Last night I went to a big dinner dance event for the college staff. It's the union's 40th anniversary and they really went to town, getting a live band and fabulous catering for a $10 ticket.
The place (a curling rink) was decked out by the decorating committee and it looked gorgeous.
One of my team was already there and she had a table for my boss and I when we arrived after working all day, ready for adult beverages after a super fun day at work.
The carpet cleaners had come in on Friday and blown the fusebox so we had to turn away some testers because we couldn't get the computers going. The carpets were boggy and the place stank like a damp dog. We had to shuffle the regular tests into a hastily reconfigured space and revert to the paper version. Overall just a bitch of a day really... but we lived to tell.
So my co-worker is at the table, we sit down, my boss, bless her heart, brings me a massive G+Tonic.
An associate from another department comes in with her husband and they sit down, introductions all around with the spouse.
Then she says "Is your partner coming?" or something to that effect.
Now this is a gang with many successful long-term marriages, they've worked at the college since high school and have never known any kind of personal turbulence. Everything rosy, no major life events have disturbed their matrices if you get my gist.
My co-worker knows the whole sordid story about my disaster, we used to enjoy going to the House of Pain on our lunch breaks for tea on the patio while I lived there, and she and my boss would be happy if the x were quietly hung, drawn and quartered.
They get it.
So the Happy Associate asks this question, and after the day I've had, surrounded by all these happy smiley coupley people, I could easily have launched into the gory details.
What I said was "Uh, no, I used to have one, but not anymore. I got rid of him."
A heartbeat of a pause, the husband smiling and squirming a bit, then she says "Oh, well, we'll have to work on that."
I could see my co-worker looking at me with some small alarm, knowing I'm quite capable of spilling the shock and horror to whoever might care to know.
I just said "Uh, no."
Another heartbeat of a pause, then she says "Do you still live in that house across the road?"
"Had to get rid of that too, part of the story..."
"Um, oh, OK..."
My co-worker took over at the point with some light chitchat about the ice cream socials that now happen every year hosted by the new owner, a faculty member I sold the place to.
End of discussion.
I had two drinks and a nice dinner and rode home happy to my lovely apartment.
Interesting little foray into the World of Normal People. I wonder if my co-workers filled her in after I left, don't really care either way, but it sure is interesting to be reminded of the hell we've all survived here.
People have no fucking idea really.