November 17th, 2009

krazy koati

At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd

It was as I was going into work in the morning, after finishing my commute and putting my shoes back on and finding that I wouldn't have to fumble with the security-code locked door since one of the first-floor guys was standing there by the open door, taking in the fresh air and smoking. There's an impedence mismatch between him and the rest of the employees, as he's very energetic and driven and gives off many hints of being a morning person. He actually interact with clients, too, and in that line introduced the wireless telephone headset to operations, his operations anyway, so that he can speak clearly, sharply, and swiftly, from anywhere he happens to be. It's a good thing he's likeable or he'd be way too much to take at 7:58 am.

But he did break out of the routine mumbled-hi/sharply-stated-hello, how-are-you/mumbled-well-and-you/good-thank-you interchange that usually marks the morning interaction. He was curious where I live, which seemed like normal enough curiosity and I answered while the very slow, very stupid part of me that handles small talk began the process which would have otherwise inspired it, five minutes later, to think of asking where he lives. As it happens I live near one of the technical support guys, also dwelling on the first floor (although his job's off-site requirements make carpooling impractical, alas). And then he asked whether I believe in God, which was about the 2,038th subject I was expecting to come up.

``Er ... ah ... not particularly,'' I said, in what has got to be the weakest declaration of atheism on record.

Well, it's also the first time I've made an explicit declaration to anyone, either, although it's probably not a particularly interesting surprise to the folks I think likely to read this rather than skim vaguely over it. Mostly it doesn't come up. I had absolutely no idea what might follow from this exchange.

What followed was just a faint sort of disappointment, because, he said, he's part of a group which likes to get together but if I don't believe in God there's not much reason for me to join it. And I agreed, yes, given that it does sound like there wouldn't be a lot to chat about, really. But the dim small-talk sector of my brain did think to thank him for thinking of me. And we've gone on to the normal sorts of interaction, so far as that's possible between a morning person and a non-morning person.

Trivia: Britons collected £100,00 sterling to send to Portugal for the relief of victims of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Source: The Age Of Voltaire, Will and Ariel Durant.

Currently Reading: Radio Warfare: OSS and CIA Subversive Propaganda, Lawrence C Soley. Operation Muzak?! Well, it was named that because it was recording music meant to subvert German morale at the Muzak Publishing Company, and not they named the company from a program to sap people's will to carry on. Still, you know, ``Words You Don't Expect To Come Across In A Book About The Allied War Effort for $400, please, Alex.''