jeudi, octobre 01, 2009


Would you, in my place, be concerned?

It happened as I was coming back from lunch. I had just come in the lobby and was heading for the elevators. There was one that had just taken on some passengers and was ready to go up. I got there right as the doors were closing and stuck in my hand just in the nick of time to make the doors open again and let me on.

Inside the elevator was the notoriously incompetent and weaselly HR minion I jokingly refer to in private as "Schlepsteak." He is about four feet tall and walks with his neck crunched all the way into his shoulders. All that's missing is lip smacking and hands rubbing together as he contemplates who to flummox next with his awkward attempts to impress and flatter.

He looked at me as I got on, thanking and apologizing like a nimwit (thank you for waiting one nanosecond? Sorry for delaying you one nanosecond? Elevator etiquette, sheesh.) and then he cheerily exclaimed, for the benefit of the other poor soul stuck in there with him,

"That was close! You almost lost your hand!"

"Yes," I say, thinking, let's not get excited here for nothing. I gave a polite elevator chuckle, one of those I am constantly throwing out when I don't know what else to say.

"You almost lost it to the guillotine!" he chortled, mimicking the doors closing in on each other with his hands and looking over to the person on his left for complicity.

"Hmm, yeah," I reply, thinking please just let me get to my floor and out of here.

"Very famous in France!" he proclaims, straightening his jacket for emphasis. This is the man who once asked me how the weather was in the United States.

"We're more reknowned for the electric chair," I quipped.

He didn't seem to hear me. He was off on a roll.

"The widow-maker! The bascule! The monte-à-regret!" he crowed, visibly proud of his ability to wow me with synonyms for the guillotine.

We're only on the fifth floor? Oh please, please hurry up! I silently implored the control panel.

"The bois de justice!" he blurted.

At this, the neighbor to his left muttered, "Ah! The bois de justice, yes, there is that one."

Schlepsteak looked very pleased with himself.

We had mercifully arrived at my floor.

"Well," I said, turning to them both, "on that note, have a nice afternoon!"

It took me almost until I reached my office door to realize : holy fucking shit, the HR guy just spent five minutes talking about the guillotine to me!

Am I supposed to get a hint or what?