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Does the Public Have Any Rights Regarding Your Life

25 Jun

“Tell your husband to be nice to mine, he doesn’t know anyone.” I said lightly and gave her a big smile. She returned the smile, and let out a small laugh. I left the office and headed to the teacher’s room to make a coffee. The secretary followed in soon after,

“Did she say her husband was coming?” she looked at me intently. I shrugged a little bewildered.

“I just assumed so, she didn’t say otherwise.”

“Well, that would be interesting,” she said slowly drawing imaginary lines on the table with her fingers. I measured my coffee.

“Huh?” The secretary looked at me closely again,

“You didn’t hear anything?”

“Hear what?” I poured in ample sugar.

“According to rumors for a while,” she paused, not for effect, but with difficulty, “she’s divorced.”

“What?” was my dumb response and suddenly felt terribly foolish. Her wedding, little over a year ago, flashed across my mind. “Nobody tells me anything!”

I didn’t drink my coffee.

Come the Shabbaton, the teacher assumed (correctly) that I had been apprised of her circumstances and made veiled references to it at times. I just nodded and said nothing

Whatever.

 

But I wonder, should someone have said something? I didn’t have to make an insensitive comment to her, had I known. Or maybe she’s rather deal with the in-sensitiveness, than the invasion of privacy.

I know there are things I’ve experienced that I don’t care to share. And when someone mentions similar circumstance I act like I know nothing of the sort. It’s my life to own, my story to tell, or not.

But but, is there an achrayis and obligation not to put people in uncomfortable situations.

“We were due the same time, what’s your baby up to?

Crickets

“When’s your daughter’s wedding, she looked so radiant at the vort?”

Crickets

“Tell your husband to me nice to mine – he doesn’t know anyone”

Crickets                and a laugh.

There are some things that can be tucked away and denied forever, others not. And for the latter, should others subtley inform people when they are getting close enough, or is a life private and only the owner can disclose its contents?

I’m leaning heavily toward the latter, but I felt so awful about my comments, it’s lending some credence to the former. I can’t really make it all out. I think I’ll just blame it all on the secretary.

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2 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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2 responses to “Does the Public Have Any Rights Regarding Your Life

  1. Chay

    June 26, 2014 at 7:32 am

    So true… But I’d choose privacy over sensitivity unless I shared it on my own…

     
  2. Princess Lea

    June 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I had been sitting next to a mother of an engaged girl a few years ago, and asked her, to show polite interest, when the wedding is. She enthusiastically went into detail, halls, sheva brachos, the works. That wedding never was. (The girl is re-engaged now).

    Everything was seemingly honky-dory then, but I still feel bad. Now I don’t say anything unless they bring it up first, and even then I step into it.

    Of course you would think she was married; it’s a perfectly reasonable assumption. I’m also for blaming the secretary.

    A person is entitled to privacy, we say. But then it can’t be helped if others, thinking they are being sensitive and friendly, are innocently doing the opposite.

    We have a neighbor we aren’t particularly friendly with, just bumping into her, in the first minute, she announces her daughter’s messy divorce. A closer friend of Ma’s tells her, clearly and explicitly and firmly, about her daughter’s divorce, but nothing else after, even regarding the daughter’s remarriage.

    It’s hard for them to do so, telling the world about their pain, I know, but they know what can happen. The problem for this girl is that she can’t quite announce her own divorce, but then maybe she should have had the secretary subtly spread around that information to avoid such gaffs. But then there might be the person who thinks they are being kind by coming over with the pity-face and saying, “I’m there for you.”

    Horns of a dilemma, methinks.

     

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