Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Stalking The Halls

As I'm sure you've noticed I have a number of work-related issues. Most seem to be centered around the dehumanizing public bathroom experience (I see stalls. What is this, a dairy?); but there is more. Quite alot more, actually.

The biggest seed in my watermelon lately is this: The Hallway Encounter. It's messed up.

First of all: just because cars in America travel on the right-hand side of the road; it doesn't mean you are limited to the right side of every space you occupy. Pick a hallway-side and walk down it. Left. Right. I don't care, but if one more lump of human jello plays Hallway-Chicken with me over right-of-way - I'm going to end up on the news. SO WHAT?!?!? I SOMETIMES LIKE TO WALK ON THE LEFT. COPE WITH IT.

Anyway, I PREFER to walk down the left side because everytime somebody has to scurry out of my way - it asserts my dominance. Thats right! You BETTER move! In my mind I'm always in Africa, I'm always a lion, and I'm always hungry.

In my mind I'm surrounded by this:

Unfortunately, reality looks more like this:

This is what I'm reduced to.

Good friend Hank Farmer may have said it best last weekend when he ordered two beverages (called a "BearFight"), handed one to me, then promptly turned around and chugged his. I was still standing there holding a drink when he turned back around, eyes watering, and said "What are you doing?"

Me: Sorry. I didn't realize this was a race.
Hank: Jimmy, we're men. Everything is a race.

If you're a man and you can't identify a situation in life right now wherein you're locked in combat - it's probably because you already lost.

Secondly, even jellyfish at least flap their tentacles at each other when they come into hallway-close contact. Can't you figure out a comfortable way to acknowledge that someone else is breathing your air without blabbing incoherently or running off?

Personally, I go with strong eye contact and the tight-lipped smile. It's not a grimace. It's not quite a snarl. It's the hallway man-encounter-equivalent of this:

Its mostly inscrutable, but it does convey something. It says "I know you're over there and I'm watching you carefully."

For all you runner-offers this may help. Here's what I've observed from my 10 years of corporate hallway experience:

There is no escape.

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