my secret reality unveiled
Thursday, June 22 2000
Nobody at work really knows my deal. All they see is an extremely industrious person who shows up early for work each day and leaves promptly at 6pm every day. They know I'm not into small talk, goofing off, or throwing things, all common activities amongst the youthful geniuses with similar job titles. They have no idea about the complexities I face, complexities I do an extremely good job of concealing. Today, though, despite my efforts, some of the truth leaked out.
It all began early in the afternoon when I learned that there'd be some sort of company function somewhere at a museum and that the company function would extend until 6:30pm or so. I decided to do the right thing, so I emailed Kim saying I'd be a little late. Exhausted just thinking about the possible interrogation that lay in wait for me, I begged her in the email not to assume that this "company function" was a contrivance to conceal an office affair. Here's the text of the operative part of the communication:
In other news, I'll probably [be] coming home a little late tonight since the
whole company is going to a museum or something (i don't really know and am
not interested enough to find out). whatever you do, don't freak out and
grill me when i come home about the possibility that i am telling a lie and
that i am actually having an office affair. i hate having to beg for this,
but i know how irrational you are about this sort of thing. and it
definitely causes me lots of anxiety, which i really don't need.
Then, there I was, having a meeting with my boss Linda at her desk. Linda is low-key and very sweet.
(On a completely unrelated note, she's also recently separated from her husband, something I haven't told Kim for fear of breathing new life into one of her more persistent - and thoroughly irrational - jealousies.)
Suddenly Linda's phone rang and it was Kim. (She must have tracked Linda down through the receptionist.) After chatting briefly and psychotically with my boss, my Glenn-Close-in-Fatal-Attraction girlfriend begged me to let her come to the museum with the rest of the company. I told her in as calm a manner as possible that this was inappropriate, that it was a company function. But she persisted, in that relentless hound-dog way I so dread, to the point where I nearly had to hang up on her. When that phone call was over, I sat there in front of my boss flushed red with embarrassment about what had just happened. But my humiliation was far from over. Kim called again only minutes later, accusing me of having a crush on Linda right there in front of her. I had to press the phone hard against my ear so Linda wouldn't be able to overhear such damning evidence that my girlfriend is a psycho. When the call was over, what could I say? I apologized to Linda, saying "Sorry, but my girlfriend is psychotic." Linda was very understanding, telling me about all the crazy workplace communications she's been having with her husband.
Back at my desk, Laurie, the community DBA, informed me that my phone had been ringing over and over and over again. Each time the voice mail had intercepted the call, the phone had begun ringing anew. This wasn't good.
So throughout the company function, which took place at an æronautics museum on the grounds of the Santa Monica Airport, I found myself hanging my head in shame that the truth was finally out: Gus has a meddlesome girlfriend with what seem like psychotic jealous tendencies. It's been a long time since I've been so thoroughly humiliated.
After the CEO gave his speach (I forget what it was about; I was writing in my Psion), all 300 of us went into another room for food and alcoholic refreshments. I was so humiliated that I went off in a corner and ate my food by myself, then wandered around, glass of red wine in hand, looking at the intricate mechanisms of the various airplanes on display. I wondered how I'd allowed myself to give up so much of my personal dignity to such a congenitally psychotic, manipulative woman.
Of course, the pragmatic thing would be to just get the hell out of here. Pack my bags and go, kiss my debts and possessions good by and hit the road. Believe me, when I was manipulated into buying this house (in support of Kim's chosen line of work), it repeatedly crossed my mind what might happen when the shit went down and I wouldn't be able to take the aggravation and embarrassment any longer. But here I am, like a chicken locked in a cage with a monkey. The only solution is to make peace. While it's probably impossible to disabuse Kim of her belief that I want to have sex with my boss, perhaps I can eventually get her to promise not to bring this up quite so often in conversation. And while, if she ever discovers where my new building is located, she might well hide in a eucalyptus and observe me through powerful binoculars, perhaps I can convince her that it's mutually-advantageous to allow my career to proceed in an otherwise undisturbed fashion.
Interestingly enough, despite the aggravation and workplace humiliation, today's experience was also somewhat liberating. You see, if it's true that informing Kim of my intent to come home late will only lead to embarrassment and suffering, then I can probably be forgiven for discontinuing my existing policy of informing her as to my whereabouts. In effect, then, I am more free today than I was yesterday.
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