“is that what you’re doing out there?”

I had a roller coaster of a conversation with (of all people!) my name nemesis at work this week. The topic of the weather came up, as it so often does in the workplace, and I mentioned it had been nice-ish out when I was out for a walk. Seems safe enough, right?

And he said:
“I’ve seen you out my window. Is that what you’re doing out there — walking?”

(I should state that it seemed slightly less weird when he said it than when I wrote it out just now. Although come on, pal, way to rub it in that you have a desk with a window.)

So I said yes, I like to walk on my lunch break (thinking that perhaps he was suspicious that I was on the clock for these excursions). And that it’s a nice area to walk. To make my statement more interesting, I added that I’d recently seen a porcupine (which is true! it was v. cute).

And he said:
“Oh wow; I’ve only ever seen dead ones.”

Now, I consider myself to be Very Bad at making small talk. But that’s — not a good answer, right? Where does a conversation go from a statement like that?

(In this case, I said, “Well, this one was very much alive,” and it somehow turned into him telling a story about how geese are meaner in Illinois, but honestly part of my attention at that point was already planning this post, so I’m not exactly sure how it happened.)

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