Guru Fieldwork: Anthropology
It was a Tuesday
A day like another other day
I left my hermit space
For a nation in decay
I know, I know! I deserve what I get when I leave the house. Stepping out into the world is exactly like asking for it.
I can’t help it. Stuff happens. I guess it’s all my fault for observing it. If I was oblivious then maybe it wouldn’t bother me.
But what has been seen cannot be unseen. Leaving the house is where the empirical process of data collection begins.
Sometimes, rarely, it works in my favor. Like two weeks ago when we went to the movies. I had to pee so I walked into the auditorium-sized men’s room. Along one wall was a line of 20 urinals. I picked my spot and made a beeline. Along the way I spotted the guy. You know, the one asshole who exists in every social situation. He was standing at a urinal, doing his business with one hand, and talking away on the iPhone in the other. Millennials call that multitasking. I call it being a dill hole.
That’s when The Miracle happened in the blink of an eye.
Clackity clack clack clack.
The iPhone got dropped. And there it went! Zoom zoom! Clackity clack all the way across that pee-covered bathroom floor. The guy stood there, still holding his other device, and lamely watched it go.
It just goes to show that – sometimes – good things can happen. It was pure serendipity and, for one brief moment in time, I forgot all about pain. I was in the moment.
Last night I left the house again but the empirical results were decidedly not as fun. Not by a long shot.
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Poop Encounters of the Turd Kind
Behind The Tweets is a new ongoing feature here at the Abyss. In this series of posts I’ll select a tweet (most likely one of my very little nuggets of delight) and provide the exciting back story that 140 characters just didn’t allow.
Finally, the rest of the story will be told.
This is just too much fun. Let’s get started!
Boss in restroom. Lots of “noise” indicating a certain activity. No running water after flush. Then wants high five. I had to decline. #yuck
It was a normal day at work. It happened to be New Year’s Eve. My wife had the day off but my place of employment was open. Wide open. In fact, it was the only place open on the entire block. I’m just lucky that way.
I was at my workstation which, as I’ve discussed before, is only a few feet from the toilet. I’m just lucky that way.
It all started when the boss went into the restroom. In a matter of seconds, there was an explosion of noise that could only be described as a “whoopie cushion on steroids.” I still can’t believe I have to listen to this shit. (Pun intended.) It happens every day, and not to put too fine a point on it, the dude holds nothing back.
OK. I can grok that. In the end (heh) we all have to deal with forces of nature beyond our control. It might be somewhat unpalatable, but what can I do?
Then, I heard the toilet flush. I happened to be walking by on my way to the back.
A mere second later the door flung open and the boss leaped out.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
There had been no sound of running water. Oh geez, help me hang on, he didn’t wash his hands!!!
What happened next could only happen in a Stephen King novel or my life. (Take your pick.) I shit you not.
He jumped into my personal space (that’s another story), held up his hand, and said, “High five!”
Oh God, no. Hell no. I could only stand there like a deer in the highlights, my analytical brain doing its best to process information more quickly than normal. Nothing in life had prepared me for this moment.
My thoughts drifted back to Home Economics in the 7th grade. Yeah, good times. I was the only boy in the class, hanging out with the girls, eating chocolate chip cookies, while my peers were in Wood Shop making lamps out of blocks of wood. Yeah, I knew what I was doing even back then!
I remembered the day when my Home Economics teacher drew a figure of a girl on the blackboard with lines emanating outwards from her that indicated stink. The message of that day has not been forgotten. Hygiene is important.
But even that class and nothing later in life had done anything at all to prepare me for this particular social situation. How does one handle something like this?
I had to do something. My boss was standing there with his hand still up and waiting for me to respond. It was awkward as hell. Finally I found my voice.
“I can’t,” I managed to choke out. “I just can’t.”
In retrospect, with the luxury of time to consider possible responses, I should have just given him the high five, then gone to the bathroom to sterilize. I still have my anti-bacterial hand soap and squirt bottle of hand sterilizer in my cubbyhole at work. It wouldn’t have killed me.
But I just couldn’t.
And now you know the rest of the story. You have been behind the tweet. Good day!