Monday, January 28, 2013

A True Work Conversation

My coworkers are a pretty bright bunch.  Generally.  I mean, it's hard to work on locks for a living, with all the mechanical and electrical work that it involves, while being dumb as a sack of hammers.  Some of my predecessors have been dumb as a sack of hammers.  They did not last long.

So when I hear someone say some shit, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  "Oh, that's probably just how he was raised," I tell myself.  "Oh, she's from another generation," I think with a mental wave of my hand.  "Oh, I don't feel like getting fired for not being able to keep my mouth shut," is what's usually behind all that.  But sometimes... just... no.

I was sweeping up at the end of the day today, talking with My Coworker Who Shall Remain Nameless, and at one point he said something about being disappointed that the Mayans were wrong.  I was so flabbergasted by it that I completely forget what we were talking about.  I asked, "What," in disbelief - not for clarification.

He clarified anyway, "You know.  I wish there had been some apocalypse back in December."

"That's not what their calendar was about."

"Then how come it just stops at the end of December 2012?"

"Because," I began, "That's just how far ahead they'd decided to write down dates.  Our calendars only go one year ahead, because that's all we've bothered to write down."

"So are you saying the world's gonna end in 2014?"  I can tell he's fucking with me... a little.  I can also tell that he's fucking with me because he thinks I'm wrong.

"No!  Nobody thinks that!  Look," I say, and draw a deep breath.  "It'd be like, if aliens came and exterminated us tomorrow.  Then they go through all our stuff, and one of the aliens says, 'Whoah, Fred, check this out:  the homo sapiens only made calendars up through 2013.  It's like they knew we were coming.'  And the other one says, 'Wow.  Freaky.'  But it's just because we didn't need to write dates down farther than that."

"Well," he says, "It was somebody's job to write all those dates down.  So how come Pablo stopped writing, huh?  I mean, it's not like the Mayans just disappeared in a flash."

Now I really think he's fucking with me.  "Are you joking?"  He shakes his head.  "Have you heard of the conquistadores?"

"Well, yeah," he scoffs.  "But a handful of travelers aren't gonna just wipe out an indigenous population overnight."

"Yes!  They did!  That-is-almost-exactly-what-happened!"

"C'mon, how?"

"With horses an' guns an' shit!  There was a huge technological gap!"

"Psh, they didn't have AK47s back then," he says with a wave of his hand.  "They had muzzle-loaded muskets, which take like ten minutes to reload."

"More like thirty to forty-five seconds."

"Well, OK," he concedes.  "I've seen some guys who had their shit together and could do it that fast.  But still, in the meantime, the tribe's comin' up on ya - what are ya gonna do?"

"...I hate you!"

I get back to sweeping.  A couple minutes later, I catch him singing - to the tune of Spider-Man - " 'Quistador, conquistador, don't you come bustin' down my door..."

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