Monday, November 14, 2011

Curried Koekie

Every office has them. The people you just don't get on with, prefer not to interact with, just can't connect.

So there's Whacko in my office. He refuses to use his work email (has no personal email either), which I think in this day and age, should set off alarm bells for NOT hiring. But unfortunately, he has a job and it's in our office. He's a classic conspiracy theorist (hence the "I will not have an email address because then THEY can follow me online" attitude), which does lead to some marvelous behind-his-back discussions.

One of my favourite conversations with him was on my birthday last year. I bought cake, then everyone gathered around for the devouring thereof, as is the horrible tradition. Whacko doesn't have email, so of course, he didn't receive the group "It's my birthday, please have some cake" message that got sent around so I had to tell him in person.

Koekie : "Hi Whacko, it's my birthday, we're having cake if you'd like some."
Whacko : "Cake? What for?"
Koekie : "My birthday"
Whacko : "Your what?"
Koekie : "My birthday. Celebration. Happens about once a year for some of us."

I chose not to add... I know you've been to these sort of gathering before, and yet you never seem to have a birthday yourself. Whacko-the-cake-scoffer, who apparently doesn't believe in hosting events, but has no objections to partaking in free food if it's there.

By this stage, we'd move to the colleagues gathering around the cake table.
Yet his confusion persisted.

Whacko : "You had a birth? Where's the baby?"
Koekie : "No. No babies. Happy birthday to me. I really don't know how to make this any clearer."

We now had everyone's attention, as tends to happen when Whacko lets us into his psychedelic world.
Finally, comprehension seemed to settle in.

Whacko : "Oooooooh, it's your... birth... day."
Koekie : "Yes.. Birthday. Today. Well done."
Whacko : "So you're a virgin!"
Koekie : "No, but thanks for checking. I think you mean Virgo."

And that was the last time I ever bothered with conversation. That and, 18 months after I joined the company, he could never remember my name. Which actually suited me, because I had a legitimate reason to ignore any attempts at conversation.

Unfortunately sometimes our paths do have to cross, like when we find ourselves in the kitchen together. Most days I manage to limit the interaction to simple grunted greetings, and we ignore each other for the rest.

Just recently, I was heating up some leftover Tikka Masala from Indian take-out the night before. It had a few more seconds to go and I was slavering over the microwave in anticipation when Whacko walked in. Great.

We grunted at each other and I turned my attention back to the microwave. Next thing, his head was right next to mine.

"Kerry," he barked into my ear.

I stood upright, faced him directly, deciding to make a point of correcting him once and for all.
"No," I said firmly, stabbing myself in the chest with my finger. "Koekie. My name is KOE-KIE."

He looked at me with a scowl and said, "I know that, Koekie. You're having curry for lunch.. I say it in Dutch: kerrie?"

So on the one occasion that he appeared to actually be lucid and was attempting have normal every-day conversation, I managed to make myself look like the crazy one. Oh well, now at least the feeling is mutual.