Friday, January 15, 2010


I work in a building with several hundred other people. I know about 45 people on my floor, either through being a part of my team, or being associated with my team in some way or another. I share a kitchen space with about 150 people who are housed in cubes in a similar area to mine on our floor. That means that I run across a fair amount of stranger-coworkers when we happen to be in the kitchen at the same time.

I tend to heat up Lean Cuisines for lunch every day, which can take me anywhere from 4 - 7 minutes, depending. So I take a book in there with me, and sit down to read while I wait for my food to cook. Yesterday, my coworker Sylvia walked in the kitchen to wash a dish, and acknowledged my tendency to be caught reading a lot lately. "You love to read, eh Faith?" Indeed I do! I told her about how Leo bought me a bunch of Charlaine Harris books for Christmas, since I loved the Sookie Stackhouse series so much, and like to take paperbacks to the gym with me as a reward to read while on a recumbant bike after I finish 30 - 40 minutes of cardio on the treadmill and elliptical. "How sweet of him!" And then she left the kitchen to return to her desk, while I continued to wait for my food to heat up before heading back to my own space. I like Sylvia, and know her relatively well for a coworker that I don't work with directly. She and I bowl together a couple of times a year for charity events the company throws, and we also admire each other's wardrobes, even though she's a tall and thin woman, and I'm more of the short, squat variety. She also uses a lotion that smells wonderful, which I really wish I could steal from her, but I don't want to seem like the creepy, stalker coworker, so I just enjoy it from afar!

Today, I was in the kitchen alone, for the most part, until a tall man I don't know came in to heat up his lunch in the other microwave I wasn't using. I had my head bent, reading a chapter I'd had to stop in the middle of yesterday afternoon and hadn't had a chance to get back to before leaving for the day.

"That part of your link?"
"I'm sorry?"
"Is that part of your link?" ::pointing at my book::
"Is it part of my leg?" I couldn't understand what the dude was saying to me, honestly.
"No, your LINK," he said slower and more clearly.
"Oh! No...I'm an admin, so I don't have anything like that to do," assuming that this guy is an engineer, and he's refering to some sort of training that I think I've heard about in passing around the office.
"Oh, yeah. You wouldn't have to do that then. Lucky!"
"Yeah, I guess so!" ::bends head to page again, and hopes the man's food heats up faster::

It's just funny to me that people who clearly aren't all that great in social situations assert themselves into a social situation that simply isn't necessary in the first place. I don't know him. He doesn't know me. We're both in the same place for literally a couple of minutes of our lives, otherwise not really crossing paths very often... (At least, I've never noticed the guy anywhere else before. I guess that's not to say he hasn't noticed me, for whatever reason.)

But seriously...why speak to the other person in that situation? And why not about something silly and easy, like the weather, or something? Why bring up some random training thing that half the people in the building don't even use? Not all of us are engineers, here. Some of us are admins, or support staff working on the financial side of things, or in marketing...

::sigh:: I like talking to strangers when I'm out in a social situation. At a party we meet at, perhaps. Or even in a bar environment, when we're watching a common game and happen to strike up a conversation about it, maybe. But when I'm in the kitchen, waiting the 5 minutes it takes to heat up my food, and am clearly engaged in a quiet, personal activity like reading? That's not the time, ok? Things can only end in awkwardness then. I fucking hate being any part of awkwardness, dammit...


faithstwin said...

Yeah, those suck. Some people just feel the need to engage someone out of being polite seeing as you are sharing the same room at the moment. I wouldn't take it any further than a meeting of eyes and a smile myself. 'Link'? Odd.

Faith said...

It's the name of a training program we have here, I think. I'm pretty sure it's all caps "LINK", but I don't know. I really don't care. Since I'm not required to involve myself with it, and all. ::shrugs::