January 27, 2011

How an employee handles a curve in the road

And by handling a curve in the road, I mean this literally, not figuratively.  Yesterday, I went for my daily 45 minute breakfast at the company cafeteria. I noticed that one of my favorite employees was scarfing down his usual breakfast of three eggs, three sausage patties, a biscuit, all smothered in gravy.  A low-cal dish it is not, and something that this portly, morbidly obese elder gentlemen could have done without.  The reason he is one of my favorite employees is that whenever I see him, he’s always out of breath - probably due to the strain put on his clogged arteries as he waddles from the vending machine to the elevator – and dressed in a plaid shirt and overalls (perhaps he didn’t receive a copy of the dress code manual), all of which makes me feel ever so slightly better about myself.

I was about to head back to my office when I noticed that Mr. Pooka was also getting ready to leave.  Since I strongly dislike interacting with my minions, I decided to hang back for a couple minutes and give him a head start. I should have waited longer since as soon as I got outside I saw that Mr. Pooka hadn’t made it more than 30 meters or so during the two minutes.  So now I’m stuck in this uncomfortable limbo.  Do I walk quickly and pass him, or do I start taking baby half-steps and keep a safe distance behind?

Since I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to my office, I decided to walk slowly.  My goodness man, did I have to walk slowly.  Even the mini-feet shuffling I was doing wasn’t good enough. I kept on drawing closer and closer to him.  I decided to pull aside and take out my Blackberry, pretending that I had some important email to take care of.  When the gap between us increased to what I thought to be a sufficient distance, I started walking again.

And then I witnessed what had to be the most awesome thing I’ve seen in a very long time.  Mr. Pooka was approaching a curve that was in the shape of a sickle with a wall lined on the right side of the curve.  The path looked something like this:

A normal person who’s not hampered by morbid obesity and respiratory issues would have taken the curve like this:

Unfortunately for Mr. Pooka, he was physically unable to manage the gentle curve of a corporate campus pathway without some creative maneuvering.  I stood there in amazement as I witnessed Mr. Pooka literally run himself into the wall and carom ever so gently into a new trajectory around the bend.  It was like watching one of the science shows on the human body and seeing a red blood cell bounce off an arterial wall.  He wasn’t intoxicated and he didn’t do this move accidentally.  He literally had to use the wall to navigate the path since he was unable to veer left with sufficient velocity to clear the wall.  Here it is in graphical form:

Starting today, I plan on eating my breakfast in the grassy lawn area next to the pathway to see if I can observe - and dare I say film - Mr. Pooka or any of the other waddling employees pull the ricochet move again.  Those guys at Discovery Channel and NatGeo are really missing out.  They should really come join me if they want to see some wildebeest in their natural element.  And ours do cool tricks.


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