Friday, April 21, 2006

Office Gatherings Version 2.0

I went to another office gathering tonight. This time it was the going away party for someone who believed in me. It's difficult to let this coworker go because, for once, someone -- this one -- thought I should be elevated to a position I was woefully underqualified for. But, thanks to him, I now have a mutual fund. So I'm sorry to say goodbye to him.

When I was with my coworkers tonight, I tried to be fun and talkative and brilliant. The Brooklyn Lagers helped with that (or so they would have me believe...), but when I got home via cab, all I could think about was my father. He is an amazingly social person who tells stories and mixes seven-and-sevens for churchgoers and makes everyone happy. People love to listen to him. He's a first-grade teacher, and you can tell how far along he is in the school year by how colorful and cluttered his classroom is. Each child has a special place on his ceiling for mobiles, for art projects, for drawings. It's like the American Visionary Art Museum exploded all over his walls. He tells stories in loud, nuanced voice, allowing children to get a feel for all the characters: The Whipping Boy. Harry Potter. He created church choirs from scratch. Made two bell choirs from nothing. He's Type A times twelve.

It's hard to realize that I might never be like him: Appreciated. Hard-working. An asset to a community. The Boyf isn't like that, either. So we fade into backgrounds, into bar walls, whispering to each other so we won't feel so alone. We don't have courage -- most people don't. But at these office gatherings, I still try to smile and laugh and say what comes to mind in lieu of listening to a gap in the conversation. I'm not my father. But I can try.


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