On Tuesday I was at dinner with a friend and mentioned my excitement about leaving my job. I told him that when I left the Ogden court after just 6 months, I cried, my co-workers cried, they took me to a goodbye lunch, and all that jazz. I referenced the difference in my current job. I said there are certainly people I’ll miss, but generally no one at the court knows who I am. This isn’t a self-pity moment; it’s just the way it is. It’s a big place with lots of employees and I’m anti-social. That all adds up to remaining anonymous.
Yesterday afternoon I was walking down the hall and one of the Criminal clerks stopped me and said, “Has Gwen talked to you?” I said, “No...” And she replied, “Do you have the list?” Huh? “What list?” “The list for tomorrow. We’re changing what we’re bringing and were told you had the list.” I was confused but trying to catch up. I pointed to my supervisor’s office (my supervisor is also named Wendy) and said, “Maybe try that Wendy.” “Isn’t the potluck for Wendy (Last name)’s birthday?” “I’m sorry; I really don’t know...” And she went on her way. Meanwhile I began to piece things together. Wendy’s birthday was in April. If we were throwing a party for that other Wendy, my boss, wouldn’t someone have told me and asked me to bring something? Could the birthday story have been a cover-up once the clerk realized her mistake?
When I got on the elevator to come into work this morning, everyone I said hi to had something in their hands–a Crock Pot, a bag of rolls, a bowl of watermelon. Now, I don’t like to assume, but I’m also not obtuse. Suspicions were confirmed when my supervisor came to my desk this morning and said, “So I guess you know about your party.”
With the knowledge that in 3 short hours I would be the guest of honor at a potluck came a wave of self-consciousness. I know how potlucks work around here. Someone sends an email stating the reason for the potluck. Mine would have said something like, “As some of you know, Wendy Brown is leaving us to attend law school. We will have a potluck to say goodbye next Thursday in the conference room. Please let so-and-so and so-and-so know if you would like to contribute.” I figured most people had thought, “Who’s that?” and deleted the email. I grew embarrassed that my team members had gone to the trouble of organizing a party to which theirs would be the only contributions. At 11:30 they came and got me from my cubicle and told me to act surprised. Well, I didn’t have to act.