Saturday, February 28, 2009

Talking To The "Hallway Guy": A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I was walking down the hallway in the office building where I work, heading to the bathroom, when I saw this guy walking the opposite way toward me.

"Hey!!" I said.

"What's up?" he jovially replied.

"Not much. You?"

"Just tryin' to keep afloat, man."

"I hear you. Things are crazy these days."

"Seriously. They are."

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

(pause)

"Well good talkin' to you bud. I'll see you later," I said.

"Totally," he replied.


And that was my latest conversation with the "hallway guy."

We all have a hallway guy or girl in our lives. The person you pass by in the hallway almost every day -- usually at work but sometimes in your apartment complex -- that you strike up a 60- to 90-second conversation with every time you pass by each other. It's friendly, even funny at times, which is interesting when you consider th following facts:

---You don't know the person's name.

---You don't know what the person does, or in fact anything about the person in general.

---And you have no idea how this daily or almost-daily banter between the two of you even began.

And that, to me, is the weirdest thing about the hallway person in our lives. How did the hell did this even start? Did he or she talk to me first? Did I initiate the conversation? How did it evolve into this? Why do we feel the need to ask this person questions about a life we know nothing about?

And what the hell is his (or her) name?!?

Ah, the name of the person. A mystery in and of itself. Because we don't know the person's name, we must make up name-like references for them during these hallway visits. Hallway guys are called "Bud", "buddy" or "brotha". Hallway girls are called "Hey there!", "Sweetie" or "Oh my God, I love that color on you!!"

And the thing is, we can't actually ask the person what his or her name is. Because after several weeks of conversations with this person, you can't just suddenly ask them their name and admit in the process that you've been talking to this person day in and day out for weeks without actually knowing who the hell it is you're talking to.

Never mind the fact that they themselves probably have no clue what your name is. That's irrelevant. You want them to take the plunge first.

In a way, it's like a game of Chicken.

I have no answers on how to make hallway conversations more comfortable. For now, every time you see him (or her) be friendly, smile a lot...

...and hope or she gets fired or moves out of your building so you never have to talk to them again.

:-)

And now for this week's:

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

A good friend of mine is currently interning at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office and told me about one recent criminal case in which two college kids decided to rob a pizza delivery boy when they realized that they didn't have enough money to pay for their large pepperoni-and-sausage pizza and buffalo wings. They now face up to two years in prison.

So let's review:

Two kids order, say, $20 worth of food.

Now, they either a) realized after placing the order that they didn't have enough money to pay for the food, and rather than pay with an ATM, write a bad check or look for change under the couch, they decided to rob the delivery boy; or b) they were always planning to rob the guy over pizza and wings.

They rob the guy, taking the food -- and nothing else -- since pizza delivery boys aren't exactly known for fat wads of cash.

They leave the guy lying there in the hallway.

They close the door.

They eat the food.

They laugh.

And it never occurs to them for a moment that the pizza delivery boy in the hallway could eventually get up, dust himself off and call the police.

(pause)

You know, I've spent the last five minutes trying to think of a poignant, funny ending to this story, but I just can't think of one. These guys were stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. The youth of America today is dumb.

And one day, they will breed.

Scary.

3 comments:

Carlos said...

LMAO!!! I agree with the hallway conversations. I had a few like that at the old place we worked.
My sayings were "Really?", "Dude?!... (notice how you can use that word to mean a question, exclamation remark or as a sentence)", "I heard that! (I don't know what I heard but it sounded like a good response.)". Hallway conversations were always weird but hey. . .

P.S. The pizza was Domino's!!!! What kind of defense can one use? That pizza sucks @$$!!!!!

fellow forestweber said...

Haha, his name is Joe. I bet a million bucks you have the same "hallway guy" I do. However, I have changed my hallway route to avoid "guy smiley" all together. I suggest you detour and do the same. Or, when I am in a big hurry and I need the direct route to the elevator, I put my cell phone to my ear in case HG tries to pull a quickie on my way out....

Anonymous said...

maybe you can start talking in a whisper when you see him in the hallway, since having a conversation in an hallway is completely bad apartment etiquette. I'm the guy on the other side of that door trying to sleep but instead having to listen to complete strangers ramble on.