The other day at work, I was gchatting with an old friend from high school. We were bullshitting about his dating life—a conversation that I have nothing to contribute to because I haven’t been on any sort of date in six months, and I’ve never been on any sort of “good” date in my life.
I’ve since learned to be honest about this when people seek my advice on relationships. “Oh, the last guy I was in bed with couldn’t keep it up, just FYI, I know nothing about dating.”
I’ve become super awesome at nodding my head and yeah “yes” and “ok” or “gotcha.”
In the middle of this conversation, I chimed in with something I do know about: bitching about the office. At that very moment the clock turned 10 a.m., the hour that my coworkers were clebrating a birthday downstairs with cake and ice cream.
A new thing in our office has been celebrating everyone’s birthday in said manner. Which really, when you think of it, is sweet. However, with 40 people in our office, that means a party nearly every week.
My tolerance for icing and conversation just doesn’t go that far.
So, I opted not to go downstairs, since just 4 days prior, I attended a similar gathering. I was enjoying the quiet in my office, when someone decided it would be a good idea to run up and down the hallways and tell us all that there was cake and ice cream downstairs.
Yes, I know, I read the email.
I was frustrated. I told this to my old friend. And he then told me I was a birthday bitch.
“Wouldn’t you be sad if no one came to your party?” he asked. “No. I don’t like celebrating my birthday.” I said. “That’s heartless,” he told me.
Was it? I have never liked doing much for my birthday. I don’t like getting older and I don’t like getting attention and I certainly don’t like people going out of their way for me just because I’m one year older.
I felt like shit.
Later in the week, I got some bad news that a prominent member of our community, a man I’d interviewed and written about just months ago, passed away at just 42 years old.
I surprised myself when my eyes filled with tears.
The days following resulted in my phone blowing up with texts.
“Did you interview that president??”
“Oh, well he’s dead.”
Perhaps, these people just wanted to make sure I knew about it. However, I already knew. In fact, I wrote his obituary. And it makes me curious. When the article came out on him months before, did anyone congratulate me? Nope. So why then, was it necessary to tell me via text that the man was dead?
The only thing I can conclude is that people like to share bad news like its gossip. When really, it’s sad, and I’m sad over it.
I tried to ignore it as much as I could. And I said my goodbyes at his visitation. It’s just another reminder to me that life is short, and when it ends, I hope I can be more respectful than people have been toward me, and him.