leave town, we were looking forward to a blessedly stress-free margarita.
We called for directions five minutes prior to arrival and were informed that two other work people from the periphery of the newsroom (and whom Avery had never met) had been invited. This upped the formality of the occasion and ruled out the usual casual chatter about personal crap that can be so cathartic among friends, but uncomfortable among strangers. Since we’d already agreed to attend, we still had to go out of pure social obligation.
After we got there we made the usual introductions, and found everyone had ordered without us. Charming. Avery, in an attempt to make the small talk that boring people find so fascinating, noticed a wedding ring on strange coworker #1′s finger and politely asked if she was married. #1 became visibly uncomfortable and squirmed away from strange coworker #2 (also a female) and said, “What? No, well, not to EACHOTHER.”
“Yeah, obviously,” said Avery (or something to that effect.)
Coworker #1 made an awkward recovery, and used the question about her marital state to launch into a lengthy narrative about her huge (HUGE, I tell you!) house with — get this — VAULTED CEILINGS. Just to make sure we’re listening, she told us about her new, state-of-the-art woodstove, and how the whole house (HUGE, we hear, and newly built!) could fill with smoke if she builds a fire incorrectly. But then, of course, their new, state-of-the-art sprinklers would come on. Saving the house, perhaps, but ruining their VERY NICE, 100% authentic Italian whatever furniture.
Later on, after we heard coworker #1 prattle on about wines, and how much she just adores whatever new, expensive wine that’s recently flooded the market, followed by a monologue on boutique whatever and pretentious this and expensive that, I attempt to steer the conversation toward middle ground — SOU, the alma mater that coworker #1 and I share.
The ever-skillful #1 used this as a chance to grill me about my capstone project and express general disdain for those of us who didn’t take part in the Mail Tribune’s publishing of seniors’ capstones. “The program fizzled after 2001,” she said. Then she asked me rather patronizingly if the Mail Tribune was “my very first job ever.”
At that point, I really should have just spit in her face. But, thankfully, coworker #1 and #2 (who didn’t participate much in the conversation) had to leave to return to work. (After more than what is an appropriate amount of wine for a lunch/dinner break, but whatever).
I wrestled with the implications of my newfound hatred for coworker #1 for a while, and I really tried (sincerely, believe it or not) to find a way to forgive her for being so callously, underhandedly slimy. People who go out of their way to make others feel bad about themselves usually (or so they say) have some sort of underlying insecurities.
“Maybe,” I thought to myself, “she comes from a very poor family, and recently came into money and is trying to prove herself in the wrong ways.”
My mother said she must’ve found something about me threatening; this is the theory I am most likely to believe, since coworker #1 had always expressed a calculated coldness toward me during our superficial and limited work interactions I didn’t see her use with others. All the same, I should have found it in my heart to turn the other cheek.
But after much hemming and hawing, I still can’t stand that bitch.