So, Gopher-Man just got back from vacation, and I never could have predicted what stories he’d come back with. I generally try to avoid conversations with Gopher-Man, because he is so incredibly long-winded it’s painful to have to hear him out. He pulled me aside yesterday, though, to express his concern that he is not the best resource to be assigned to do some work that he’s been asked to do. A typical escape attempt on his part, but this one a bit more subtle than normal. I listened and listened and listened, and then suggested that if he really thought he wasn’t the right guy for the work he was assigned to do, he should talk to his boss, which is not me. I tried to give him this advice in the most compassionate way possible, considering I could’ve spit out the sentence after two of his, but had to listen to fifteen minutes of his introducing the concept to me instead. When I finally had the opportunity to put in my two cents, he nodded his head seriously, and told me that he, too, realized, this was what he needed to do. But he was so concerned about giving the wrong impression to his boss, he was afraid to have that conversation. In an effort to motivate him, and make it not my problem, I offered to talk to his boss for him, knowing he would turn me down.
I then made a horrible mistake. In an effort to make some polite small-talk after our heart-to-heart, which was clearly quite stressful for him, I asked about his injured finger. His ring finger on his left hand was all wrapped up. When I looked closely, I could see the stiff outline of a finger splint under the wrapping. It wasn’t wrapped in just anything, though. It was wrapped in what I am pretty sure was one of those awful plastic grocery bags. The wrapping was pretty puffy and wrinkled, as though he’d circumnavigated his digit with plastic multiple times, then wound a rubber band around and around the base of his finger, criss-crossing it repeatedly to make it tight enough. I couldn’t for the life of my understand the need for the plastic grocery bag on his hand – I had to find out more.
Turns out while Gopher-Man was on vacation, he slammed his finger in between two doors, breaking it and beginning a long-lasting blood-gushing ordeal, in which he ended up in a hospital in Thailand and got stitches. What I just wrote in one sentence, though, took another ten minutes for him to explain. He can’t leave the finger alone – he’s constantly squeezing it with his good hand, running his fingers up and down and over the curvy part of the metal splint, even trying to flex his broken finger despite the stiff metal holding it straight. He’s like a six-year old that has to constantly peek under his band-aid. I never did ask outright if he’d wrapped it in a garbage bag. I don’t have guts enough to do that, but I swear, the Safeway logo was tucked away in there somewhere.
You may have noticed that Gopher-Man went to a hospital in Thailand. I, too, was intrigued by this part of the story. I’ve been to Thailand. It’s a beautiful country, and I thought perhaps we could talk about something that maybe wouldn’t drive me so absolutely crazy as everything else I have to discuss with him. So I asked him about it. I asked if he’d been visiting friends, or just travelling alone, and I almost fell over when he told me he went there to “get engaged.” I’m not sure if I’ve made clear that Gopher-Man is not a young man. I’d put him in his fifties somewhere. He is mostly bald, with just a few hairs on the top of his head that look really soft and wispy. The only conclusion I could come to was that he ordered a bride from Thailand. I am not sure if I am right, but so far, that is where the story goes in my head. Next week, I will brave the conversation current in an effort to find out the gory details of his engagement, and don’t worry — I will share them with you. I’m sure you can barely wait!