When I'm not visiting cemeteries, drawing silly pictures or leaving smart-ass comments on Facebook, I lead a pretty normal life. I got to work during the week and save those aforementioned activities for the weekend... except the smart-assing part. That I do on a daily basis. I work in the design department of a large commercial printer. My job keeps me busy pretty much all day, leaving very little time to interact with my co-workers.... and that is just fine with me.
I started this job two years ago, after being unemployed for a year due to massive layoffs brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. After applying for numerous employment opportunities, a New Jersey printing company took a chance on a 60 year-old graphic artist with over forty years of experience in the field. My day-to-day responsibilities are, by no means, unfamiliar to me. I have done this sort of work at many different places throughout my career. To be honest, it's pretty mindless work — which is okay. At this point in my life, I don't need to impress or dazzle anybody with my innovative design ability. I just need a weekly paycheck and to not think about my job between 4:30 PM on Friday and 8 AM on Monday. So far, this job has fit the bill.
Like I said, I have very little interaction with my co-workers. I suppose they are all just as busy as I am. Besides, I greatly dislike obligatory office chit-chat. For nearly a year, I did my work in a large office with two other desks that remained empty most of the time. One desk is occupied for the last hour and a half of my shift by a guy who works until midnight. He nods when he comes in a three o'clock and I nod when I leave at 4:30. Other than that, nothing. I don't even know some of my colleagues' last names.
Sometime last year, a guy from another office in my department was moved to the empty desk in my office. His name is John or Joe or... actually I'm not sure what his name is. He is very quiet, kind of awkward and usually has a cockeyed smile across his face, like he just remembered the punchline to a joke he heard a few days ago. At our department's holiday party last year, I heard his voice for the first time. And — boy! — did I hear it. He went on and on and on about some comedian's routine that he saw on television. I don't remember the comedian, but John (or Joe) repeated every single word of this guy's routine. He even picked up where he left off after being interrupted by a waitress asking for drink orders. There was no shutting this guy up! After waaaay too long, he finally concluded his word-for-word account of this comedy act — which was neither memorable nor funny. After that, I don't think I heard him speak again.
A few days ago, John (or Joe) spoke.
A few days have gone by and John (or Joe) has remained quiet. He still bobs his head, but he hasn't issued a curse word. Yet.
A new week starts Monday.