Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Business Trips And Uncomfortable Conversations


Last week my job sent me on a short trip to San Diego for some ‘Focus Group Testing’. This is when they basically bring in kids and we sit behind a two-way glass (eating fancy food and drinks) and a moderator talks/shows stuff to the kids getting their opinions while the parents are outside eagerly awaiting a cool $90. I enjoy them and these things are usually entertaining and extremely helpful (for the super secret projects that I can’t talk about or I may wake up one day in some garage in Ohio).

If you’ve ever gone on a business trip the worse part about it is sometimes the co-workers you travel with. Sometimes they’re cool, and sometimes they’re weird. And sometimes they share awkward information you don’t really want to hear or know about. This one girl (Who’s 30 - I call anybody younger than me girl for some reason) started telling me and this other dude about how she’s leaving her husband in two weeks. Say what? Talk about something I didn’t want to hear about last week (after just going through my own family restraining order drama). So I did something I normally don’t do – stayed silent and let somebody else talk (it was tough). I don’t know, usually in tough life stages like this, all somebody needs is to just talk about it without interruption and they’ll usually figure it out on their own (hey, I think I just figured out what therapist do, and they charge more…). But she kept going on and on. I felt pretty bad.

Then she started asking questions about my own marriage and the other dude’s relationship with his partner (he’s gay and lives with his partner and their 6 year-old daughter –she’s from his partner’s previous hetero-relationship…). I told her where I met my wife (in Paris) and why I knew I wanted to marry her (a whole other post), the other dude went on about his deal (which was very Jerry Springer-like except with a happier ending). She then got really quiet and didn’t talk to anybody for the rest of the trip.

I have this weird theory, and it came up again when the other guy and I were talking when this girl wasn’t around. Most women friends, co-workers, acquaintances go through this strange mid-life crisis at around 30 when their lives aren’t going the way they wanted. This girl and her husband were talking about getting pregnant for years, but she kept putting it off, making excuses like “the kitchen needs to be remodeled first”, “we need to get our furniture first”, “we need to go to Burning Man first”…and it never ended. In reality, she didn’t really want kids with him and she didn’t even know why show got married to him in the first place (Oh yeah, her sisters, friends, and parents liked him, so she thought they knew something she didn’t know yet). Ouch! We both felt really bad for this guy we never met.

In the end, my only advice to her was that if she did get back with him, don’t have kids hoping it’ll fix the marriage or make things better. I grew up in a house like that and it really, really sucked. It took years for me to repair, and in most cases children of marriages like that never get repaired, it goes on forever.

I should write fortune cookies.

13 comments:

radioactive girl said...

I think women go through some kind of midlife crisis around 30. I'm not thinking of leaving my husband but I am feeling really restless like there is something I am supposed to be doing and I'm not doing it. I have talked to a bunch of my friends because for some reason I assumed I was feeling this way because of the cancer, and found that most of my friends feel the strange unsettled-ness too. If you weren't happy with your husband, I think it would be easy to choose that as something to change to try to feel more fulfilled.

Rob Barron said...

13 46 52 10 9 3

When you write to show, you are writing to tell

Fu - the Chinese word for 'luck'

(it's a fortune cookie, get it?)

Diana said...

You're going to need really long paper to fit all that on a fortune cookie...

LOL!

She got pissed at you guys for having happy lives...she's depressed.

Anonymous said...

Man who sits on toilet high on pot.

There, see? I got mad skillz.

Heh.

As for TMI Girl, what the hell? That must have been a little embarrassing. Too sad, but I'm glad she didn't have kids. I have a friend whose mom told him, "You were only born to save my marriage, and you failed. I have no time for you."
Jeez.

junebee said...

Gee, totally unbusinesslike talk on the business trip!

InterstellarLass said...

Excellent advice for that young lady you gave.

That's my yoda impression for the day.

emma said...

that's good advice you gave the young lady, although to be fair, it sounds like she'd already made up her mind to leave her husband.

Ryan said...

Good post. I enjoyed reading it. Ah, the art of listening-- good for you. Maybe being 30+ (as I am a new inductee) has to do with really evaluating life and whether we are living a life worthwhile or just stuck somehow for whatever reason. I know that I constantly ask those questions and I think it is normal.

On marriage, it is so much easier with kids, so anyone trying to fix their marriage by having kids is in for a rude awakening. :)

Waya said...

Yeah, that was way TOO MUCH INFO (TMI). Poor girl was mad b/c you two guys have such happy lives. And all I have to say is poor hubbie. He better get out now before it gets too late. How about writing that in a fortune cookie and give it to him?

mad muthas said...

i would certainly buy your fortune cookies - what with those and my new range of extremely rude t-shirts (i'd link to this if i knew how - but it's on my blog under the entry 'the minger dynasty' - if you can be arsed to have a look), we could be as rich as mr d trump!

Ruth Dynamite said...

She who marry too soon for wrong reason need to bite tongue when working.

He who hears too much personal information from colleague should stuff mouth with fortune cookies.

You did the right thing. She probably just realized she said too much, in the wrong context, and was embarrassed.

creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

I'm feeling a little guilty today about writing about this. I went into a co-workers cube and this girl was totally crying...

All I could say was "cheer up, I have cookies in my cube!"
Then I walked away feeling like an idiot...

Mrs. Chicky said...

I had my life crisis at 27, but I'm a bit of an overachiever. And I never told my co-workers that I was leaving my husband even when we were on that business trip, drunk off our asses and hanging out in a strip club. Now that's another story for another time. :)