Dear Luv Doc,
I am several months into a new relationship with a co-worker. Although we met through work, we try to keep out business relationship strictly professional. Recently he changed jobs and moved to a different office within the company, and I have been seeing less and less of him because of it. In particular, there is one woman in his new office (his boss) who seems to be taking up a large amount of his time. Even though she is married, she clearly has a crush on him and flirts with him all the time. Three nights last week he was at the office extra late working on a “project,” but I can’t help but think he might be messing around with his boss. Should I call him on it?
—Need to Know
Looks like you have all the signs of an illicit office affair, albeit with none of the evidence. Sometimes what can seem like evidence is really just your mind realigning the facts to fit your mental predisposition. Careful there. You could be wrong. Sometimes the facts can be dead wrong.
I’ll give you a great example. About twice a week I ride my bike down to the local university gym to play basketball. I am no Bron Bron, but I like to play and basketball for me is a much less torturous form of exercise than jogging or swimming or doing hot yoga.
Anyway, I get really sweaty when I play, and it’s really difficult to park at the university, so I ride my bike. It takes about 15 minutes, and it helps me warm up/cool down for the games.
One mid-December day when nearly all the students had gone home for break, I was riding through campus on one of the sidewalks, and I came up on a good-sized squirrel. Knowing that squirrels traditionally like to wait until the last minute and then dash out of harm’s way, I held my course. Initially the squirrel dashed safely to the right, but for some insane reason it instantly changed course and ran back to the left. I ran straight over its back with both tires before I could bring the bike to a halt.
I turned around to a heartbreaking sight: the squirrel lay on its stomach, pancaked against the pavement, clearly paralyzed from a broken spine and panting in shallow breaths. It seemed to be in pain.
I decided that the only humane thing to do would be to euthanize it, but I didn’t have any implements of quick, easy, painless death at my disposal. I looked around and spotted a large stone in a drainage ditch near the sideway. The stone was fairly heavy and had a nice edge that seemed ideal for a mercy killing. I picked it up and walked over to the squirrel. He lay exactly as I had left him, still panting in short breaths. I got down on my knees and, holding the stone with both hands, made a couple of practice swings so I could make sure that I would hit the squirrel precisely at the base of his skull and both crush it and sever his spine in one single blow.
It took me a very long time to summon the courage—dare I say humanity—to finally do the deed, but at last I lifted the stone high, brought it down with as much force as I possibly could, and hit the squirrel exactly where I had meant to.
To my horror, instead of the nice, clean kill I had envisioned, the squirrel’s body flopped around in nervous shock, spraying blood from the new wound in every direction.
It was just at this moment when I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked behind me to see an old gentleman, probably a professor, walking up behind. When he saw what he thought was going on, he gave me a wide berth as he silently walked by (or should I say around) me, a horrified expression affixed to his face.
I don’t know what exactly was going through his mind at that moment, but judging by the look on his face, it probably wasn’t good. He looked like he had stumbled into Jack the Ripper in a dark alley in London.
Here is what I do know: he did not have the full story. He did not know the heroic effort I had made to ease that poor squirrel’s last moment. He did not have all the facts at his disposal. All he knew was that he had walked up on a blood-splattered man in basketball shorts and a sleeveless shirt (yes, sleeveless—December in Austin can be downright hot) who was bashing a squirrel’s brains out with a large rock.
I am sure in his mind that was all he felt he needed to know. But was it? He could have maybe asked, “Hello, young sir! Could you please tell me why you’re bashing in that squirrel’s head with a large stone?” I doubt the answer would have been any less troubling, but he would have at least had my side of the story and maybe he wouldn’t have lost sleep that night wondering whether on his way home from work he had actually seen a monster.
So the reason I made you sit through that story is to help you understand the dangers of rushing to judgment. I suggest you actually talk to your boyfriend and at the very least get his side of the story. He might still turn out to be the bad guy you fear he may be, but he also might be a hero.