Thursday, September 21, 2006

To bitch or not to bitch.

So there is this woman I work with, who many people say is a bitch. I thought it was because she was somewhat reserved, spoke in a nasally voice (which comes across as condescending), and, yes, can't help but hide her feelings of displeasure with her facial expressions. But I have always gotten along with her, even though she's been excessively vocal about how much she hates my boss. I've even been "in the middle" of heated email exchanges between them, wherein she is always on the attack and he ignores her. I just have tried to stay out of it, as I have to work with her and for the most part have had no personal issues with her.

And then, last night. Actually, this happened once before in conversation and it angered me but I forgot about it. I'd mentioned to her that one of my ancestors was an original settler of New York City and there is a statue in his honor in Battery Park, and she said, so why don't you live in the city? Because in her mind, Brooklyn isn't. I hate that kind of elitist narrow-minded thought. NYC is what it is because of the strength of its boroughs, and many of us choose to live in them because we love them. We prefer them. Seriously, there are few neighborhoods in Manhattan I'd choose over mine, even if money were not an issue. (The fact that it is, that some of the places I'd love to live in are not financially feasible to me - or, frankly for her - just makes it easier for me to love living where I do.)

So I'd forgotten about that exchange and then she brought it up again, over dinner, in front of a colleague from another state, answering a question with that she lives in the city, but I don't. I was furious. Then she proceeded to tell the other person how great her neighborhood is, as if to prove how superior it is. I would interject comments about Brooklyn (brownstones? yes, I live in Brownstone Brooklyn, etc.) and she just sneered at me. Finally I turned away and said I was really offended and refused to listen to her rudeness. I proceeded to talk to the person on the other side of me, still bristling of course.

I can't stop people from having opinions, even if it's sad that a person can make a judgment based on limited experience (because of course, she's never even been to my neighborhood.) I know there are many people who have that Manhattan-centric vibe. Fine. But to behave like an ass about it is insane. She's a lot younger than me, so maybe it's immaturity, but I think when you realize that something you're saying is offending someone, you change the channel. Or you really are just doing it to be a bitch. How fun is it to see me get all worked up? Did she pull wings off flies as a kid?

Later, as the wine continued to flow, she went off into a long tirade about how much she hates another co-worker, who happened to be sitting just down the table, and, as I could see from my vantage point, was clearly able to hear her. I decided it wasn't my place to "warn" her that he could hear.


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