fredag, maj 11, 2007

Conversations with the Damned

In a former life, I worked for five years in a conventional office and grew a bit more bitter about the world day by day. Now the ghost of that person sits here and recalls, sometimes with real anger, sometimes with deserving fondness, moments from that existence.

The Damned

The communication approaches of my former co-workers were often outrageous. One of them, however, I suspect was actually a social comic planted in the office by some former intern or producer of Candid Camera.

Her deadliest approach was this: to instigate conversation, then participate in it by simply repeating a few words of what you've said and adding an acknowledging "huh."


Her: So what's cK's story?
cK: Just drinking my coffee.
Her: Drinking coffee, huh?
cK: Yep. Just getting my day going.
Her: Getting it going, huh?
cK (still trying to play it cool): Yeah, you know. A lot to do today. I--
Her: A lot to do, huh?
cK (beginning to panic): I've two articles due.
Her: Two articles, huh?

Most conversations would end when she seemed to have extracted your energy (perhaps absorbing it into her own central core for later utilization). She might then return to the beginning of things, much as comics do to tie off their sets, and say,

Her: Boy, I tell ya. Just drinking coffee.

And then she'd walk away laughing.

Now, I will say this: She was very sweet. Painfully sweet. And that's why you could tolerate it. You might do things like keep your hands on the keyboard in hopes this would sign "No time to talk" (No time to talk, huh?), but you wouldn't correct her, really. Because she was a nice person.

But that conversation style. Oy! It's well worth trying on your friends. Just see how long you can get away with it before they either clam up (having caught on) or you just start laughing.
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