Work environments…can be….umm…
Not sure why exactly.
Maybe it has something to do with rainy-day-gray cubicles set up like a D – science experiment thrown together the night before the science fair? (the story of my childhood)
Or maybe it’s because you have a mess of people staring at computer screens for three years straight, so when we actually have to talk to real. live. human. beings we flash back to our middle school selves trying to ask our crush to the school dance.
Or maybe it’s because we’re inhaling coffee like elephants inhale pond-water after crossing the Sahara?
But in honor of the awkward place we call work, I’m doing a countdown of the top awkward moments called Awkward at Work.
Let’s kick off this countdown right with Number Five on the Countdown — The Post-Bathroom Handshake.
#5 The Post-Bathroom Handshake
It’s 10:30 am. Your coffee IV has been pumping since 8:00 am, with all of Starbuck’s best rushing rapidly right up to the point of no return. You feel the dam beginning to crack, so in controlled panic you stand up to go release the valve lest some innocent bystanders get drenched. The sweet anticipation of white porcelain dancing through your head like a circus bear.
Out the cubicle, passed the front desk, through the door, down the hall, to the left, through the swinging glass doors, down another short hall… hold on, for the love of God, hold on…
The bathroom door now in sight — your walk picking up to a slow canter, you reach out your hand to open bathroom-heaven, when…oh…please God...no…out walks Frank, the forty-five year old mid-manager who lords his seniority over you like your big brother did when he watched his first R rated movie.
Seriously contemplating running through Frank like you’re a bull and he’s on the streets of Pamplona, you are forced to a halt when Frank stops you with a nightmare on steroids — the extension of his right hand. His post-bathroom, where-in-hygiene-sakes-was-that-hand-five-seconds-ago, right hand!
As you grit your teeth, pinch the pee, and weigh your options, you realize this is a lose-lose-lose-lose situation.
Lose #1 – You slither past Frank and his outstretched limb, with a quick shimmy-dance and mumble of, Sorry Frank I really have to go, thus leaving his hand (and scowl) hanging there midair.
And now you’re staying late for the next five Saturdays.
Lose #2 – You extend yours and are met in return with Frank’s hand that is much-too-dry, leaving not even the faintest chance that he actually washed it. So as Frank talks about the report that he needs by Friday, hand firmly cupping yours, you imagine all the germs boarding your hand like pirates onto a French ship.
Lose # 3 – You go for the shake and are met with a hand that is way too wet – that clammy, moist kind of wet. As your hands go up and down, your mind begins to race: This is water right? Yeah this has to be water… What if this is not water? Who would do that? Oh my gosh this is not water…
Lose #4 – The handshake acts as some kind of pump, releasing a steady stream of fluid down your leg, over your shoe, and into a small puddle on the floor that neither party can take their eyes off.
Umm…if you’d excuse me Frank.
If I could just get past you.
There’s still a little more left.
Have an idea for an awkward work moment that should be on the countdown? Why not submit your idea and write for All Groan Up.