Over the years, I have tried in vain to be the subject of office gossip. As we all know, everybody who is anybody warrants whispers and raised eyebrows at the water cooler. I believe this with every fiber of my shriveled, blackened corporate heart.
In workplaces of yore, I have planted the "Holy cow, Heather's a lesbian!" seed – it seems the most plausible in my forever-single state - but it never took. Trying a different tack, I offered the, "Whoa! Heather sleeps around!" idea but all I got were yawns. (I guess that one's been done.)
Inspired by daytime television, I even submitted a wonderful story about infant me being found on the doorstep of a Satanic church and later surviving a shark attack while fleeing a low-budget Mexican drug cartel. All I got were a few questions from co-workers wondering if I got a deal on my airfare. 'Damn,' I thought, 'this is harder than it looks.'
Obviously, being fodder for the gossip mill comes easier to some. There are always those that inspire scandal with little effort. Every office has its Paris Hilton, some clueless and/or mean ho-bag that is forever providing the minions with hours of tawdry material. In fact, I've always viewed this person as providing a necessary bonding service to the rest – much like the coffee pot only with misplaced lingerie involved.
But beyond entertainment, I depend on office gossip to convey crucial information (though I believe the term en vogue is "leaks.") Again, I simply cannot find the onramp to this unique information highway, despite the omnipresent Internet. Honestly, I thought blogging would unclog this artery all by itself but again, no such luck.
When I left my San Francisco life, I was sent off with lots of warm wishes from friends, family and yes, colleagues. Spending 40 hours a week with a group of people tends to bond you – like school buddies only now we pay taxes and must wear matching outfits. All the ups and downs of life – the first dates, the break-ups, the new homes and new puppies, the lawsuits and the ill-fated forays into ocelot farming – it's all celebrated, mourned and pondered over together like soldiers stuck in the same foxhole.
So, when my Denver dreams with MonkMan all went up in a puff of incense, I posted it, talked about it, generally released the disappointment to the general public with the confidence that the story would be discussed or at least exchanged. I didn't think I needed to print up flyers a la Samantha Jones or anything but assumed the generic grapevine would function normally.
Imagine my surprise when a co-worker IMs me yesterday, September 8th, to ask about my relationship that dissolved in June. "How's the man????" she wanted to know. I was incredulous; this woman sits - every damn day! - mere inches from people who know the entire story and yet hears nothing. "You've got to be kidding me," I said aloud to the cat. "Don't any of those people get bored or seek chocolate? Is there no basic inter-cubicle mingling?"
You see, even my non-deliberate efforts to be discussed fall flat. When I pinged another co-worker about this (the very woman who inspired this blog) she did note that it seemed odd. "Perhaps you are the anti-gossip," she quipped.
She then went on to explain that some people are "talked about while others are not" and that I should see this situation for what it truly is: loyalty. Apparently, my colleagues tend to circle wagons around me, rather then publicize my failures. I'd been going about it all wrong, swimming upstream when I should've been floating down river, enjoying the view.
Even though I face the inevitable telling and re-telling of my sad sack love story over and over again, I am suddenly grateful for the ironclad friendships of my co-workers. Their instinctive silence now feels like the loudest form of support I could ever ask for.