Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A tribe of one

Tonight was our 'graduation', although we are not allowed to call it that. Long story.

Anyway, I was there pretty early... as usual for me. I think I have a serious fear of showing up later than I think I should.

There early, I am able to hold the door for a fellow teacher, and even carry in a cooler for her. Good deal... I like helping my fellow instructors when I can.

Ten minutes later, I realize the cooler... and the boxes she carried... were packed with food. Maybe fifteen of my fellow instructors and staff are munching away on food brought for them, apparently to order.

Not me.

No one asked if I wanted anything.

That kind of hurt. I went and guarded the auditorium door while everyone else ate, politely chasing away early arrivals till the place was ready. Someone needed to do it, and everyone else was... eating.

For the ceremony, I simply forgot about it. Other things going on, and far more important things. Afterward, I skipped the traditional 'Instructors meet at the bar and drink while complaining about administration/students/whatever', and just headed for home.

The ride gave me time to think.

I wasn't asked if I wanted anything because they were mean, or didn't care. They simply didn't think about me. I'm not one of the tribe. I travel a different path... one that has me on the outside, looking in. Thinking back, I realize... I always have.

There's been times in my life when I seemed part of the tribe, at least in my own mind, but that always ended. It ended because it wasn't real. It was an illusion, or maybe even wishful thinking, but not real. I leave a job, and realize my 'friends' were not friends, but coworkers. The job is gone, and so are they. A relationship with a woman ends, and the tribe I thought I was part of... turns out to be vapor overnight. It was her reality, not mine.

I probe a bit, and come to a conclusion. Even as a teenager, my 'friends' called me the ghost. I would show up with no one seeing, stay in the background, and vanish without anyone noticing. It was just the way I was.

I guess it's still be the way I am.

A tribe of one.


Ted Amadeus said...

Hardly lamentable.
Used to feel terrible all the time because I wasn't considered "one of the boys" until I realized what "the boys" were in to was self-destructive, wasteful and usually wrong on other levels as well. The girls wanted "bad boy" thugs dumber than they were, so they could get knocked up and have a chump to live off of thoughtlessly for twenty years (the modern "liberated" woman knows how to play the system) with/without the inconvenience of becoming a wife.
Earl Nightingale said "a person with no sense of themselves will seek to fill that void in a group", so be glad you are a loner, with good knowledge of yourself and the wisdom to be true to it.

Crucis said...

There are more members of you tribe than you think. I'm a member too. Way back when I worked for a computer company. I was the senior tech. When layoffs came, the manager and I were laid off. We were paid more than the rest. The company admitted that was why we were let go. By cutting us, they could save the rest.

I thought I was friends with the remain seven techs but when the manager and I left, not one met us nor said goodbye on our way out.

I've been careful to realize that co-workers are just that. When you're gone, you'll be forgotten by the end of the week.

Suz said...

I prefer to be the outsider. I've learned to say the right things, so I never make anyone uncomfortable, I appear to fit in, and I genuinely like the people, but I'm not really one of them, and that's not a bad thing at all. I had lots of short term "mom-jobs" when my son was young, so I have a lot of ex-coworkers. I like them and I enjoyed working with them, but work war the main thing we ad in common.

Ami said...

My family is there, too. Every one of us, with the possible exception of my son, who seems to be a little more outgoing.

I can count my real friends on one hand. And have a couple fingers left over.

It works for me.

Am I a ghost, too?