Friday, September 17, 2010

Overheard at the office...

It's no secret that I'm a morning person. I like to take advantage of this flaw--strike that: charming trait-- by getting to work pretty early. Lately, I've gotten here as the janitor makes the rounds vacuuming or emptying garbage. This has led to some fairly awkward conversations.

Conversation #1 (two weeks ago-ish):

Scene - Early in the morning, in the office kitchen, waiting for my morning oatmeal to cook for 80 seconds in the microwave (instant, they say? I don't think so...).

So what do you do here?

Me: Oh, we do research administration, making sure studies are safe for people. (A short, bare bones description of what I do...)

Him: That sounds cool. Do you like it?

Me: Yeah, it's fun. I like the people I work with, which makes it better.


Me: you like it here? (Thinking: "Really, Annie? You couldn't have thought of a better question than that? He's cleaning toilets and mopping floors...")

Him: Well, this is just sort of an inbetween thing...I have a BS degree, but I made some bad mistakes, and now I've just got to work some things off.

Me: Oh, I know how that goes... (In my head: "Do you know how it goes, Annie? DO YOU?!?")

Luckily, at this point, my oatmeal was done, so I bade him good day and speed-walked to my desk. It was harmless enough, as conversations go, but I felt like a bumbling mess, and the whole thing made me a bit uneasy.

Conversation #2 (this morning):

Scene - I am at my desk, starting to pull up work; we've just said pleasant good mornings in the kitchen, per usual. Right after my male co-worker left the room to talk to his wife on the phone for a few minutes, the janitor made his entrance to take out the garbage in our offices.

Him: So, how old are you?

Me: Twenty-seven.

Him: And you're not married? (Keep in mind, we have never before discussed my marital status...)

Me: Nope, it just hasn't happened for me yet.

Him: That biological clock of yours must be ticking...

Me: I'd be ok if it comes down to it and I don't have kids of my own.

Him: Yeah, I'm guessing they're not all they're cracked up to be.

Me: Haha...I'm content to sugar up my nieces and nephews and then send them on home to their parents. I get to sleep through the night and not have to change diapers. Best of both worlds.

Him: So I'm guessing you grew up in an LDS family?

Me: Yep.

Him: I bet you get a lot of pressure from your parents to get married.

Me: (Thinking: "Where is this conversation GOING?!"), yeah, but I tell them to back off when I need to.

Him: Yeah, you've got plenty of time.

Me: Yeah, I was engaged for a bit, and that was a bad situation, so I tell them that I'd rather be alone than in a bad situation like that.

Him: Yeah, definitely. I just noticed you don't have a ring on...

By this point, he was done taking out the garbages and a different one of my co-workers had walked in (mercifully!), so he was on his way out the door.

These are not things I like to discuss with maintenance staff. Maintenance staff with an odd resemblance to James Hetfield from Metallica.

When I told my co-worker the conversation that had just taken place, he chimed in, "I could tell his boss to get him to stop talking to you." Well, I don't want to hurt the guy's feelings, and I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm "creeped out" by him, but really? Your pleasant conversation skills could certainly use some honing, buddy.


Blogger Sharolyn Gabbitas said...

Strange. I didn't know that "working off" bad behavior would get you a corporate office janitorial job nowadays... I mean, I've seen them cleaning up on the highways in their orange jumpsuits... I wonder which policy maker started this program...

September 18, 2010 at 1:35 AM


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