The 9th Step

I had picked up the phone even though it was a random number because I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m conquering my (typically millennial) distaste for talking on the phone. It’s a new habit that for the most part has greatly increased the number of telemarketers I hang up on, but every once in a while it’s someone that I actually want to talk (but, let’s be honest, I would rather text that person!), so it’s not all bad. Although, if I’m being real with myself, my newfound commitment to picking up the phone isn’t something that I’m really breaking even on, it’s just…what it is.

On this particular occasion, picking up the phone did not greatly increase my resolve to continue picking up the phone.

“Hey, it’s ****.”

Oh, fuck. That’s right, my old boss from that bar I worked at a few years ago. You know, the one who sexually harassed me. Or – I’m sorry, I know that’s pretty vague because that could describe most of my bosses, but, hey, it’s my fault for only hiring a lawyer one time and not every single time something like that happened to me.

“I wanted to call to apologize for the way I treated you,” he said.

As I sat on the edge of my bed, all I could think was, “I do not want to talk to this person right now.” So I did my best to get to the part where I hang up the phone without actually just straight up hanging up on him. I knew what this was – the Brett Kavanaugh hearing had been on the news just yesterday, and the mood around sexual harassment was tense.

I did not want to relive this shit. I know that was my opportunity to scream obscenities or say something sharp and cutting. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to get on with the rest of my day and the rest of my life, just like I did the day that I quit working for him years ago. And what a good job of getting on with my life I had done – it occurred to me that perhaps this is some sort of AA 9th step “make amends” thing that I am being subjected to, which, well, cool, but also: I am doing waaaay better than I was back when all that shit went down. In fact, I’m proud to say that getting sexually harassed (which, to be specific, was getting cornered by my boss while he was high on drugs and him trying to kiss and hug me and propositioning me for sex) did not hinder my ambition in this industry. If anything, knowing that creeps like that were running the show inspired me to make a power grab of my own and try to stop that shit.

But I didn’t want to say that to him. I hadn’t thought about him in years, and I certainly didn’t want to think about him any more than I had to beyond that awkward phone call. I realized: I’ve gotten my revenge. I’m more successful than he is.

I know I should say something tritely sentimental like, “I’m glad he’s in recovery,” but, again, I don’t really give a shit. Let’s be real: just because someone has quit drinking and drugging doesn’t mean that they’ve quit sexually harassing people.

So I accepted the apology, hung up the phone, and didn’t think about it too much more after that.

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