I had the loveliest of encounters with someone here at the office the other day. That is so rare in these turbulent times we face that it deserves platitudes in of itself, but this one was extra special. On a day where the clouds were building, the winds were howling, and every single customer I worked with was crisis-enabled – this fine lady shone brighter than the sun.
It all started innocently enough, with me looking for ice. I went to Kitchen 1, Freezer 1 and opened it up hoping with all my beating heart that I would find the detritus of a bag of ice nestled among the derelict Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice meals waiting for a loving home. Alas, unlike other times when my hopes and dreams had been fulfilled beyond all measure, this time there was no such satisfactory conclusion. There was no ice in Kitchen 1, Freezer 1.
Off to Kitchen 2, Freezer 1. The same hopeful walk up to the freezer….the same anticipation of the first view of the bag of ice….all dashed in a moment as I was met with only a single applesauce container sitting forlornly by itself. If you have never seen a forlorn container of applesauce, then I feel for you. However, I turn around and quickly realize the good fortune that I am met with. This must be the deluxe kitchen because there is a SECOND FREEZER! This is so much like Charlie looking for the golden ticket it’s eerie. Anyway, I walk up to the second freezer, open it up and boom. A half-full (or half empty?) bag of ice. My coke and my heart leap joyously with glee as they both realize the wonder that is to come. I go full blown at this chunk of ice in the freezer like Captain Ahab going after the white whale. Chunk by chunk comes off into my Styrofoam cup and I’m oblivious to all around me as the elation and excitement overwhelm me.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a calm soothing voice interrupts my thoughts of a cold coke.
Calm soothing woman (CSW): “You know sir, we HAVE an ice machine…”
CSW: “That machine right over there is an ice machine. You’re free to use it anytime.”
At this point I walk over towards the ice machine hidden under the sink and say “Hmmm….who knew? Wait, I guess YOU did…”
That obvious attempt at humor was met with a complete blank face. I knew that I was in trouble here but yet felt that this was just a momentary interaction with someone that I would never see again. I was wrong. This CSW would NOT shut up about the ice machine. Obviously, this was her life and soul and she was just waiting to espouse the great benefits of the ice machine to any and all approaching her domain. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had actually PLANTED the bag of ice in Kitchen 2, Freezer 2 just so she could use it as an alarm that someone was interested in ice.
So I opened the door of the ice machine and CSW explains, as I’m using the little shovel to scoop out the ice so I didn’t put my filthy hands all over it, that “we use that shovel to scoop out the ice so that people don’t put their filthy hands all over it.”
After the ice had been gathered, I put the shovel in the proper slot of the ice machine so that it allows the machine to keep running, while the CSW a moment afterwards explains “We put the shovel in halfway only so the machine will keep running.”
I’m not lying here. CSW starts going on and on about the ice machine and I have to admit that I’m not listening to her at all. I wish that I was for the sake of this blog, but all I’m doing is trying to find a way out of there and away from CSW without her being offended. There are two doors out of the kitchen that go around a partition, but both meet in the same hallway. So I need to figure this out carefully. I come up with a master plan that only someone with my absolute aversion to talking any more about ice could develop.
I take a step towards the right side door of the kitchen heading out – and my plan works perfectly. She starts heading out the left side door. However, just as we are both about to turn the corner into the hallway and run smack into each other face to face, I pull the old okie-doke. IT’S A FALSE START! I stand there and wait while she continues to go on and on about the ice machine hoping she will continue the walk into the hallway and away. Am I this mean? Can I just ignore her and hope she goes away?
No. I mean seriously, she was super-dee-duper nice and my own repugnance of small talk shouldn’t matter I start back out the right side door again (and yes, she’s still going on and on about ice) and as predicted, run smack into her in the hallway. She passes me one last time, I say thank you, and as calm, as soothing, as perfect and in the most Mary Poppins-like voice imaginable she leaves me with the most brilliant goodbye ever in the history of this company.
“Enjoy the ice!”
If she would have had a microphone, she would have dropped it right there.