You turn off of the main hallway of your workplace and head down cubicle-row.
You pass the nail clipper unseen. In itself, this is quite a feat since she makes it her job to know everyone’s business.
You jump as the nose honker lets out a tremendous blow as you walk by. “Hmm, must be allergy season”, you think but quicken your pace anyway just in case that cloud around him is germs and not pollen.
You come to her cubicle, prepared to ask her the question you’ve been meaning to ask all morning and just didn’t get out of your chair for. Procrastinator. As you get a good view of her cubicle, you notice that she is still eating, the half-full bowl sitting between her and the keyboard. It is only 1:10 pm after all and she often works out at lunch.
a) Not say anything and keep walking, thinking to yourself that you’ll come back in 15 minutes. It’s not that important anyway.
b) Say, “Knock knock” (which alone should be punishable. If you’re going to knock … KNOCK! Don’t say the word “knock”, moron!), enter the cubicle, and sit down in the spare chair before she can reply. The latest mouthful of her lunch has paused halfway between bowl and mouth as she eyes you with a look that says, “Hey dufus, what is it about this that says this is a good time?”.
And then you say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m interrupting your lunch” with a stupid grin on your face, to which she replies, “uh… yeah” in a tone that very clearly says, “what gave it away, dumb-ass”. You decide to interpret this as a go signal instead of the intended, “Go away until I’m finished, idiot stick… I didn’t hang around and watch you eat lunch”.
She puts her fork down and very deliberately shoves the bowl of food away from her as you talk … not for a couple of minutes but for ten frigging minutes. And not just about the original question that might have been excusable. No, you delve into details that go deep into the project that is triggering the question and have the endearing quality of saying the same thing at least three times over in one conversation.
Oh, it might look like she’s listening but that glaze you see in her eyes is her honing her four-letter vocabulary, applying every word to you. And that little spark of amusement in her eye? When you think she’s actually listening to you say the same thing for the fourth time? That’s just when she finds one of those four-letter words that fits.
A tip to the new guy at the office: Choosing b is not how you get on my good side. It is true what they say about first impressions and you’ve got an uphill journey ahead of you.
To old co-workers that do the same thing: You might want to read the book 101 Common Sense Social Skills That Every Geek Must Know! It’s a must read.