by CK Dillon · Filed Under: African American Baby Boomer Wellness
Rumors Sprout Wings
Back at campus, people I had worked with since ‘82, inched away from me in the elevator. Black, Hispanic, Asian or White, it didn’t matter.
Most of them looked the other way when I approached, concentrating on the elevator buttons like they were reading a juicy novel. It was almost comical.
Nobody ever bothered to ask what was going on with me, how I was feeling or why I looked the way I did? They preferred to whisper, stare and point. I’d heard of things like this happening, but it was always to someone else.
So-called friends were suddenly busy all the time, or they out-right disappeared. People who didn’t know me spread rumors with so much detail you’d have thought they lived with me.
One rumor that really got to me, mainly because of who started it, began to spread early on a Monday morning. I went to work early because I had a pulmonary test that afternoon.
Halfway up the sidewalk to my office a co-worker who associated with me outside of work, blocked my path and pulled me to the side.
“Hey man,” he said, punching my shoulder, “how you feelin’ today?” “I’m good bro. Thanks for asking.”
“I thought you’d wanna know the latest. People up here sayin’ you lost all that weight ’cause you smokin’, crack or somethin’.”
“Now I’m a Crack-head? Where’d you hear that b.s.?”
A woman I never would have suspected was telling my co-workers that she knew for a fact, I was on “crack.”
She claimed that she had heard it over the weekend from somebody, who’d heard it from somebody, who’d heard it from somebody, who was on crack. Not exactly the horse’s mouth.
“She don’t know me man!” I yelled, “Ain’t no end to this crap!” You can guess who was on the elevator when the doors opened. My first mind said, “confront her,” but I refused to invest any energy to rebut the woman or anybody else. Besides, like most of the others, she wouldn’t make eye contact.
People will smile in your face, while stabbing you in your back. By the time the rumor mill got up to full buzz, I had contracted everything from Aids to Zits.
One of the department officers that I reported to had heard the rumors. We’d worked together for 13 years and played racquetball together. He was a good guy.
He called me in for an “urgent” meeting and the first words he said was not hey, how are ya, or good morning. He said, “We’ve got to do something, I know you are on drugs. You smoking crack, or what?”
My dad taught me, “You won’t get stuck, if you don’t stop moving.” In my effort to keep moving, I didn’t have time to dwell in his negativity. So much for a racquetball partner.
I answered, “or what.”
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