A coworker passed by my office on her way to get her lunch from the conference room fridge this afternoon. On her way back downstairs she veered left into my office. She leaned against the edge of my desk, balancing a plate of chain-restaurant Mexican leftovers on one palm, picking bites of food up and popping them in her mouth with the other hand as she spoke.
“What have YOU been up to lately? I haven’t seen you in FOREVER.”
I dug deep, didn’t mention the pointless hyperbole, and made what felt like appropriate noises in response…but I’ve been sitting here thinking of other things I’d like to have responded with ever since.
So, without further ado, I give you:
List Of Responses To Coworker’s Inquiry of What I’ve Been Up To Lately
I’ve been teaching myself Nepali so that I can negotiate better pricing with the Sherpas when I start putting together my Everest expedition.
I’ve been whittling a dildo out of teak wood.
I’ve been conducting interviews with the giant stinkbug that emerges from behind the filing cabinet every spring. Its name is Ferdinand and it has never left this office. I’ve not yet had the courage to ask what it eats.
I’ve been forcing myself to find new creative outlets in the hopes that they will help me better deal with this nagging feeling that I’ve wasted almost 11 years of my life doing a job I don’t like for money that I’m addicted to.
I’ve been teaching my dog to bark Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Jabberwocky’. We’ve been stuck on the word “vorpal” for a while now.
I’ve been knitting weasel traps.
I’ve been watching everyone downstairs work, which I have been achieving through an elaborate system of mirrors attached to the backs of my own private army of mice trained in the art of ninjutsu.
I’ve been hiding in the bathroom and crying. Or hiding in the bathroom surfing Instagram. Or hiding in the bathroom napping. Also, I had an inflammatory bowel issue a few weeks back, so for a while there I was doing actual bathroom stuff in the bathroom at least 75% of the times I went in there.
I just got back from a ten day trip to Mongolia, where I attended workshops on yurt design, innovations in yak-milk cheese making, and falconry. I settled for falconry because they told me I was too fat to ride the ponies. The Mongols are a harsh but fair people.
I’ve been lurking right behind you, lo these many weeks. My shallow breathing skills and lack of a reflection may have made it hard for you to notice.
I’ve been avoiding everyone because I’m terrible at small talk. You’ve been here like 7 years. I’m surprised you still ask.
I’ve been counting the tacks in all the bulletin boards in the office every day, just to make sure.
I’ve been memorizing a Swedish translation of the Gettysburg Address.
I’ve been setting fire to small pieces of paper with your name written on them, and chanting incantations to Kassogtha. Sorry in advance. Well, not really.
I’ve been mapping the capybara genome.