Overheard

All of the people who used to eat alone at lunch in high school have spread their wings, taken flight, and now work at my company.  Myself included.  I work in pharmaceuticals, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are not one but two cars in the parking lot that proudly display the bumper sticker “Honk if You Passed P-Chem.”

It also shouldn’t be a surprise that I get to overhear some very odd conversations in the kitchen and in the hallways, but I recently heard one that was particularly special.

I was walking down the hall and saw two male chemists who – I am going to guess – are working at their first job after graduating college.  They are both very young and awkward.  The kind of kids who have had to work to develop their social skills enough to be able to stare at YOUR shoes while the talk to you, instead of their own shoes.

They both were holding trading cards and one of them talking about what powers the cards had.  I’m not sure what they were but it must be the latest version of the Dungeons and Dragons cards that the teenaged boys I knew in the 90s had.  I remember being privy to a very similar conversation about those cards and what “manna” is and why you want to collect it and trying to keep an interested look on my face while my brain drifted away, lulled to near sleep by counting all of the fucks that I did not give.

I was remembering this and starting to roll my eyes as I passed these twenty-something boys in the hallway when the one that was talking stopped in mid word and asked the other, “Did you have eggs for breakfast?”

The second guy shrugged and said, “No…?” and waited for an explanation.

Then the first guy offered none and instead turned back to the cards.  “So like I was saying…” he picked up again.

At that moment in my mind I stopped walking, turned on one heel, went back to where the boys were standing and hit each of their foreheads with the palm of my hand.  Then I would have taken the cards away and said, “You can have these back when you get laid.”

I didn’t do those things, of course.  I don’t think HR would have looked favorably upon it.  Which is too bad.  It would have been the best thing that happened to those boys since those warm days in high school, when instead of hunkering down in the corner of the lunch room trying to look as small as possible, they could take their PB&J outside and eat it under a tree.  Those were the days.

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and new stepparent. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my Yorkshire terrier, Wensleydale Doggiepants. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: rachelclewis.com @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

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