Monday, March 11, 2013

Meeting the Foot-jiggler

Reason #979 why I always smile with my teeth, despite the braces, and why I can't pull off the "gazing into space" look.

Oh, hey! I am one of those people who is never really satisfied with what I'm writing or sharing (I'm a maximizer — more on that in a Writing Wednesday post), and I've decided things have gotten a bit too formulaic over here with the structured Music Mondays and Fashion Fridays posts. I'm not touching WW, though, because it's my biggest passion right now and I geek out over sharing grammar and writing tips each week. :)

I'm going to keep things a bit more casual and talk more about my day-to-day life and the weird workplace situations I often find myself in, because Andrew has convinced me that I can be funny and make this blog the real, can't-stop-reading record I want it to be. He is awesome.

I thought I'd start off this new goal of blogging about my real life by mentioning one of the rituals I've found myself doing for about a month at work: sitting next to the Foot-jiggler.

Every day at about 1 p.m. (unless I have a meeting), I take a half-hour or 45-minute lunch break and troop down to my company's common area on the fourth floor. I usually have a book with me, so I generally sit down on one of the padded benches against the wall and read while I'm eating lunch. I've been doing this almost since I started at the company (though I sometimes get crazy and take my lunch at 1:30). And for a while, I was pretty much by myself on those benches.

But then, about two months ago, I realized that my routine is now encroaching on the routine of a man I can only refer to as "Foot-jiggler" (I actually don't know his real name, to be honest). He is around 35, has thinning brown hair that he parts EXACTLY down the middle, and wears a striped polo, jeans and sensible white New Balance shoes every day. Seriously. I don't know what I'd do if he went berserk and wore a button-up.

The reason I call him Foot-jiggler is that he sits in the exact same spot on the benches every day with his right leg crossed over his left in a triangle shape, jiggling his foot nervously and listening to his iPod while at the same time scanning the room like a robot. When I walk into the room, I can feel his eyes almost boring holes into my back — and he watches everyone else like a hawk, too.

I could sit at one of the many tables in the room and eat my string cheese and leave him alone. But the chairs at the tables are uncomfortable, and there are usually groups of people sitting together eating. So because I like to watch people and see what happens when you throw off their grooves, even unintentionally, I have decided to sit down on the benches next to Foot-jiggler.

And you know what? Foot-jiggler is painfully shy and has never said a word, and I have never introduced myself to him. We sit on the benches for 15 minutes together in silence, him nervously listening to music and me plowing through yet another book. Then he gets up and leaves the room when his lunch break is up, and I sit on the bench for another 15 minutes or so.

As odd as it is, I think we have an understanding now. I can sit at least a person's length away from him on the bench, and he is comfortable with me sitting there. He ignores me now that I'm a familiar face and seems a bit less jittery. And I eat my lunch and watch him jiggle his feet and think about how fascinating human behavior is, especially when you're in your own world.

Do you have any interesting co-workers? Are you a people-watcher? I'd love to hear your experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Being super shy, I am quite the people-watcher! I really understand people by observing them than rather through what they say!


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