Wandering The Halls
Posted by Jamie C. Baker
In our effort to stay in shape and to escape the boredom of sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, my husband and I do an average of six laps around the halls of our enormous building every day we’re here. To give you a visual of how long a lap around this place is, here’s a view from Google Maps. Notice the teeny tiny cars:
Roaming the halls of this place has caused me to notice a few things about the behaviors and habits of people in my building and about people in general:
1. Personal Space: People get very attached to their personal bubble surrounding them and are very reluctant to shift it so that it doesn’t overlap with anyone else’s space. This is mostly noticeable when we encounter two or more people walking down the hall from the opposite direction. They will be taking up the entire hallway, walking side by side by side, and act incredibly irritated to have to have one member of the group fall back in order to accommodate people walking in the opposite direction. If someone is approaching, move to give them room. Unfortunately, people are determined to stay in their exact path regardless of what obstacles lie ahead. In my opinion, the hallway should be split in two, with the flow of food traffic going in opposite directions down each half. And while we’re on that subject….
2. Flow of Traffic: The hallway should be like a roadway; stay to the right unless passing a slow mover. Not in this place; we get the rogue rebels who plant themselves on the wrong side and march down the hallway, oblivious to the fact that they are putting themselves in the face of everyone who is walking properly. Unless you’re trying to get into your office, there’s no reason to go against the flow of traffic. It’s frustrating, especially when the person sees that everyone is having to make an effort to avoid them, but doesn’t care enough to make the shift over to their right. I’m not quite sure if it’s a mindful decision to go against the grain or if these people are from Europe.
3. Loitering: I don’t know when it happened or why it happened, but somewhere along the line, someone decided that the middle of the hallway is a great place to hold a meeting. It can be a group of people discussing a system implementation or a few friends talking about weekend plans; whatever the subject, people have developed the awful habit of congesting the hallways so they can flap their jaw. It’s somewhat forgivable if they stand off to the side, but even then they become a hazard for everyone who is trying to get from point A to B. They’ll laugh and flail their arms while acting annoyed at the people walking around them. You know, the people using the hallway for what it was built for.
4. Blindness: Every few feet down any hallway in here, there is a door to an office, a utility room, a stairwell, or an elevator. Common sense would dictate that anyone coming out of a door would take a second to glance down the hall to make sure they were not about to run right into someone. This building is devoid of common sense. People will pop out of doorways with their head down, sometimes focused on their phones, paying no attention to the people walking. If they bump you or come close to doing so, they usually will react with shock as if it’s your fault for not announcing your arrival at the doorway or peeking in the door to ensure that their absentminded little self wasn’t playing with their iPod instead of looking where they’re going.
5. Bringing SexyBack: I don’t know many people who haven’t, at least once, had an accidental slip of the pants that exposed a bit of butt crack. Maybe you were lucky and it happened at home, or maybe you shamed yourself by getting cheeky at the mall. Come walk the halls with me and you’ll see more crack than [insert your favorite celebrity addict here]. Aside from that, you will see fat stomachs hanging out from the bottoms of shirts, all the sweatpants your heart could desire, and spectacles that rival the People Of Walmart site. I don’t know if working here for over 10 years makes you give up on life, but it sure as hell seems that way.
6. Bathroom Parties: Public bathrooms are gross. Even the ones that have just been cleaned from top to bottom are gross. They are nasty places and I won’t even get into the horrors I’ve seen here. For some reason, these vile places have become excellent places to catch up with friends while taking a break from a hard day of work. Right inside the doorway, a group will gab and cackle away while the poor people in the stalls are likely cringing and silently praying for the loud rabble to move along so they can finish dropping off the kids in peace. It’s particularly unnerving when men make up part of the bathroom group in front of the ladies room; no woman wants to hear a deep booming voice as she tries to hover over the germy seat and not pee on her shoes.
7. NOISE POLLUTION: This building is a finance and accounting center that does a lot of incredibly important (and boring) things for the military and civilians. We have hundreds of offices contained within these walls, each with an important mission. Don’t try telling that to anyone in the hallway though, as they seem to think that escaping the office into the hall is equal to being at a bar with their friends on a Friday night. They will get loud, and then they’ll get louder. The raucous laughter, the crazy high pitched shrieks, and the constant chatter can be clearly heard in offices with closed doors where people are trying to get their job done. They may be en route to a break area to carry on frantically about the latest gossip, but you can be sure that they’re not about to keep the volume down on their journey there.
8. Weak Arms: There are a good number of restaurants that deliver to this building, something that most employees take advantage of. Sometimes, people will place an order for a small group of people or order a few pizzas for the office. Rarely to never will a person be willing to use a bit of muscle to get that order back to their office, opting instead to bring a rolling cart to the security area to carry their grub. If someone has ordered something large and heavy, with multiple bags, I totally get it. Qdoba catering, for example, definitely calls for a cart with all their containers and packages. When I see a woman pushing a cart with a tiny Jimmy John’s bag on it, containing two subs and maybe some chips, I cry a little on the inside.
9. ScooterMania: There are some people in motorized chairs in this building that have a valid need to be in one. There are more of them in a scooter because they’re just too fat and lazy to walk around like the rest of us. The scooter crew in this place act like an elderly gang of bikers. Don’t get too close to them or they’ll run you down or attempt to kill your with their steely glare. You better jump out of their way when they crank it up to 10mph on their way to the cafeteria or be subjected to as much wrath as an obese person can manage without running out of breath. I don’t have issue with people who have to use a scooter, or even those who choose to. It’s the entitled “I’m special, treat me that way” attitude that I cannot stand.
10. Power Munching: As I said earlier, my husband and I do laps around the building in an effort to stay healthy and not become glued to our chairs. There are quite a few people in this building who do the same, donning an iPod or grabbing a buddy to hopefully walk off the effects of their lunch. Sadly, too many people confuse a short brisk walk with a power workout. They will power walk their way right into our C-Store for a bag of chips, or some will grab their snack and do their walk while eating. There are people I know who walk enough to be in supermodel shape, but they’ll never get there due to their love of sweet and salty snacks.
11. Men Are Perverts: I expect to be eyeballed by the dirty old man on the bench at the mall and by the group of guys hanging out outside of Target, but I don’t expect it when I come to work. At least, I used to never expect it. From janitors to young guys to old fat men to more janitors to leadership, no halfway decent woman in this building is safe. It’s not only the bold looks at cleavage and rear ends, it’s the “hey baby, how you doin’, you lookin’ so fine” that reminds me of my days riding MARTA through Atlanta. I suppose it’s good for the ego, but it’s also creepy as all get out. In fairness, there are a few female offenders as well wandering these halls. Very few.
12. Hand Holding: There are some couples who work here together that I suspect will wither away and die if they are not clasping their hands together whenever they are around each other. Barely a hello is exchanged, it’s simply a frantic grab of the hand as soon as their love is within arms reach. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holding hands with my husband now and again, but I also enjoy not having a sweaty palm while being attached to a 6’8″ man and trying to navigate these halls stuck to another human being.
13. General Rudeness: Overall, one can’t help but notice that people have become poor mannered and oblivious to everyone around them. No more “excuse me,” no apologies for anything, no care for anyone else’s personal space or desires; it’s a selfish world and it gets worse every day. Doors get slammed in my face, women bump into me because they refuse to move and don’t care that I am already shoved against a wall, trash is spilled on the floor, messes left behind, and no one cares. I enjoy my walks with my husband, but it’s frustrating to see the decline in our behavior. On the positive side, the cast of characters we see always gives us a bit of entertainment as we make our rounds.