OK, I will stay out of your conversation.
When I come in and L is there, we exchange perfunctory ‘good mornings’ and then, perhaps some brief weather talk and that’s it – silence, punctuated by the soft tapping of computer keys.
When H is in, I will get a more heartfelt (yet perfunctory nonetheless) ‘good morning’ and maybe a minute of small talk and then silence.
When H and L are both in, I will get a brief good morning from each and that’s it as they are usually talking to each other.
L used to talk to me all the time – until one time she told me I tend to want to talk when she has things to do. So I try very hard not to bother her unless it’s work.
H has kids and that’s pretty much what she’ll talk about. She talks to L about her kids even though L is 50 and never had kids.
I sit on the far end and listen to both of them. They used to call me over to join in. They don’t anymore.
When my boss S comes in, she’ll say a syrupy ‘good morning’ to everyone but if she has anything more to say, it will be to L and H. She was here for ‘the troubles.’ She remembers everything.
I guess there are reasons for all of this and for me, at this point in time, they are unimportant. The less I talk to people, the less I get pulled in to their drama and the less I open myself for problems. No one wants any of my drama and I know this.
It’s not that I’m the only guy here. If M were here, he’d be the life of the party. M has the gift. I do not.
I should be happy to be left alone, but I am not. It gets so lonely down here at the end of the cubicles. But that is the way it is and will be. I have no friends at work, Facebook or otherwise. One of my shrinks thought it best and I agree, sadly, this is the way it will have to be because of everything that has occurred in the past.
I’m here, but I’m not really here. Perhaps I never was.
I wish I could leave. And I have tried numerous times and failed. But now, I feel it is too late. If I go anywhere else, no matter how interesting the job might be, I will worry about this pattern of me repeating itself. And will I learn the new job well enough? Will I have to worry about office politics? Will my boss tolerate me? Will there be more work than I can handle? Will it have been worth leaving the devil I know?
They are done talking, their voices replaced by the soft hum of the ventilation system and the soft clicking of keys.
Welcome to Death’s Waiting Room. At least we have a Keurig.