Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Classmates & Officemates

If I could give you one piece of advice, never tell people your personal life at your work place. I happened to find myself in a predicament that sort of fell on my lap. A few years back, I started working for a company where most of the people that worked there went to the same school I went to. It was uncanny and downright awkward- a huge disastrous, unwanted high school reunion. Even the people who were ten years older than me were from the same school and the same area. They knew my older sisters and called out my last name as though they haven’t heard it in years—but were refreshed to see a “Pasquella” in their office.

“How’re your sisters? How’ve you been? What’s going on in your life?”


“Are you married…kids?”

I always had to answer, “No, not married and no kids just yet,” with a big smile, hoping they would walk over to the next cubicle and rehash old times with some other lost soul. I was never fond of high school reunions or even the thought of one. My ten-year reunion was soon approaching - but it had nothing to do with me, because I wasn’t planning on attending. For the love of God, I ran out of that school like a bat outa’ hell! Why would I want to revisit a time I hated? Some people loved high school, but for me, it was one big messy blur of distress.

One night, after dinner, my girlfriend and I walked into a local bar down the road to have a drink. It was Friday night and the bar seemed to be packed just by the looks of the parking lot. We had to park in the neighboring establishment’s lot. It seemed like a good night. We heard the music blaring and people shuffling around the patio area with their cocktails.

As soon as I opened the door, I saw people running over towards me.

“Deb! Oh….muy….GAWD! I haven’t seen you in like- forever! Come here!!!” One by one, they all started lining up to hug me, even the ones who used to despise me. One guy came up to me with his arms wide open, waiting for a big bear hug. I recognized him as ‘the funny heavy kid’. He was black and had an extreme weight problem in the past. We loved him though - he was so friendly and so hysterical! But, we always noticed he was a bit “soft spoken”.

“Ivan! How are you? You look great!” He was now tall, thin with a muscular build and absolutely gorgeous.
“Oh hunnay, I am doing just F*I*N*E--- fine! Girlfriend- whatchya’ been doing with yourself?” He said in the most flamboyant tone.
“Not much- still the same.” I never knew what to say in these circumstances.
“Are you married?”
“No.” I said, “I’m with her.”
Pointing to my girlfriend, as his eyes widened like two huge bowling balls.
“What about you? You on my team?” I said, bumping his arm, as if I already knew.
“Aren’t you on my side of the fence?”
“You mean, am I gay?”
“Oh hell no girlfriend- I love my ladies!”
He said, snapping his fingers like those guys on Living Color--

Three snaps down in Z-formation!

It’s just as bad as if you were to ask a woman with a little belly weight, “So when are you expecting?” I was totally embarrassed, but at the same time, I was so shocked to hear that he wasn’t gay. Maybe he wasn’t out yet? Or maybe that was just his demeanor- the way he acted? At any rate, I felt horrible for my wrong judgment. I apologized and he said, “Oh honey, I get that all the time, don’t you worry about it.”

But I did. I worried and fidgeted the rest of the night.

So back to the office scene…. I was known as the ‘lesbian’ of the group.

“Psssssssss! Did you know Deb’s a lesbian?”
“A what?”
“A lesbian.”
“A Lebanese?”

It was the talk around the water coolers. And God forbid one of my co-workers were found walking out for lunch with me.

“Hmm…You think she’s gay too?”

Thank God one of my co-workers found this quite amusing. We started to go to lunch all the time, and we started making people believe we were a couple. We were the talk of the company. People popped their heads over their cubicles like nosey little prairie dogs and wondered what we were whispering about. One gay man that worked with us, who was also our very close friend, got upset with us because we were way too ‘chatty’. Even though he knew we were playing around with other people’s heads, even he thought we were an item.

It’s so hard to mind your own business sometimes!


Lorna said...

Loved the post, deb. I always make a promise to myself not to share so much about me when I start a new job or after a new move, we moved a lot when I was married, but after a few weeks the REAL me just comes out and BOOM I am yakking! I guess some things will never change. :-( hugsssssssssssssss

Leesa said...

You know, I actually asked a man once when he knew he was gay, and to my surprise, he was not gay. Opsie.

I would never work with people I went to school with. Not on purpose. Yuck.

And do you know what happened to Mark's blog (your Internet ex?)?

Mustafa Şenalp said...

I like your site very much. Thanks for your interest. Have a good day

Anonymous said...

Have you read Princess Bubble?
She is prince-less

Matt-Man said...

Ha...So you're Lebanese!? You hide it well. Cheers Deb!!

Matt-Man said...

So you're Lebanese? You hide it well. Cheers Deb!!

Nancy said...

I had a couple horrible things happen to me I couldn't avoid sharing with work and got the most horrible response from my coworkers. When I was younger (20), I was robbed at work. All anybody talked about behind my back was how I "fell apart" afterwards after the police questioned me and I sat down to rest -- not how I did great during the dang event or how calm I was until I knew I was safe! They showed their true colors. Biotches.

Later, I was pregnant and suffered a miscarriage -- twice. Everybody talked about the time I took off afterwards (3-5 days) and how I needed to get counseling. All behind my back, including my boss. Sheesh! Rumor spread about my son's condition back to my old job, and they are still talking about me.

I would agree -- if you can keep it from your coworkers, do. It's not worth it.

~Deb said...

Lorna: I’m pretty much an open book too, but in this case, my book was already opened once I started working for this company since they already knew who I was. Thanks for stopping by!

