“Are you there? Hello! ... Hello? ... Are you there?”
The voice of my co-worker Gretchen wandered up and over the divider between our cubicles.
“Hello? Are you there?”
Hmmm... Who's she talking to? I took a sip from my coffee mug and continued writing an email to one of our customers.
“Hello... Hello... Hello?” Her voice came again, interrupting my thoughts for a second time. “Hello? Dave? Hello!?”
“Gretchen, I’m right here.”
She was just sitting five feet away from me on the other side of the divider. I wondered why she didn't just stand up to get my attention.
“Oh, you are there. I figured you’d be there now, but I just thought I would check.”
“Gretchen, I've been here since we opened.” She didn't respond. I finished proofreading the email and clicked 'Send'.
“Oh... I just didn’t want to interrupt you if you were busy with work.”
“Did you need something, Gretchen?”
“Are you okay? You sound different."
"Yeah, I feel fine."
"Are you sure about that? Your voice sounds lower.”
I took another drink and cleared my throat.
"A-hem. Mmmmpf. Eh-rrggggg. Grumph!!! Uhh-ckACK!!!"
I muttered a few words under my breath, just to see if my voice was different. But everything felt and sounded fine.
“No, something’s wrong with your voice. You sound absolutely terrible. Are you getting a cold?”
“Um... nope. Not that I know of."
“What did you have to eat this morning?
"You heard me. What did you have for breakfast?
“Steel-cut oatmeal... with raspberries, walnuts, and maple syrup.”
“What else did you have?”
“Coffee. I’m just finishing my second cup now.”
“Dave, you’re not supposed to have sweets on weekday mornings.”
“Gretchen, I only put three teaspoons of sugar in my coffee.”
“Dave, you know that too much sugar isn't good for you. I've told you that before."
“Gretchen, what on earth are you talking abo--.”
My voice trailed off, as I stood up and peered over the divider. Gretchen’s back was toward me, and she was hunched low in her chair. I heard snickering from a nearby cubicle.
“Dave," said Caroline, standing up from her chair. "She’s been talking to her son this entire time."
“What? No... she's been asking me about my breakfast."
“No, Dave. She's talking to her son. He doesn't have school today."
We both looked over towards Gretchen. She was still hunched over in her seat.
“No... You know weren’t supposed to have Lucky Charms for breakfast today... No, I don’t care if you have the day off from school... "
I sat back down at my desk and opened the next email in the customer service Inbox.
"No, don't argue with me, Dave... You know Lucky Charms are just for a treat on Saturdays. ... If you pull that stunt again, I'll take away your weekend cereal privileges.”
Ah, crows... Mother Nature's
most reliable garbage disposal.
"So can I give the executor the password to access the account online?"
"Yes, that sounds good." Alex had asked if I wanted to come over to his house later to watch football.
"Really? But the executor isn't on the account. You'd still give him the password?"
"Absolutely." Alex had asked if I could pick up some beer on the way over.
"Okay, if you say so."
"Actually... No. You probably shouldn't do that." Alex wanted to know if he should invite the wives, but I didn't think that was the greatest idea. Our other friend Brad had a one year-old at home. He'd need to find a babysitter if his wife came along.
"Oh. Well, do you think I should ask Christine? I mean... she's the IRA expert and all."
"Yeah, I suppose you could ask her." Alex said he'd check with his wife to see if she'd consider watching the little ones during the game.
"Christine's not in today. I think I'm just going to go ahead and give him the password."
"That's fine." Alex thought it would be a good idea if we ordered a two large pizzas... one with pepperoni and one with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, and broccoli. "And I'll make sure I pick up a twelve-pack, just in case Brad shows up."