Let’s make things easier on all of us by not telling me anything May 6, 2008Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues, teen angst.
Tags: adultery, atheism, cheating, co-workers, gossip, infidelity, Kyle, money, Nikki, office, peer pressure, religion, rumors, secrets, Skeet
M’kay? Seriously, this office is TMI Central. I’m just a kid, let me flounce around in my weirdo outfits and devil-may-care grin without having the weight of your problems on my shoulders. Don’t you hate it when people tell you shit without you asking for it?
Just when I’d forgotten about my problems with Carl and Mrs. Carl (he quit, by the way — and oddly enough, I kind of miss him), Nikki comes into the picture with an issue of her own.
22-year-old Nikki (named after, yes, the song “Darling Nikki”) is the girl in your office who will stop at nothing to draw attention to herself. Some will be greatly annoyed (dude, nobody likes Nikki), while others, like me, only feel sorry for her. Just some silly girl with a histrionic personality disorder, is all. She’s essentially the office whipping girl, to the point that it drove her to tears once.
Still, it’s not like the derision is completely unfounded. Nikki would proclaim to anyone who asked that she used to model on the catwalk (still does part-time, supposedly), and everyone else would be like “…Really?” And I’d be one of those people. I’m not trying to be mean here, but Nikki, who might be model-ish from the neck down, is Broomhilda from the neck up. No kidding. She’s all splotchy and blemished and crooked-nosed, the kind of ugly that isn’t even modelesque ugly but just plain ugly ugly. She also brags about having expensive clothes, but when you ask her which outlet she got it from, she takes ten seconds to respond and then gives a wrong answer (read: she’s making it up). Nikki is the annoying kind of person who wants everyone to think she’s well-off, but it’s clear to everyone that she’s, well, not.
Let’s get one thing straight, though: unlike many of my co-workers, Nikki is not a bitch. The girl means well, she’s just a little off her rocker.
One day after hours, everyone else has gone home and it’s just me and Nikki, so I chat with her because I’m not picky about who I befriend. I’ll talk to whoever approaches me. She confessed that the pressure of everyone talking about her behind her back was really getting to her, particularly the latest gossip that she’s supposedly going out with one of our bosses, Kyle, even though he already has a girlfriend.
Now, weeks before my one-on-one with Nikki, I’d already spoken to some of my other (admittedly bitchy) officemates about her. One of them told me the whole situation, explaining that Nikki had a huge crush on Kyle and was now lying to people by claiming that they were in some secret relationship.
Back to where I left off, Nikki was like, “I can’t believe people would make up stuff like that, just for fun.” As a target of their rumor-mongering myself (I apparently have relationships with a couple of the bosses and several of my guy officemates), I just shrugged and explained that it was their nature to do that kind of thing.
Half an hour later, we’re standing outside the building, and she asked, “TA, are you good at keeping secrets?”
“I have to tell you something,” she confessed. “But you have to swear not to tell anyone.”
She got this weird expression on her face. “…It’s true.”
“Oh. But he’s not very good-looking,” I deadpanned. (He really isn’t.) “And he has a girlfriend,” I added, more serious this time.
They’d been hanging out together after their shifts every day for the past couple of weeks (which is weird, because Kyle’s girlfriend works in the same building). One day, in a nearby diner, Kyle told her that he was sensing something weird between them, so she might as well just come out with it. She admitted that she was falling for him, and Kyle replied, “What if it’s also the other way around?”
And then they’re making out in the back of his car.
And then they’re making out after every shift.
I’m just nodding as Nikki tells me all of this, but in my head I’m thinking Jesus fuck, I wish you didn’t say anything. Because this revelation completely ruined the way I saw my boss, Kyle. He and I had gotten off on the wrong foot when we first met, and I was this close to writing him off as a smug asshole, but since he was going the extra mile to be nice to me, I eventually relented about two weeks in, telling my friends, “Maybe he’s not as much of a jerk as I thought.” We’d even become friends over time.
And now this, so whenever I saw Kyle I would only see a man cheating on his girlfriend of two years with Darling Nikki, and I could not erase those grotesque mental images from my head. I know I’m being dramatic, but cheating is cheating is cheating.
I lamented this to my straight-edge skater-boi friend, Skeet, who is one of my closest friends on the floor, and he advised, “Just block it out. Pretend you never heard anything.”
“But I can’t!” I wailed. “I think too much!”
(Which, you might find, would actually be an asset if you’re a blogger.)
Of course, with thinking too much comes the eventuality of considering other options in the scenario, and I realized that it was Nikki’s word against…well, everyone else’s. When I asked Skeet who he believed in this whole thing, he said that as a friend of Kyle’s, he believed that Kyle really loved his girlfriend, and wouldn’t be the kind to do anything like this to her. It was a good enough explanation for me.
At this point, I still maintain that Kyle is my good friend, and I’m really tempted to tell him what Nikki had told me. I want to speak with him, one on one, and say, “This is what she told me. You can lie to me or tell me the truth about what’s really going on, but whatever you tell me, I will take at face value. As the truth.” Because if Nikki really is lying, I believe Kyle deserves to know.
As for Nikki, well, I’ve always been wary of her. Keep in mind that “wary” does not equal “hostile,” though. I’ve been warm to her, just as I’ve always been, but I need to be careful since she’s most probably unstable. Ever since I could remember, she’s often gravitated towards me for some reason, despite the fact that we have little in common. I suspect that she only wanted to be my friend because I hold a reputation — through no effort of my own, mind you, because I can be as street-smart as the rest of them — for being slightly better off than most of my co-workers, financially speaking (in other words, “spoiled brat”), and hanging out with me would a) make her look rich, too, to sort of her redeem her reputation for borrowing money from lots of officemates and nicking food off their plates at lunch, and b) make me her meal ticket.
After our talk, I’d offered to treat her to breakfast, because my personal rule when it comes to treating other people is to offer to those who don’t ask. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” she insisted as we walked to a table with our trays.
“It’s fine, I’m paying.”
“No, really, I have money, I’ll pay for this tomorrow.”
She never did pay me back. Readers, if ever somebody treats you, there’s no need to lie about paying that person back just because you’re trying to not look dependent. Just say “thank you.” It’s polite, and it isn’t misleading.
In fact, the following day, not only did Nikki conveniently forget to pay me back, but the first thing she said once she approached my desk was, “TA, can I borrow some money?”
So, in this whole sordid tale about lies and rumors and infidelity, I’m not so innocent myself when it comes to dishonesty. I have a few little white lies up my sleeve, too:
“Uh, sorry, I don’t have any cash on me right now.”