Big things are happening at the office! We’ve been working our butts off and we’ve finally completed the first phase of our project. We’ve been holed up in a conference room for months now, three of us. Sometimes the other few members of the team come in and touch base, but mostly we three create tests and run files and study the results. We document what needs fixing and the IT guys fix it. Then we do it all over again. I really have never worked so hard in my life and for the most part, I love it.
Much of the time, if you were to walk by and peek in, you’d see our heads bowed over our documents as we stare at Excel spreadsheets. Sometimes there is conversation. Sometimes we are so deep in our own thoughts and it is so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
Recently, the IT guys have joined us in the conference room. As our phase one deadline approached, we could be more efficient if we could just verbalize problems and the IT guys could fix it on the spot.
The IT guys are a little… different. Yes, I know IT guys tend to have a reputation for being slightly off. Our guys do voices. It cracks me up. They make up nicknames for various reports and sing them into songs. They walk around in their socks. One of them drinks gallons of Diet Coke every day. He’s not to be messed with before noon, but after he’s had his fill of caffeine, he’s happy as a clam. That’s when I ask him to fix things for me and I’m most likely to get the desired result.
I had a conversation with Dale today. I had evaluated some online stuff and found things that weren’t working right. I needed to show him what wasn’t working so he could fix it. I pointed to a particular report.
“See these records,” I asked? “Everything displays except for the names. Why aren’t the names showing up?”
Dale spoke out loud as he took notes, “Names are being shy. Help them come out of their shells.”
I laughed, then leaned over to peek at his notes.
“You actually wrote that,” I exclaimed.
“Hell yeah,” Dale said! “The report’s a party! We gotta make sure everyone has fun there!”
Later, we were back to having our heads down and buried deep in our own thoughts. Dale left the room for a few minutes. When he returned, he slid back into his chair and broke the silence.
“You know how Spiderman shoots a web from his wrist?”
Joe and I both looked up.
“Yeah,” we both replied.
“Why do you think he doesn’t make better use of that? I mean, he could just sit in his chair and shoot the web across the table to grab a pen and pull it back to himself. Why would he ever get up to go get something? Do you think he’s just being lazy by not using the web more?”
“Hmmm,” I responded. “You’re right. If he wanted a beer, he could shoot a web over to the fridge and pull it open. Then he could shoot another one to grab his beer!”
“See,” Dale asked? “You get it.”
He seemed really excited that I’d caught on to his theory so easily.
“Yeah, but maybe he’s being green,” I said. “If he shoots the web all the time, that’s a lot of web to have to pick up.”
“Not an issue,” Dale replied. “The web dissolves in like an hour.”
Who knows these things?
“Okay, then maybe he’s being health conscious,” I argued. “If Spidey sits around all the time and brings everything to himself with his web shooter, he’d never have to get out of his chair. He’d get fat.”
“Nah,” Dale disputed. “He came around in like the seventies. They weren’t health conscious back then.”
Suddenly I stopped and looked at Dale. “I can’t believe I’m actively participating in this conversation!”
Joe smiled, amused. He’d been smart enough to keep any opinions he may have had about Spiderman to himself.
“You should work with us more often,” I told Dale. “You crack me up, making me contemplate things like the Spidey web.”
Dale just smiled. I couldn’t tell if he was really being funny, or if he seriously contemplates things like this in his head on a regular basis. Didn’t really matter to me anyway. I realized that Dale was probably some of the best stress relief I’d seen in weeks.
I wonder what we’ll debate tomorrow? World peace? Why fun-size candy bars shouldn’t be cut with a knife and eaten in smaller portions? (Actually, we already had that conversation.) Anyway, I’m fascinated with the strange way his mind works. I just hope it doesn’t rub off on me too much.