Thursday, February 10, 2011

Playing Possum

I've spent my life hiding from things. As a kid all I wanted to do was blend in. I wasn't that successful at that, but I perfected the skill of keeping myself out of harm's way for the most part - physically and emotionally. Over the years this meant stacking on a healp of weight to keep the world alway, something I'm trying my hardest to get out of the habit - it serves me no purpose any more.

While I was hiding, I also didn't have many social outlets, didn't have many friends and life was pretty miserable. Hell, I even sent myself off to the other side of the world to hide away from stuff. That lasted eight long, often wonderful, often painful years.

Staying invisible was a way of life. Thank goodness that is no longer the case.

Now, being in a place where I no longer hide away, it's strange when you find yourself "Playing Possum". Trying to make yourself invisible, unseen - or in some cases, just plain old hiding.

In one particular case now, it just has to be done.

I've talked about Eddie before. Eddie and I shared a pod. Eddie has to be one of the most irritating men on the planet. It's not that Eddie has any malice or harm in him - he's just a time waster. After spending hours with him pondering excel spreadsheets that weren't my job, nattering to him in French, which I didn't really want to do and being lectured about the evils of diet coke, non-organic food and kit kats, when I moved pods, I breathed a large sigh of relief. I'm sure my fellow workmates at Tin Can, String and Whistle did the same as they no longer had to put up with me whining about him.

When I came back from holidays last year, it was to my joy to discover that Eddie had been retrenched. Not that I wanted to see the old git in any hardship, but like me, his role was no longer there as the project wound down. No more Eddie! Yay. And there was much rejoicing.

I wish him no ill. It's just that life was a lot more peaceful without him around. Life would be free from aggravation and useless conversations - normally conducted in French.


Sitting in the open plan area of the career counselling centre yesterday, head down searching for jobs, the exclamation came.

"Pandore! Comment c'a va? Tu es la? Oh, ce n'est pas bien." Oh, la la, ce n'est pas juste..."


"Hello, Eddie."

"Mais, Pandore..."

"In English, Eddie. It's not fair to the others." Sarah, another woman doing the same as me sniggered. Noel, who was sitting at the next computer just rolled his eyes and turned up his MP3 player.

He expressed how sad it was to see me out of Tin Can, String and Whistle, which I explained to him that I saw it as a great opportunity and that I was loving the time off. I didn't really want to be rude to Eddie, but half an hour later I had to excuse myself and flee of the office. There went a productive afternoon.

Alas, Eddie's been out of work for nearly four months. He's a bit of a hard nut - not the easist person to get on with, as he genuinely is the bloke from that ad in the link. He's the podmate from hell - but at least his heart is in the right place.

Mind you, it has me playing possum at the career consultant's. I ask the receptionist if he's in the offices - if not, I rest easy. If so, I make myself scarce, normally hiding behind a pillar which shield the desk from sight.

Not so easy is passing the old place of work.

It's not that I feel I have to hide away from these people - it's one person in particular that I don't want to run into.

Thankfully, my days in this in-between jobs phase are pretty full, but I'm finding that passing by the old work place is at times necessary, especially as I walk to and from the city most days. I only drop by my old work place and keep to the lobby if I'm meeting somebody and the coffee shop on the street next door is convenient to grab a coffee on my walk home - it's on my 12 kilometre walking loop. Besides, it's nice when the guy behind the counter shouts out "Pandora Special, Long Macchiato with extra skinny milk and a sweetener." These guys were a part of my life for three years - they know how I like my coffee - and it's lovely to pop by for a quick chat.

Yet I still get a little stressed passing by. What if I run into him? He who shall not be named. In a way, my own personal Lord Voldemort. Though really in the scheme of things, it's a blessing he's no longer about the place.

In passing my old place of work, I just don't want to run into him - but I'm not going out of my way either.

It's not that I'm missing having him about. It's not that I'm harbouring a grudge against him. I was willing to work through our differences and I have apologised for my actions that caused this break in our friendship. The fact that he hasn't apologised for his end - not that he can see any reason to apologise to me - doesn't need to be pondered.

I remember on of the things he was saying to me during the fight. "Stop being positive. It will get you nowhere."

That in itself is enough to make me distance myself from him.

It seems one, or both of us will need a paradigm shift to reconnent. I tend to only see things in a positive light.

He doesn't.

So in the mean time, as I pass the Tin Can, String and Whistle office, I throw on my metaphorical invisibility cloak and keep my head held high. One day I might shrug it off.

If I only have to play possum for these two people, I'm not doing too bad.



Elisabeth said...

Playing possum is hard work and yet it can also be life saving. For me it applies to situations of shame. The full flush of cheeks, the heart palpitations ad something that says inside 'get out of here if you can, or if you can't at least hide'.

I hope it gets better for you Pand.

Kath Lockett said...

It's understandable that you'd want the cloak on when passing by Tin Can String and Whistle, regardless of Lord Voldemort dwelling inside.

Remember, though, that if he or anyone else sees you passing by they'll see a woman who is fit, strong and confident with a coffee in her hand and a cheeky gleam in her eye. In my days as a desk jockey I'd often stare outside at the people in the street five floors below and wish I was out there too.....