It's end-of-quarter at work. No time to think or breathe, just work like mad until it's time to go home. Strange, though, that there's been time for three "conversations" with coworkers (and a boss) about some things that, apparently everybody knows: that [certain ethnic group] are all lazy and dirty, and [a different one] are all dangerous and scary. "They" are the reason my kid can't have a Christmas program at school; "they" are stealing our jobs; "they" ought to speak English, damn it.
The funny thing? "They" are both lazy and also job-stealing. Those others are both scary and also running the convenience store where you buy your over-priced coffee drink every morning, because it's the best you've ever had.
I don't care about your political views. (I mean that both in the kind way and in the dismissive way--don't bother trying to convert me, or even to imagine what you think I might believe, because I'm sure there's something I'm hiding in that regard.) I don't care about your gun, abortion, child-care, football, religion, or foreign aid stance. I don't care about where you came from, how much money you have, or which "we" you think you're a part of, that entitles you to refer to "them" as "they." The best that I can say is that you never really know when you're insulting something that someone else holds dear; when you have the opportunity to rant and rail or to keep a strong opinion to yourself, consider that the person to whom you're speaking may not agree with you. May in fact disagree with you. Strongly. If you're ranting to a friend and want to keep the friend, NOT ranting may be the better course, for all involved.
For what it's worth, I am more impressed by one boss, for completely tuning out of the conversation. Not one peep came from that corner during the entire inexplicable (first) conversation. And I am grateful that one coworker, for whom I have come to feel affection and care, clearly sensed me pulling away and toned the whole (second) conversation right down.
And I've utterly lost what little respect I had for one coworker, and, to an even greater degree than before, feel like the other boss and I have nothing to say to each other.
I know that every workplace has a culture, each smaller group has to find its own way, and that just because we work together, colleagues are not necessarily of like mind. I have been told that I'm unapproachable, difficult to talk to, hard to get to know, and "weird", so I don't really expect to be bosom friends with the rest of the staff. I never have, really; what friends I've made at work have been happy coincidences rather than an automatic thing.
But really, this place is very weird. Shiny & neat on the outside, but teeming with slightly off-smelly goo on the inside. I don't think this is my "forever home."
[the title quotation is by Edna St. Vincent Millay]