Thursday, January 18, 2007

Monkeys Pick Nits, Dogs Sniff Butts

So, I'm walking down the hall, and someone I know is coming the other direction.

"How ya doing?" they say.

And this is where the confusion sets in. Are they really asking how I'm doing? Do they want to stop and talk? Are they just saying hi? Am I supposed to answer and ask them how they are doing? What happens next if I do? I'm really busy and don't have time to talk, but should I stop anyway? Will they think I'm rude if I don't ask how they are doing? If I just say hi will they think it's weird? If I say fine and keep walking are they going to think I'm unfriendly?

At this point things are getting strange anyway so I just say fine and keep moving on.

Was that the right response? Are they okay with it? Are they going to talk about me behind my back? Were they expecting more from me? Will they understand? Should I explain things, or will that just make a weird situation weirder?

And then there's a second situation. In my cube farm people will periodically be standing up to relieve chronic trucker butt.

There you are just navigating the maze between cubes in an attempt to relieve yourself and 40 feet away you meet eyes with someone.

Do you nod? Do you wave? Are you too far away? Do you wait to acknowledge them when you are 20 feet away? Maybe 10 feet is better? Do you shout hi across the room? Do you smile? This is the third time you've had eye contact with them today, do you have to greet them every time? Are you supposed to stop and talk? Do you walk around looking at your feet so you can pretend that you really don't see anyone?

At this point they usually turn away and look down making things more awkward. Did I offend them? Did they want me to say something? Should I have waved? Arrg, I should have said hi, but man I just want to take a piss.

Animals have the system worked out. When dogs meet they always sniff butts. "Hi spot." sniff, "Hi scooter." sniff. Nice and clear and easy.

I don't advocate sniffing butts, but couldn't we come up with something easier?

If you just want to say hi, just say hi. Don't ask me how I'm doing, because then I'm unsure what you want.

If you want to talk then ask how I'm doing.

And as far as eye contact, can't we just nod and go about our business?

I think I might adopt the Aussies method. If you meet someone just say G'day Mate, and get on with your life.

And if I don't stop and talk to you, it doesn't mean I don't like you. I simply have something else I'm doing, and maybe I just need to pee.

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