Office Banter: The things you can get away with
March 2, 2012 1 Comment
You ever feel like the mere semblance of making small talk at the office is a green light to say whatever you want and not be penalized for it? Let’s be honest, the point of such discourse isn’t so much to have a thoughtful conversation but rather, it’s to show that you are acknowledging this person’s existence. Here’s an example…
About a month ago I was sitting by myself in a massive board room, you know, huge oval-shaped table, leather swivel chairs, projector screen, and of course, the proverbial framed photo of 47, middle aged, male, WASPs (ok, so maybe they aren’t all Protestant) who recently got to meet the CEO for their induction into the “Gazillion dollar club.” ANYWAY, this woman walked in and made her way towards the door at the other side of the room. Now instead of just walking to the door and turning back to throw me one of those awkward, curled-lip, raised-eyebrow, type things, she instead stops and engages me in the following conversation:
Lady: Oh! (excessive laughter) I’m so sorry, I really just…(more excessive laughter) didn’t see you in here!
Me: (Fake chuckle, extra cheesy tone, which sounds oddly sincere) It’s not a problem. I’m just sitting here by myself anyway!
Lady: Just trying to cut over to the other side of the hall you know?!
Me: Yes of course, the old shortcut maneuver, I know all about it!
Lady: (Heavy belly laughter) that’s the one! (walks out the other door)
“THE OLD SHORTCUT MANEUVER?!” WHY did I say that? And why did she think it was so funny? Ohhh yeah, I remember now, it’s because we were just acknowledging each others’ existence and it didn’t really matter what I said. Let’s take a moment to think about some of the other absurdities I could have gotten away with…
– Crossing the ole Bering Strait into the Americas huh? You little Native American, you!
– Bridge that gap girl! Or should I say, MIND it right? Hey are you British? No? See ya!
– Might as well be a leap of faith! Good luck!
– Tough move, especially in this economy!
I think that next time I’m going to shrug while shaking my head and smiling, and then say a bunch of gibberish. Bet you I get a response like “yeah, I know.” Trust me, this is no offense to the other person. When people say this stuff to me I almost always just smile back, validating their own senseless banter.