Real-Life Dialogue: Return of the Bathroom Talker

It’s been a long time since I last posted about this guy. Not that I’ve had no further interaction with him, no. It’s just that all further interaction with him has been of the same unvarying sort. Nothing new to report. And I’ve also gotten cleverer about avoiding him.

But this latest example just pushed me over the edge.

To understand what follows, you need to know that at the start of every week, for as long as I’ve worked here, I bring in a small bottle of milk which I use to flavor my tea in the morning; I stow it on a shelf on the door of the refrigerator by the coffee/hot water machine. The bottle, as it happens, holds exactly enough milk for ten cups of tea — two cups a day, five days a week. All was well until one Friday a few months ago, when I suddenly found that someone had “borrowed” a serving or two of milk from the bottle, so I didn’t have enough for that day’s tea.

It happened once, I shrugged. When it happened twice, I was forced to take radical evasive action.

To wit: I wrap my bottle of milk in a way-too-big tan plastic shopping bag — wind the bag around and around the bottle — and then secure the handle loops over the neck of the bottle. I return the bottle to the refrigerator shelf, lying on its side. Unless you unwrapped it, you’d never know what it was.

So last week, I’m dispensing hot water into my cup at the coffee machine when the Bathroom Talker (or BT) shows up. I pour the milk into the tea, and the scene unfolds from this point.

BT: YOU USE MILK.

JES: Yes.

BT: [unintelligible]

JES:Excuse me?

BT: HOW MUCH DO THEY TAKE?

JES: [thinking about this] Oh, uh, I put maybe a tablespoon—

BT: NO. HOW MUCH DO THEY TAKE?

JES: “They”?

BT: DO PEOPLE STEAL YOUR MILK?

JES: [wrapping up milk bottle, putting into refrigerator] Oh. Yeah. A couple months ago somebody started—

BT: SO HOW MUCH DO THEY TAKE?

JES: Oh, uh, well, a bottle holds exactly a week’s worth—

BT: THEY STEAL YOUR MILK?

JES: Well, yeah, that’s why I wrap it up. To hide it.

BT: YOU WRAP IT UP?

JES: Yeah. In a plastic grocery bag.

[BT stops talking, goes to refrigerator. He opens door, scans the contents, focusing especially intently on the door.]

BT: WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?

JES: […]

BT: I SAID, WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?

JES: [laughs, shakes head, rolls eyes, and walks away without replying]

 

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When Neurosis Calls

We all could use a miniature Bob Newhart in our brains…

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BlogIt

Every year around now, a large chunk of blogosphere real estate is turned over to posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, and Flickr albums about a gathering called BlogHer. As the conference title suggests, the focus in on women who blog — it’s apparently attended by a number of guys, as well — and for the several days of BlogHer, attendees take in workshops and panel discussions, attend parties, and go out with friends to take in the sights of that year’s city. (This year, earlier this month, it took place in New York City.)

I’ve never gone to BlogHer, and never expect to, although I follow and admire the bejeezus out of maybe a half-dozen of the BlogHerers (?) with wide name recognition (Maggie, The Bloggess, Kelly…) and make occasional trips through the takeout windows of another half-dozen or so.

There are a few reasons while I’ll probably never get there:

[Read more…]

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The Bathroom Talker

Cartoon by Daniel Beyer, from The New Yorker (click for original)

This is almost, but not quite, a tale for the Ear Job series of posts. But no, this is a tale of… let’s call it social maladjustment. Someone else’s. Or mine. Or both.

The first words exchanged between this guy at work and me were simple, even innocent: “I said, where d’ya get your hair cut?”

But the context for these words was not simple. They were uttered by him, to me, and they were his third or fourth attempt to get a response out of me. And they were uttered — as were all the previous attempts, one after another, in the space of about a minute — as we stood at adjacent urinals in the men’s room.

[Read more…]

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Reassurance. Maybe.

Regarding the entry I just posted, and the references therein to neurotic uncertainty over whether a book is DONE, this quote from William Strunk, Jr. (the original author of the classic Elements of Style):

It is worse to be irresolute than to be wrong.

Boy, do I hope so. :)

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