30 July, 2012

A Woman and a Sign

Take a quick snap shot of the news and the happenings in a life in any given day.
We are all busy; there is a lot going on; and, there are so many work related, family related, or world/politically related things we can discuss. Last week, in my office, the primary topic of conversation surrounded a woman with a sign.
E-mail buzzed through the ether and chatter resounded through the halls as we pondered the situation surrounding a woman with a sign. For two mornings, this woman stood just beyond the office grounds holding a sign reporting to the world that her husband had an affair with a coworker.
The result?
Men throughout the building called home to ensure that it was not their wife.
People started calling the woman with the sign "crazy."
And those who knew the younger woman involved reported that the man had said his wife was crazy and that he was getting a divorce.
And people who didn't know the involved parties were interested in names.
There is nothing that gets people's attention more than a mystery to be solved, information to be uncovered, and sex. The woman with the sign offered all three.
I do not know the actual story behind this woman or what drove her to take up sign and stand by the road for two mornings greeting her husband's coworkers with news that they most likely already knew.
I do not believe that she was or is crazy. Whatever happened was something that drove her to take action. Perhaps, in her own way, to stand up and say this is the truth and this behavior is not acceptable.
She felt she had to do "something."
Whether or not we understand her choices or agree with them is not the point.
She felt she had to take action. Even though this action might not make sense to a large percentage of those who observed it, for her, it might have been the only thing she thought could result in compassion or understanding of what she experienced.
Several aspects of this caught my attention -
The focus on the woman with the sign - She was crazy. No one was really talking about the older man that stepped out with his younger coworker. Everyone was talking about the woman with the sign. The latest study I read said that about 70% of men cheat. This high number leaves me to wonder if society accepts this and just turns the other way or pretends that it isn't the case? or maybe we have decided that it is okay in action but we profess a great dislike for anything of the sort? And does the responsibility for the behavior always lie with the women involved?
The lack of compassion in conversations was striking. I am not a huge fan of airing dirty laundry in public settings because no one can even begin to grasp the dynamics of a relationship unless they are an involved party. All three of these people played a role; each (including the man) is accountable for the choices and the situation that evolved. A friend of mine wanted to take breakfast to the woman with the sign demonstrating that she was not alone because there are times in our lives (and we have each had them) when we might engage in an activity that would, in other times, never cross our minds. Crazy or sane, the woman was driven to act; and that action is one that several of us could view with compassion.
Additionally, the number of men who heard the story and called to ensure it wasn't their wife? This activity alone leaves me to think that 70% of men might, indeed, cheat.
I am not sure what happened to the woman or her sign. I don't know what happened within the walls of the office as a result of her action. Like many others, i would be interested in knowing what drove the woman with the sign to take up her post. Then again, maybe it is a situation that many of us have experienced in one way or another.
One of my favorite sayings is "Crazy people make sane people crazy." I have read it several times in different books but do not know its origin. But I know the feeling of finding oneself sliding down the rabbit hole and feeling the whole world take on different shapes, sizes, and styles... the reality of having one person shape shift before your eyes and work, somewhat successfully, to distort truth into fiction.
Trauma, stress, the recognition that your reality is pure fiction and illusion... a moment of crazy is born in the most sane person.
My heart goes out to all three adults involved and all of their children.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

What you wrote about those moments we all have had, doing something we never would've imagined prior? So true. I feel for all the people in those situations, who've been driven to the point of bad decisions, or "crazy" reactions.
And, in all reality, that particular reaction though unusual, was not really as crazy as most we hear about by a long shot.