Still Life with Ex-Colleague Outside Supermarket

August 16, 2007 at 4:26 pm 5 comments

If I were a credulous sort, I’d class the dream I had last night about absent colleagues as prophetic (rather than pathetic, as I do now). Going down to the supermarket today, I ran into one of my colleagues. Not literally, of course. She was standing outside the supermarket with her boyfriend, who was unlocking his bike. I wasn’t sure it was her at first (or I’d have probably turned around and ran away, like the coward I am); by the time I’d acheived an accurate identification, it was too late. So I mentally prepared for the ordeal of saying hello, asking how people at work were, fielding questions about my own health “I went mad. Still am. Still they say a change is as good as a rest…”

So I was more than a little annoyed when she turned away from me as I got close enough for the whole exchange of pleasantaries. She saw me, recognised me, then decided to completely ignore me.

Ouch.

It’s been eight months and talking to a potentially mental ex-colleague probably isn’t her idea of fun, but still… we worked together for a year and knew each other reasonably well. I mean, if she still works there, she could have got some great gossip to share, but actually having to talk to me isn’t worth it, apparently.

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incapacity / dreams / income support AstraZeneca and Wikipedia: More Edits Uncovered

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edelweiss  |  August 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    This happens to me all the time … being blanked. I’ve never knowingly blanked anyone in my life, so I find it really hard to understand why someone would want to. I mean, it is always going to hurt the other person, isn’t it? So is it malice, or self-obsession to the point of blindness, or fear, or depression. Whatever, I think it is her (their) problem. I just hope that I haven’t unwittingly caused the same offence to someone … I probably have.

    Most recently it happened when the senior partner of my old firm blanked me. I worked with him for eight years, was a partner with him for four of those years, have known him for more than twenty, he came to my wedding, gave us the beautiful fireplace that graces our sitting room, and (though he doesn’t know it) he is (was?) one of my three heroes. He walked straight past me. Admittedly, I haven’t worked at the firm for nearly fifteen years … but still. Boy, that really hurt. Still, it was him, not me. And her, not you.

  • 2. Edelweiss  |  August 17, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry, just remembered I forgot the link …

    http://www.covlaw.org.uk/welfare/leaflets/leaflet14.html

  • 3. eleanor  |  August 17, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    You have to remember that people have limited attention capacities for responding to the world around them, perhaps she was in a trance and considering something else on her mind like thinking about something her boyfriend had just said, or that you were the last person she expected to see so she didn’t actually recognise you and just looked straight through you. I do this all the time to people and it’s not because I’m deliberately trying to offend them, it’s pure daydreaming and having my attention on something else on my part. Consider the myriad of other possibilies than thinking it was her deliberatly snubbing you.

    and Edelweiss, it’s often the case that it’s more often the people who are ‘self-obsessed to the point of blindness’ who are more likely to imagine they are being blanked!!! Fear and depression don’t come into it, it’s a matter of where your attention happens to be directed at the time.

    Chimp – I really like your post on classifying mental illnesses, would you mind if I feature it on the MindFields blog?

  • 4. experimental chimp  |  August 17, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    No, I’m fairly sure it was intentional. There was eye contact. She recognised me, then purposefully looked in the opposite direction. I’m sure she had reasons, but it still sucked.

    Eleanor: Feel free.

  • 5. anonymous mom  |  August 17, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    sorry to say, i do that to people. often i’m depressed and don’t want to fake enthusiasm and endure a conversation. sometimes it’s someone i never really liked and don’t really want to pretend to like just because i haven’t seen them in 20 years.

    i’ll bet if you think about it, you would remember that you’ve done that to people too.

    for me, sometimes other people are just too much to deal with.

    it was probably her and not you, but that’s small consolation i know.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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