I was chained to my desk, spitting out mindless corporate drivel, and every few moments indulging in my usual obsessive habit of checking my email for new messages, then LJ for new posts, then AIM to see if anyone's on. And when I looked on my Yahoo account, I discovered the following message:
Don't let this be your worst nightmare! I was looking for Will to my Grace and found you! No really, I am looking for buddies for a great guy I just met. We Huter and Jay, not a couple, are going to dinner at Downcity Diner tonight at 7:30 (Wednesday) interested? Call me. Your secrets are safe with me, if mine are safe with you! EVEN AT WORK!!!
It was an email from my friend Leslie. Leslie is an attorney, and we've formed a friendship over the years. She a black woman with an attitude, very distinctive looking, with short cropped hair and thick black glasses, and a biting sense of humor that has caused some people to burst into tears. She also has a better sense of grammar than anyone I know. David thinks she's mean (and has nits with her choice in grammatical structure). I think she's swell, and have always liked her. Plus, we've always had this flirtation around my sexuality.
I called her up immediately and before I could say anything she asked, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?" I laughed and we discussed it a bit, and I told her I didn't think I could make it that night, but keep me in mind for the future.
Since then, I've thought about it, and we have traded emails, but I hadn't given it a great deal of thought.
Yesterday, I was feeling on top of the world. I had had a huge honking good time the night before. I had been expecting a date with a pilot, but wasn't really excited about his taste in date locations (Mirabar...as christopoopee says..."ugh!") and made a halfhearted attempt to find it, but after five minutes called Gil (this big strapping soccer player from Brown I've been seeing) and lined up a visit to his world of dinosaur sheets and alligator underwear. Familarity breeds...oh baby, it just BREEDS.
Anyway, I was back at my desk, feeling terrific. Joe and David were gone, had been gone for three days, and I had completed so many projects, and then I actually tackled the pit I called my desk, and I had thrown away so much crap and the area practically glowed, and there really is something to be said for getting your world in order and I felt renewed and on top of things and confident and ready to tackle anything and
My friend Jen came over to my desk. Jen's about 30, with beautiful blue eyes and brunette hair. She could be a model. She's also one of two still working there who knows everything. And she knows more than anyone.
"Guess who came to visit me today?" she asked, standing before me with her cheeks sucked in and her tongue scraping against one side--a slightly deadpan look she often assumes when she has news.
"Who?" I asked, absently glancing through a folder.
"Mark," she replied. A friend of hers. I've known him for years, but never really trusted him much. She trusts him with EVERYTHING. "Guess what he learned from Leslie?"
I placed the folder down. Oh shit. "He doesn't know--"
"He sure does," she replied. "The day that she found your profile on Match.com, the first thing she did was to call him into her office and said, 'You are not going to believe this one!'"
Well, there goes that good mood.
I guess it shouldn't have bothered me. But it did. I mean, with everyone else, I had been forthcoming with this information. But with Leslie, she had approached me--and not even in a particularly nice way. I mean, mailing a response to my Match.com profile, no matter how nice the words she wrote, was a bit in-your-face. Aha! I know your secret! You can't squirm out of this one! And also, why was she looking on Match.com for a date for a friend for that night? The whole thing seemed a bit contrived.
And then, to say "your secret is safe with me," while at the same time calling someone into your office to show them your profile. Wow. Good thing I wasn't relying on her for attorney/client privileges.
And then I thought about the evening she sent me the email. About a half an hour after that I went to see David, and he was acting a bit distracted. And he started talking about Leslie, out of the blue, and how he didn't particularly trust her. How he would never confide anything in her.
Had she told David, too? Did I have my own little one-woman PR machine spreading the word of the Lord?
I hated it. I detested the thought. Personally, I don't much care if people know, but to pass it around as if it's some dirty little secret, to press it on to the lips of your intimates as you would a hand rolled joint. To treat it as something to smirk over.
And I'm still not certain how much I want to talk about that at work, because quite frankly, it's no one's goddamned business. That's one aspect of who I am, but by far not all of what I am. I am a father, a writer, a guy who loves just one woman, a son, an actor, a singer...I'm many, many things. And at work, I only want to measured on my abilities. What I have to offer. I do not desire to be the poster child for diversity.
And I thought about her last email. She had ended it with a sentence...
"You are not alone."
Funny, she had suddenly made me feel awfully alone.