Leesa: I know, I will never ask anyone, even if they look obviously gay, if they are in fact on ‘my team’. I didn’t know that there were people I went to school with at this company. So it was quite a surprise to say the least. Who’s Mark? You mean my “Christian” friend?

Mustafa: Well, I thank you for stopping by, I did reply on your blog, but I'm not sure what you mean by, "showing interest". Maybe you can explain that one. Hope you're doing good!

In translation so you can better understand me:
واشكركم لوقف به ، اي لم يرد على رسالتكم الكحول ، ولكنني لست متأكدا من انك تقصد "المهتمين". ربما يمكنك ان تفسر ذلك. آمل تفعلونه

Anonymous: No, but I’m sure she’s got a little lady friend somewhere in that castle!

Matt-man: I used to be Italian, but it wasn’t s choice for me. I knew all along I was Lebanese.

Nancy: People do show their true colors in rough situations. They’re like a pack of wolves when they all cuddle up in a circle and yap like a bunch of hens. People can be so cruel sometimes.

Malnurtured Snay said...

You're from Lebanon? How odd that so many people from your "old country" followed you to the new country! :)

~Deb said...

Mainurtured snay: The “old country” has literally ‘come out’ and made their presence known. Their country’s new flag is a big bright rainbow! I think I may have followed them in. They’ve been here for quite some time now.

Del Fuego said...

I never went to a high school reunion before. I'd rather stick needles in my eyes before I attend a reunion. What's the point? I also never discussed my personal life with my coworkers. It always seemed to backfire on me.

Dave said...

I liked your post. It is sometimes a sticky situation when we apply labels to people and things. It seems as if that is the way the whole world operates. Seperate, label and file it under the appropriate catagory.

QUASAR9 said...

Deb you Lebanese?
I thought you were

Funny, sometimes we like to be surrounded by close ones family & friends
other times we just can't get far enough
And, even then we still like to make more 'family' & friends, close ones to surround ourselves with

~Deb said...

Del Fuego: You know what it is though? It’s the forced reunions that I dislike. I’d rather meet them at my own terms at random times. For instance, I have a Myspace account where I connect with old friends, and that’s good enough for me!

Dave: In the office, it was kind of unbearable when they labeled me as ‘the lesbian’, however, that is what I am since I am with someone of the same gender. I don’t like labels too, but sometimes it does need to be applied.

Quasar: Oy vey. Yeah, I’m “Eyetalian alright! I guess we choose who we want to be surrounded by. It wasn’t so bad seeing them again, however, there were a few that I had a few questions about when they hugged me as though they missed me. Family reunions can be just God awful though!

Sandalina said...

LOL That story was funny...although I'm sure you were mortified at the time.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Yeah, Deb. The work place can be like a small town. That is why I try to stay away and just do my job.

Catch said...

I love class b/c I dont really care what anyone has to say...but I do think as we age at some point we all grow up and begin to respect each other...I have a few friends who are I dont label them as such. They are just my friends....I could care less what their preferences are...they are just good people and very worthwhile friends to have.

Anonymous said...

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنً وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْناً وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُون

~Deb said...

Sandalina: It was quite an experience! Where did your blog go???

Enemy: School and work places always scare me!

Catch: That's because you see them as 'humans' and not the person who turned out a little light on their feet! :)

Anonymous: اعتقد ان يستند رأيكم. عملي يقوم على معتقدات بلدي. لا يمكنك ان يقول ذلك. الجبابره في إيماني وانا اعرف ان ما اشعر واعرف ان يظهر خلال صحيح عملي. شكرا لوقف بها
(If you don't like my beliefs as far as my religious posts and the posts that speak about homosexuality, you do not have to read it. Thanks for stopping by.)

Jazz said...

Okay so I know it's probably not so funny to you, cause it's happening to you, but that was one funny story! lol.

And I NEVER ask a woman if they are pregnant. lol, I've seen it go the wrong way to many times. Why do you think it took me FOREVER to ask my brother if he was gay? I kept just saying he's Metro, if he's gay he'll tell me. Nope not hte case. lol.

Rural Lesbian said...

I love that story! Sounds very much like the small town I live in where you know everybody and are related in some way or another.

A friend started a job last year about 20 miles where she grew up and in a different state. She has found at least 4 people there that are related to her. Plus she works with 2 guys I went to school with. Small worlds indeed.

Sandalina said...


How can you read that Arabic? lol blog is still around. It's just not linked in my profile anymore, I had a pesky poster who ruined it--I rarely update it now either, but I'm glad you keep up with yours--I am on Maternity leave now (no baby yet) and need something to read and I enjoy your posts. :)

~Deb said...

Jazz: I remember my mom telling me once that she asked a woman if she was pregnant and the woman was like, "Ohhh, no....just gained a few..." GAAAAAA!!!!!!!

Sandalina: Online translators are great, aren't they? That's too bad about your blog. I enjoyed reading you too and especially the videos you did! (ha) Too cute! Congrats on the little on on the way! You're so blessed!!! My thoughts & prayers are with you! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Charm School Reject said...

I laughed so hard at this post!

My brother is so gay he should be on the Lebanese flag....seriously.

I still can't get over how Jazz thought her brother was "metro".

I HATE when I'm deadset that someone is gay and they say no. I know they're just in denial though! haha

I work in too small of an office to keep anything private.

I can't wait for my highschool reunion so I can say "haha bitches!" to all the people who talked crap about me when I had my son.