Monday, April 13, 2009

3. The truth hurts (unedited)

I have been in love with somebody for the past two or three years, and it makes no sense, no sense at all.

It's hard to keep track of time, but four or five years ago a new co-worker arrived on the scene. She was barely out of college and had the personality of a sales rep, not a reporter. She would be a perfect fit for our sales staff, and would do quite well in the world of superficial broadcast news "reporters." As a matter of fact, she wound up working for a local broadcast station for more than a year.

Sometimes I think she has the I.Q. of a squirrel.

She didn't last long at my prestigious media conglomerate. She failed as a community editor and was sent packing after a few months on the job. We all thought she was borderline nuts, we really did.

But she was always friendly to everyone. She wanted to acclimate to our world, and she was friendly to me. I tried my best to be friendly to her, despite the fact we all laughed behind her back more than once. It sounds shitty, but we did, and with good reason. Working with her was at times hilarious, but it was also quite painful. Literally, it was excruciating to watch her struggle through her tenure as a community editor.

We have all laughed about her failure as a community journalist several times in the years since she passed through our lives.

But for whatever reason, I have maintained a friendship with her.

We were all warned she was getting gassed in the 24 hours preceding the unceremonious shitcanning. None of us were there when it happened that weekday afternoon. She left her personal e-mail address for another co-worker, an older woman who is perhaps the nicest person I have ever met.

That co-worker maintained correspondence with Shitcan, and gave me little updates about her life post newspaper. After a few months I decided I should send Shitcan an e-mail, letting her know we all really wanted her to succeed.

I don't think any of us were sorry to see her go, but if we'd been given a choice, our hearts were in the right place, we'd have preferred to see her succeed, not fail, regardless of how immature and superficial she was. And honestly, sometimes she seemed downright stupid.

I sent a nice e-mail to Shitcan and let her know I wished her the best, (and spoke for everyone, even if I shouldn't have,) saying we wished the best for her. Deep down, I'm sure we all did, but yeah, she has been the butt of jokes for years.

My expression of sympathy resulted in a friendship that I never bargained for. Maybe subconsciously I wanted the friendship, and more. Beats the hell out of me.

What I do know is that she reminds me of Michelle. Michelle was in ad sales at one of my previous newspapers. She was larger than life, seemingly nuts, but usually fun to be around. She was great in small doses.

Her boyfriend at the time, Lon, worked at the local radio station, doing news updates on the local AM and FM dial. He was low key, hard working and likable. He seemed like the polar opposite of Michelle, and nobody understood why he was in a relationship with Michelle.

They got married. Eventually Lon graduated from small town radio to small town television. Last I knew he was working for a small market television station. They're still married, and have kids, if I remember the story correctly.

I'm Lon. Shitcan wasn't in sales, but she's a larger-than-life personality whose world is always a silly whirlwind of activity. I'm low key.

In the years since Shitcan was kicked to the curb I have grown fond of her. Not because I love her superficial ways, immature habits or less-than-intelligent characteristics, but because despite it all, she's intelligent, determined and has managed to learn a few things along the way, the things you don't learn from a textbook.

Despite that, I have long known that our worlds would never mesh. Unlike Lon and Michelle, we'd never be able to overcome our differences. There are so many reasons we'd make a great couple, yet there are just as many reasons why we wouldn't.

She knows I think a lot of her, and I appreciate her for the right reasons. But it doesn't matter, she doesn't feel the same for me. I'm almost surprised by that, actually, given some of our past conversations.

Now our friendship is strained, and maybe it's over, and I don't care. It's probably for the better this way. But the jackass that I am wants to tell her what an idiot she is in so many ways, how I've stood by and watched her make stupid decisions in life, all the while just hoping for the best for her. I'm torn between having a bad taste in my mouth and doing unrepairable damage to what's left, if anything, of our friendship, just in the hope that she learns a thing or two from me.

If I knew that she'd learn something from my observations, I'd rather she hate me for the rest of her life. But given she doesn't respect me enough to deserve my friendship, (and she doesn't,) anything I'd say would fall on defiant ears.

So instead we'll both be left with bad tastes in our mouth, maybe never to speak again. That's probably for the best. The sooner I travel down that road, the better I'll be. I may not be truly in love with her, but there's a part of me that loves her, as irrational as it is, and she wants no part of that.

I thought she was my Michelle, but I guess I was wrong.

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