taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Monday, May 09, 2005

Tales from Smalltimore Part 503954059:

Today I'm at work and this guy walks in who looks incredibly familiar. Turns out he's the one who has been on Papa Leave for the two weeks since I started. Anyway he comes up to my desk and introduces himself and says "You look really familiar!"

Let's just be clear here--besides the fact that this is my OLD new job (in that I worked there seven years ago) and the fact that two of my clients I already know from past work/social lives--now I know this guy? And I was starting to get this feeling that I actually knew him from a time when I was somewhat less--ahem--conventional than I am today.

So I played the whole thing as coolly as I could--which (since I'm a giant dork) is not very cool at all--and realization starts to dawn on him. "Did you used to go to shows a lot in the early nineties? Hang out at [insert bar name here]?" I'm all "Um yeaaahh... I did." So we get talking about various bands that used to exist around town and people we know in common and it turns out all my fears were unjustified. If indeed he does remember my bad behavior he was not going to mention it. And anyway my connection with him was so peripheral that he probably doesn't remember my bad behavior. Wasn't everyone behaving badly back then after all? I hope--for their sakes--that my peers didn't squander their youth on pre-law classes and the writings of Derrida.

And then it occurred to me that I was worried about maybe a two-year span of my life that happened FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. I've been a married mama for almost ten years--way longer than I was a crazy teenager. So why should those two years continue to give me such anxiety?

It's just that Baltimore never lets you forget. You can totally transform yourself--hey guys! I'm professional Claire now! I've spent ten years busting my ass and I now really DO know something! And yet even in your professional life there are whole sets of people who remember you doing shots of SoCo while sitting on top of the bar at the Vous. Or even worse--"I remember you running around in your didies when you were a little baby!" (And yes. There are people still active in my industry who remember this particular image of me.) Everywhere you go someone knows you from before--and that includes work. Baltimore offers no escape. You are continually forced to face every single thing you ever did.

I have to remember this--because today is tomorrow's past. At the time all my behavior seemed totally appropriate--as does everything I do now. But in twenty years what will I encounter? "That's the woman I worked with twenty years ago! She's a VP now but back then she had purple hair and said whatever the hell came into her head! A real attitude problem! And did I mention she used to do shots of Soco while sitting on the bar at the Vous?"


At 7:06 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

which is precisely why i moved around so much, finally landing here "fully cooked", as it were.

At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Romarkin said...

Can you get me an invite to John Waters' parties?


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