New York Billboard

A long time ago in a land far away - and in fact in another lifetime within a lifetime, there was an about 2 year period in my life full of coincidences and amazing awakening experiences that seemed to happen just about anywhere. At some point I was riding in a New York bus towards Manhattan. My hostess and I had gotten up early and were taking a week-long class there - taking the bus. That morning, looking out the right side of the window, I noticed a huge billboard in the distance... the billboard said, broadcast, shouted.....




....and the echo was: remember that.

At the time server to me was someone who serves, and so - gossip was something servers don't do. Of course the billboard people and computer company must mean something different. But ok, I got the message. It struck me as so alive, so true, as a warning, admonition and I wondered: What? Wow! It was amazing. It was REAL. But why? I did not gossip, as hard as I tried to come up with an example.
Much much later I thought about that and my upbringing, which did not include gossip. It just wasn't done at my house. Other things might have been less than ideal, but gossip we did not do. Pointing with fingers to others was against the law, calling other people names was a criminal offense, or so we kids had been told. Was there an occasional remark about others? Sure, I remember my dad at the kitchen table once saying 3 word describing someone I did not know in unfavorable terms...but then he caught himself, was quiet, no further talking about that, even though there was obviously more, but there was no gossip. And I did not gossip and was unaware of having been gossiped about all through school, medical school and medical training and even jobs. This however, as I now reflect, might have been due to my ignorance and unawareness. Too profound a lack of social savy to notice. In any case, it was a very striking message. I had witnessed gossip once during a trip to Florida about 4 years earlier. A woman was talking about someone else and remember to this day thinking: why is she saying that? I thought it was weird. I didn't get it, and I also thought: that is what these kind of people do. I did not dislike her, just noticed she was doing something that was different and that I did not want to participate in. That is my first conscious awareness of gossip.

Since then I have experienced gossip as one of the most cruel things that can be done to a someone. I have now also gossiped and it's a trap, once engaged with company who does, that is almost impossible to escape. Yes, gossip is one of the most cruel and destructive things you can do to someone. Oh, I just said that? So there it was again. I also know that the destruction works even if the one you talk about never finds out. Maybe it took being a "gossip virgin" to experience the full destructive force of it and possibly later be able to gather enough will to get back on track in a world full of gossip.

So tonight, with tears in my eyes, I am looking out the bus window at the billboard going by: SERVERS DON'T GOSSIP....
and I understand better now.