Let’s talk about Corduroy’s first day of work.
A new man was getting settled in a desk facing mine. He was close enough I could detect a Scottish accent. Accents of any kind are like bacon and eggs to the American ear. As soon as our ears detect an accent, it’s impossible for us Americans to not stop, drop, and roll over to the foreigner and beg for their impersonations of saying “ladder” or “cabinet”.
The newcomer and I were far enough from each other that I didn’t catch his name. It was something probably like Leaf Vikingson or Redblood Beard although he had neither beard or leaves in sight. So, I named him Corduroy with a note to get his actual name later.
The day passed on without event. Until I sensed that something was wrong. I glanced up towards his desk to witness a puzzling scene unfolding.
Corduroy was slowly peering to his right side, trying ever so hard to be inconspicuous. My maternal spidey senses started tingling right when he started peeking out of the corners of his eye. I didn’t even have to physically see him looking off to the side to know he was doing it. I don’t know if it was a shift in the air, or if I could sense the aura of something childish about to happen, but I looked up, Mother’s Third Eye burning on my forehead.
Yes. Being a parent does wicked cool things to you.
Anyway, I funneled my force into Corduroy, attempting to thwart whatever dirty action he had in mind. He couldn’t not see the Eye tunnel visioning on him. Except, he could. Unfortunately, Corduroy possessed the strength of inobservance, and all the power of the Third Eye was redirected back to me. It was blinding.
Once he was satisfied that his right side was clear, he made an equally slow head swivel to the left to do the same. It was a perfect 180 degree arc around his head.
I was staring directly in his face. In. His. Face. I still didn't know what he was up to, but it couldn't possibly be good.
Corduroy appeared satisfied that his immediate radius was free from any potential observers. Except, of course, the space right in from of him but apparently myself and my Mother’s Third Eye were blind to him.
Where have I felt that before?
(Hint: I have children.)
Then I noticed the finger making straight for the nose.
The following choice of action was so magnetizing that it was impossible to look away. I was stunned at his audacity to go full force in workplace gold digging, so I was unable to speak any words to him. I had to rely on the Third Eye to telecommunicate any messages to him.
There is no wall, Corduroy.
The digging continued.
THERE IS NO WALL, CORDUROY.
You know what? It worked.
With a start, Corduroy acknowledged the nagging presence of the Third Eye and looked dead into my eyes. His face flushed red. The finger remained halfway up the nostril, forgotten. The Third Eye is effective like that. Once eye contact was made, he buried his face behind his screen. We both busied ourselves with our work and avoided looking at one another for the rest of the day.
You're probably thinking that was the longest and most interesting story you've ever read about a Scottish man picking his nose. But friend, the story isn't over.
The first thing I noticed the next day coming into work was that Corduroy had put up a cardboard sleeve large enough to shield Camelot and their knights in front of his desk, blocking any further interaction between us.
Corduroy had built the wall. That divide between us prohibited any contact for the remainder of our time at that job.
Almost a year later, I happened to cross Corduroy in a hallway. I figured now was as good as ever to rebuild bridges, and so I called out as we approached each other “Hey Corduroy!”
As he scurried down the hallway away from me without response, it occurred to me that I had forgotten that his name wasn’t actually Corduroy. To this day, I have no earthly idea what it actually is. Funny how you can really get to know someone without knowing them at all.
My biggest regret is that I never got to hear him say "cabinet".