I love this town, my town, my home; the city I chose to stay in. I don't love it for its scenic qualities, I don't love it for its urban glory or it's famed landmarks. I don't love it for its left-leaning politics or wild-eyed policies. I love it for the diversity of people and the disparity of their experience.
While I'm not necessarily a "people person," I still consider myself a social scientist. I like to experiment with action and reaction. I hate being the center of attention but I can't stand being ignored. I aspire, at the very lest, to just be acknowledged by my fellow man.
Have you ever worked with or around someone who for whatever reason, refuses to notice you? Acknowledge you? Admit that you exist and even share the same air, in the same space, in the same hallways that they roam everyday? They look at the ground when passing by, or when forced, look right through you with that million mile stare that you might have seen before on the faces of continuation high school students, homeless people, drug addicts in the midst of a fix, priests in a confessional, DMV employees, bus drivers or court bailiffs. It's all a ploy to stay sane in the face of the horrible side of humanity, a ploy I appreciate and understand when it's defense time, but in the work place it's just downright de-humanizing and hostile. It pisses me off to no end; to the point that it causes me to stare hard, smile maniacaly, to grin like a murderer serving as a pallbearer at my victims funeral. Damn it makes me mad.
So I have a particular co-worker who fits this description. We've been sharing space for over a decade at this point, and not once have I gotten a nod or a smile. Not a slight wave or a wink. Not a hello or a how are you. Not an excuse me, or a pardon. Nothing. No matter how much eye contact I make, no matter how hard I try to be the very glowing essence of pleasant, all I get is the million mile stare or the acknowledgement of her shoes existence. Hallways, lunch room, lobby, everywhere; same deal, different day. Whatever. I just keep smiling like an asshole.
Today, on my way back into the building from lunch, this person damn near knocks me down in a mad rush to escape the elevator. I mean it was close. This close. Finally, at the realization of a collision, I think for one brief second that we're about to have a moment. Maybe not the greatest way to establish a relationship, but fuck me if it isn't a start. So I see it happening, brace for the blow and smile wide; searching those vacant eyes for something, anything, anything...and then: nothing. She swerves, missing me by less than an inch, and stalks away in an angry stagger.
"Jesus Christ," I say, as I enter the elevator, now occupied by myself and a classic, stout, San Francisco Queen.
"What the fuck?"
"Did she almost run you down?" he asks in a thick, Castro Street lisp.
"It's not that," I say, "have you ever worked with someone that just refuses to admit that you exist?"
"Oh shit yes," he says, "honey, fuck that bitch, I mean for real...what a cunt."
The elevator hit's the 3rd floor and he exits, looking back at me with a wicked smile.
"Cunt," he repeats and swishes off on his merry way.
That's the moment, that's this town, that's my love. I love that guy; that queen. For a single moment in time I got what I was looking for: recognition, acknowledgement, empathy and approval. I knew it wasn't just me, I know it's probably you too. So let's all say it together: "FUCK THAT BITCH."