Friday, October 16, 2009

Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies

Starting a new job is a lot like swinging from one vine to the next in the jungle. When you’re parsing out money with an eyedropper to pay your bills, it can involve a lot of shuffling of bill payments to meet a new pay schedule.

Yeah, I got a new job and then I missed my house payment…

Thankfully, I’ve been able to do a shell game and I should have all my bases covered.

The other thing that will be decidedly weird is entering into a bunch of new relationships where no one knows my story. Everyone at my present job knows my story because my life exploded at their feet. They even rallied their friends and went with me to the sentencing.
It was all very public and “out there”.

But now I’m left with that eternal nagging problem that has haunted me from day one: How do I deal with questions both innocent and nefarious?

I’m fairly adequate at steeling myself for specific events such as court dates (so long as I have an idea of what will happen and no overt douchebaggery takes place), where I fall down is the comments from out of the blue or the phone calls from left field. I’m not used to being left speechless and when I don’t know what to say, I’m often left fumbling like an idiot.
Even innocent comments from strangers can cause that vasovagal reaction that makes me alternately want to throw up and pass out.

“Oh, you’re getting a divorce? Do you have joint custody?”

See? An innocent question that stops me in my tracks and makes me stutter. What I want to say is “Well, if by joint custody you mean that the asshole is in the custody of the joint, then yeah.” What I end up saying is “Ummmmm. No….” and I get a pale sweaty ‘deer in the headlights’ look that probably communicates to them that upon commencement of divorce proceedings, I cannibalized my seven children and buried their eyeballs underneath the basement stairs. There is always palpable tension when the subject comes up. You couldn’t even begin to cut it with a knife, better pull out the chainsaw.

Or there is an opposite reaction. When I went in for a pre-employment physical at a clinic that I hadn’t been to in years, they went over my emergency contact information. “Is Tracy still your emergency contact?” Yup. Fairly innocent question to which I started laughing and managed to burble “Oh HELL no!”

She then directed me to the psych floor.

I don’t want to tell you my story. Neither do I want you to ask me questions. Maybe you’ll see me pause occasionally and get that haunted look in my eye. Maybe you’ll notice how I take a deep breath and shake off the sadness. Maybe you’ll surf the internet and figure it out on your own.

But when we’re in the break room, surrounded by everyone? Yeah, please. Just don’t go there.

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