I had a dream last night that a coworker died.
It’s weird enough dreaming about people you work with, even when they’re alive and well. I see these folks 8 hours a day. As much as I enjoy their company, I don’t necessarily want them to follow me home and crawl into bed with me. Err…so to speak. Haunting my non-waking hours is something I find a bit too forward. A line should be drawn somewhere, and for me, that somewhere is when the 5:00 whistle blows.
I should point out that a whistle doesn’t actually blow to signal the end of the day, as it did for Fred Flintstone when his shift ended at the Bedrock Quarry (nor, for that matter, do I use my feet to pedal my car home). There is a bell that chimes throughout downtown every day at noon, but that’s irrelevant. I’m just making a point. I don’t make it a habit to bring work home with me. Coworkers, either.
So when I woke up this morning and realized that Jack (not his real name) had met an untimely demise whilst I was slumbering, I was a little unnerved. Especially given my propensity for unwittingly killing celebrities as of late. Fortunately, Jack showed up at the office as scheduled, looking none the worse for wear. But I’ve gotta say, every time he walked by it felt like I was looking at a ghost. I debated telling him about the dream I’d had, but ultimately decided against it. What purpose would that serve? It would only freak him out. Audrey told me once she’d had a dream that I had died, and I was a nervous wreck for the next week. It’s not worth stressing the poor guy out.
He might drop dead of a heart attack or something.
I did, at one point, come up behind him while he was working. “Jack!” I said, chucking him manly on the shoulder. He was flesh and bone. Solid. This was a relief. “How are you feeling?”
“Great,” he said. “Thanks for asking!”
Speaking of work, right around the corner from my office there’s a State Farm insurance agency. I was walking by one day and noticed a Keurig coffeemaker in the lobby. How funny would it be, I thought, if I walked in one day, coffee mug in hand, and helped myself to a cup of joe?
“Hey,” I told my coworkers when I got back, “How funny would it be if I walked into the State Farm office one day, mug in hand, and helped myself to a cup of coffee?”
They agreed that such a brazen act would be quite hilarious, but doubted that I’d be brave enough to do it.
This was tantamount to the world’s biggest game of Chicken. Gauntlets had been thrown. I had to prove them wrong, didn’t I?
(OK, probably not. But that isn’t how I operate.)
So this morning, I decided it was go time. The weather was dreary and cold. By 9:30, a cup of coffee was sounding mighty appealing. I grabbed my mug, told my team “It’s on!” and strode purposely out the door and down the block, hesitating for maybe 2/10 of a second before pushing through the front door of the State Farm office. Three coworkers stood watching from across the street. Such a distrusting group, huh? Had to make sure for themselves I actually went through with it.
Fear not, kids. I Went Through With It.
I walked up to the Keurig, perused the K-cup selection, decided that Hawaiian Blend would hit the spot. My island roots, you know? I lifted the lid of the machine, inserted the K-cup, and pressed BREW. Within seconds a stream of hot coffee was filling my mug.
“May I help you?” the receptionist asked.
“No, thanks,” I replied, fixing her with a thousand-watt smile. “I’m just here for the coffee.”
“Are you a State Farm customer?” she pressed.
“Nope,” I said. “I’m an Allstate guy.”
Talk about rubbing salt in the wound.
She then suggested that perhaps I should visit my local Allstate office for a cup of coffee instead. My heart skipped a beat for a moment, but then she laughed, and the spell was broken. We introduced ourselves, and bade each other a pleasant day. I walked out of the State Farm office with a steaming hot free cup of coffee, and a newfound admiration from my coworkers.
“If nothing else,” I told them afterwards, “This proves that I’m willing to humiliate myself at the drop of a hat.”
Like a good barista, State Farm is there.