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A co-worker was found dead in his house a week-and-a-half ago. It was shocking news, as he was fairly young, active, and had no known health problems. A lot of people in our office were very upset. A grief counselor was brought in for people who wanted to talk.

The dead co-worker had started in the office around the same time I did--about eleven years ago. We saw each other almost every day but never really talked to each other about things outside business. My feelings toward him--like those toward most of the people in our office--were neutral. But I do feel bad for his family and for my co-workers who were close to him.

Anyway, our office rented out a bar to have a memorial for the dead co-worker after work last night. I did not go. Being socially awkward and reserved, I have consistenly avoided outside functions all these years. But, today, I detected a negative vibe from some of my co-workers. I think some are upset that I didn't attend the memorial. I'm not sure why my absence would bother them so much, but I still feel a little bad about not attending ("How come YOU weren't there?"). And I would have felt just as awkward if I HAD gone ("What are YOU doing here?"). So, yeah, fuck me.

These are strange situations. About 300 people work in our building. There are some people there who I intensely adore. But I can't be expected to have a motherfucking rapport with every single goddamn person, can I? Grief can be tribalistic. You become suspect if you don't share the same level of emotion experienced by the others. I've experienced more grief for some who have left our office and are still alive. But, to me, it's like they're dead, because I really enjoyed seeing them every day but have no contact with them now and will probably never see them again. And I will sometimes think of them and wonder whatever became of them. But I guess my quiet affection for these individuals is nothing compared to what everyone feels for our dead co-worker (I won't even go into how some people seem to be competitive with their grief, wanting to be seen as more "struck" and "devastated" than others).

No matter what, I always seem to make the wrong decision. I'm just glad the wrong decisions I make are not as wrong as the others I COULD have made. I resent anyone who feels their emotions give them the right to make a claim on me.

If you think I'm a cold, heartless, selfish bastard--then you should be grateful for the distance between us. I sure am.

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