Were you close?
An older man who works close to my desk, who has previously been inappropriate with me, (surprise-hugged me from behind once in the lunch line,) asked when he saw the absolutely lush and gorgeous little Spring bouquet on my desk, (actual photo above,) I received from one of the teams I support administratively at my day job.
He’d first pondered, “Pretty flowers. What’s the occasion?”
“My grandmother died.”
“Oh. Not what you’d expect. Were you close?”
OMFG I had no idea what to say.
The relationship was complex, convoluted, amazing and twisted. She was a manipulative, charming woman whom I felt love from and for, but never knew how far I could trust her. A charming snake of a woman who feigned innocence so well; she won big at Black Jack regularly at Atlantic City.
So I said with limited emotion, “I’d prefer not to talk about it.”
Really, what is that question about? Will your level of empathy or sympathy match my response? Like, “Oh you were really close, I need to support you, because you’re clearly struggling,” or “Oh you weren’t really close, so I don’t need to offer you any condolences, because you’re probably glad she’s gone.” You’re trying to establish how YOU should feel about it, not how I feel about it, as IF that could be quantified. You’re actually only thinking of yourself and how you should feel.
WHAT THE ABSOLUTE F? It’s none of your goddamn business. Why would you ask that question? It’s just not even polite. I’d prefer not to talk about that, and, quite frankly, I’d prefer not to talk to you ever again. About anything. Especially not things of a personal nature such as my grandmother dying. I’M NOT TELLING YOU ABOUT THAT, Mr. Inappropriate, and if you touch me again in the lunch line, or anywhere else in this workplace, I’m reporting you to HR for sexual harassment.