Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Guy - "They just get right in there with their claws, and then the whole thing's ruined."

Other Guy - "Yeah.  It's pretty frustrating."

Guy - "And then you gotta get your roof replaced, or part of it, at least."

Other Guy - "Sounds like a pain."

Guy - "Oh, it is.  And expensive."

Other Guy - "I'll bet."

Guy - "And then you have to buy those little spikes, so they don't come near the roof again."

Other Guy - "I heard fake owls can ward them off."

Guy - "That's absurd."

There is NOTHING worse than running into a coworker on the bus.  Name something even remotely worse.  You can't.

There you are, muddled between tired, misanthropic drones in suits, coats, scarves and snow boots.  Your face thawing out, completely chapped from the wind repeatedly beating into it, dragging tears from your eyes and whipping them against your cheeks.  Nose running as if it were a broken faucet, socks cold and wet despite the $130 you spent on snow boots this and every year, and the rest of your body in flames because of all the layers you're forced to wear living in the absolute worst winter city in the US.

Now toss a coworker you barely know into the mix.

The first thing I want to do when I leave work is step one foot out the door and let the next foot lead into a bar.  I don't, because I know at least 70% of the financial district is feeling the same way, and although it blows to be on a crowded bus during rush hour, it blows harder to have the peety stench of scotch wafting through the already muggy air.

Unfortunately, this leaves room to meet your coworkers on your walk or ride home.  Questions begin darting through your head: 'Will he see me?  Will he expect me to talk to him?  Where did he say he lived that one time I was half listening to him talk when it was bagel day in the break room?  Please let it be much closer than my stop...'.  The answers become clear pretty quickly.  This is you.  The coworkers that don't want to talk are never on your bus.  They're on a parallel bus, sitting in peace, nothing but the dull waves of music filling their headphones, eyes closed in relaxation, letting go of the past 9 hours.  This bus, however, is carrying Clyde from accounting.  Clyde from accounting, who wants to talk about the one thing you hate more than the situation you're now in: pigeons.

What are they anyway?  Birds?  Birds fly south for the winter.  Pigeons gather together the entirety of winter under heat lamps at the El.

Rats?  Rats don't have wings, and are typically more scared of humans.

Rats with wings?  Completely possible.

An evolved species, created by one rat and one pigeon, both carrying genetic mutations that squashed the barriers of reproductive isolation and created offspring that were put in large cities to slowly outnumber the human species, and one day take over the world?  Most likely.

Dear God is he still talking?  Why am I not listening?  This is the one thing Clyde and I could probably agree on, but for heaven's sake, Clyde.  It is Tuesday.  Tuesday is just a work-filled hangover that Monday gave me.  Monday is the actual hangover that carried over from the weekend.

But right now it's Tuesday.  6:17.  We are two men on the 56 that are employed by the same company, spend 45 hours a week in the same building, and apparently both hate pigeons.

Time passes, and Clyde announces this is his stop.  I, only half listening, nod, and lazily tell him it was nice to chat.  The bus clears out, and I take a seat, wishing for the first time I had enough nerve to carry a flask in my briefcase.

Looking back, I probably could've been nicer.  But I did learn something, and I'll share that moral with you: if you're going to zone out on the bus while ignoring your coworker, don't end up like me, 4 big blocks west of your own stop.  Because trudging across the street in those wet socks to wait for an eastbound bus, regardless of it being your own fault, will make you curse that rat Clyde even more.

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