Friday, September 16, 2011


Tonight I called one of my former colleagues at home. She's got friends visiting Gloucester and, since she lives in North Reading (also on the north shore of MA, for those of you who are not from around here) I didn't know if she was staying with her friends who were visiting or staying at home and seeing them during the day. Her husband answered the phone. Yes, she had decamped to Gloucester to hang out with her Besties--she was having a Women's Weekend Away and Away means Away.

I talked to her husband, who I had missed talking to since my colleague left the organization, for a few minutes about work and how his oldest son had gone away to school. It was a good conversation in fact. I said I was wicked busy and he asked whether it was the good kind of busy ("yay! I have projects! they are fun! I'm getting help from other people!") or the bad kind "It's killing me me. I can see the end of my rope just barely because it's half a mile behind me.") He's an engineer--therefore he understands both kinds of busy.

Then I called my friend to recommend restaurants in Gloucester. I figured it would be easier than texting her, but also, after talking to her husband I realized that it would be nice to actually talk with her. I missed her.

We talked for a few minutes. She told me about where she was staying and took my recommendations of where to eat and shop and then she had to go to dinner.

Twas lovely. I had a happy glow in my stomach because there were people who were happy to talk with me on the phone (even if the cell phone reception in my apartment sucks.)

Here's the problem-by tomorrow morning I'll be obsessing over those conversations. Did I say the wrong thing? Were they just humoring me by taking my call? I could feel the obsessive worrying start, which is part of why I'm writing this.

I said out-loud to my apartment "What will it take for you Cantabridgienne for you to accept that..." I wasn't sure what came next. That it's okay for me to call my former co-worker and her husband (with whom I had gotten on well)? That people might be okay with talking to me on the phone? That if I was interrupting something they wouldn't *answer* the phone?

Hell, the husband actually called *me* back. If he didn't want to speak with me he wouldn't have done that--right?

I asked myself this question because I'm tired of being afraid of people. It really is tiring being so very anxious. While many of my metaphors and similes are computer related (i.e. "I feel like a processor.") clearly my brain is not a logic engine. People, friends, colleagues and former colleagues do in fact answer my e-mails, and agree to have lunch with me. Some of them even call me on the phone-and not just because they're having trouble installing Adobe Acrobat.

So what does it take for me to believe that people who haven't gone to college with me, aren't related to me by blood, or doing graduate school project work with me at the moment might want be willing (happy even) to take my calls?

Does everyone have this problem? I am sure that everyone has to deal with a certain amount of awkwardness when transitioning people that they worked with and liked into friends. Some of it involves deciding whether your former colleague is still friends with you "for business reasons."

I don't actually think any of the former colleagues that I e-mail or have lunch with occasionally are friends with me for strictly business reasons. They are still friends of mine because they are nice people. They ask my advice occasionally and I ask theirs occasionally. That's what friends do.

I guess the question I really meant to ask is "What is it going to take for you Cantabrigienne to accept that you're good enough, you're smart enough and dog-gonit people like you?"

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