Friday, November 10, 2006

What are the odds?

Two weeks ago my husband and I arranged to meet at a local restaurant for lunch. I got there first, and was shown to a table, and I sat facing the door so I could watch for the Hub. As I was seated, I realized that at the table directly behind me, also facing the door, sat a man that I used to work for (D), whom I disliked, with three women from his department. We didn't make eye contact, so I didn't speak, just sat down.

So here I am at a table alone, looking over the menu, waiting. I swear I wasn't eavesdropping on D, there was just a wash of murmured conversation all around me. But have you ever been in a place, maybe a party, where you're wool-gathering, and suddenly someone nearby speaks your name in passing and your attention zeros in on that voice? That's what happened here--D said not just my first name, but first and last names. Over the next couple of minutes as I listened, I realized what he was saying. At first I thought, he DID see me, and now he's going to say hello, and I'll have to be polite back. But actually, he was telling the women about when I worked in his department, how I had taken 3 months of leave (FMLA, actually) following a suicide attempt that put me in the ICU, and how they terminated my position the day I returned; and that in response I had filled a grievance against the department, and then proceeded to tell them how the grievance went. And the longer I listened, the angrier I got, that here was this jerk revealing confidential information to other people, just as an entertaining story! He also mentioned that now I inspect his departmental labs for safety, etc. etc. I was in a quandary sitting there, deciding what to do. They had already been served, so inevitably they would pass directly past my table as they left and D would see me, and then think, did she hear me? And I wanted to tell him Yes, I DID hear him; and I wanted him to stop before more juicy tales emerged while I sat there feeling devastated. So I turned around, leaned over to look him directly in the face. He said "Hey, there's M now!" all hearty hail-fellow-well-met. I said, "You might want to think about changing the subject right about now." He said , "Huh?" and I repeated it. Then I turned around, and signaled the Hub, who had just arrived at the door. There was freezing silence behind me, and a few minutes later they fled past our table and out.

So what are the odds that I would be seated near someone I knew, and that without my own companion to talk to, I would overhear him, 4 years after the fact, talking about me? Could he have unconsciously registered me when I was seated, and that started the train of thought? Did he CONSCIOUSLY know I was there, and start the conversation so I WOULD overhear? They say eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves, and I guess this proves that.

But yesterday, I finished the annual lab safety inspections on his department, and there are all kinds of deficiencies, some of the ones I pointed out last year still haven't been corrected, and I will bring the most egregious violations to the attention of the administration. With prejudice, I might add. Ah, payback is a bitch.....


Dawn said...

Ugh ... some people need to get a freakin life!

I HATE people like that!

Here via Blogexplosion.

alphawoman said...

Confidentail information????? I think you have grounds to make his life a living hell for some time! There must have been some reason for that totally trippy experience!