I used to work in a small room (for 6 people, “the fish bowl”, we called it because it was an interior room with one glass wall overlooking the open office for everybody else.) A girl on the team at the time (almost two years ago) was the type of girl for which I could find no redeeming work quality: superficial in every way, fake and all up in everybody’s business, a gossip, no work ethic and sloppy, spoiled little “Druish princess” (thanks, Mel Brooks!), an embarrassment for myself just in having to accept she was part of the team and the reason people looked down on our team.

There was nothing about her that didn’t irritate me. She would badger me constantly, and each week asked either , “Are you and J getting married?” or “Has J asked you to marry him yet?” or “Am I invited to the wedding?” (Girl, you wouldn’t even be invited to the funeral.) It was especially a sore point for me because at this point in my life, the nights of rejections and lack of sex were starting to bother me and cast my doubts on our relationship–but not like I’d ever tell her that.

I was both relieved and disappointed when she finally was gone–the disappointment came from her being moved to a different department rather than fired. I really had wanted to see her fired, particularly since I would spend the next 3 months cleaning up her sloppy work.

I hate being fake. Absolutely hate it. I would still run into her here and there, and every interaction was painful. My colleagues (those happy smiling people) would laugh at witnessing our interactions because they knew it took every effort on my part to hide what I really wanted to say in those moments and hide my facial expressions every time she spoke to me. She’d catch me in the kitchen and exclaim, “F, I miss working with you so much!” My response: “Oh that’s…nice.”

The other thing my colleagues, the ones who really know me, is I don’t do small talk. It’s not my thing, at least not at 8am. They laugh when someone new comes along and thinks they’re going to really impress me by chatting it up first thing in the morning. Nope. Not even close. I enjoy being able to work in peace and quiet–especially when it’s early. I’m often the first one to the office and almost never late.

So of course this morning would be the day that I’m surprised to see the Druish Princess is in before 8 (again, the work ethic thing was never really her gig. When we worked in the fish bowl, she was late every single day.) As we’re the only two people in on that side of the office, she comes over to do her favorite: the fake small talk. (God, grant me the strength not to toss her out the window.)

“Are you and J getting married yet?”
“No.”
“Are you two ever going to get married?”
“No.”
“What?! Why not? Never ever?”
“No.”
“Really? NEVER?”
“Never.”
“You don’t want to get married???”
“We broke up.”
“What! When was this? Why didn’t I know? Was it recent?”
“Yes. This year.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Then she backs away, finally having gotten a fucking clue.
It’s certainly not how I wanted to start my Monday.

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