Today I got high. Not by inhaling or injecting any
chemicals into my body, but by passing around a lot of
smiles at work.
It all started when I woke up earlier than usual. I wasn't
in any rush to leave the apartment, and so the daily
goodbye kiss was longer than usual. And I had time
to tell more jokes than I normally do before heading out.
So my sweetheart put a nice smile on my face which lasted
me well beyond my arrival at the office.
Then at work, while scanning the first e-mails of the day,
I detected a small crisis brewing. My teammate in Boston
had graciously prototyped some code to help her test her
own part of our project. But when she tried to give the
developers in a related project her prototype code, so as
to give them a headstart at implementing functionality
that they are supposed to own and she's just supposed to
utilize from her project, they started whining. "Why do
you think we want that? We don't own that functionality.
Why are you dumping extra work in our laps?" Shit.
My co-worker puts everyone else to shame with how fast she
is at responding to e-mail. The other team's whining was
a whole hour old, and she had still not responded. I just
knew she was dying over there, staring in awe at the other
team's e-mail. I could easily imagine the horror stories
forming in her mind. Weeks and weeks of useless meetings
between her and representatives of the other team to clear
up the issues of who owns what. We do it too often, we all
get frustrated by it, and you can feel valuable time
slipping through your fingers when you're on the phone
trying to cajole some jerk-off into owning up to his
Aha! Quite some time ago, when we were all busily writing
up formal documents about what our projects did, who was
going to work on them, how long they'd take, etc... Some
guy was ranting and raving about a new process he needed
us to follow for identifying our requirements and tracking
them throughout all of our functional and design specs.
We griped secretly amongst ourselves from the tediousness
of it all at the time, but now there was a mechanism in
place for querying who actually promised to implement each
part of the system. Sure enough, within 5 minutes of
pointing and clicking through internal websites, I found
4 specific requirement IDs describing the functionality in
question. And they were most certainly owned by the team
who was now refusing to give a shit about them.
Being as diplomatic as possible, and controlling my urge
to be a smartass about it, I quoted the requirements and
their ID numbers, and pointed at the document describing
who owned them. And I confirmed that my colleague was
right all along, but in the dryest tone possible. I felt too good from earlier in the morning to want to hurt anybody's feelings, and charitable enough to butt in on a topic I am not directly involved in. And then, my co-worker in Boston is one of the most beautiful Chinese girls I have ever seen, so the motivation to impress her made me do it. But not being a braggart in the process was a really hard urge to suppress.
The tone of her next e-mail is what made me high. She
responded to my e-mail within seconds, signifying that she
was no longer staring at the other team's whiny e-mail and
thinking bad thoughts about what it might've led to. That
she wasn't just back on track, but even smiling about it
now, I could sense in the tone of her message when she
thanked me for solving the issue. And she was rejuvenated
now, being as sarcastic and witty as ever, showing
those whiney bastards no mercy, and no more tolerance
for their bullshit. I fixed her day.
But it wasn't just that. Totally out of the blue, she added a P.S. about also liking a joke I told her when we were lost wandering the hallways together last week in Silicon Valley. (She said the building was like a maze,
so I said something silly that maybe there were some high
school kids wearing capes and using twelve-sided dice to
find there way out of the middle of the building, in a totally Dungeons & Dragons sort of way.) I don't know
why she mentioned that, since it had nothing to do with the conversation we were all having. But what the hell? I suddenly liked the (possibly delusional) idea that the gorgeous girl in Boston that I work with thinks I'm smart
and funny, and maybe even likes me. And that's good enough for me, right now. I don't care if maybe she thinks
I have a crush on her, and bolstering my ego is all part of
some manipulative female plot. I just like smiling about
I've felt other kinds of highs. Like, when I used to date
this Vietnamese stripper who had fake breasts, and I'd
catch secondhand highs from whatever it was she would
smoke before or after we hooked up to have sex. Or,
like when a friend of mine brought her best pot over to
my place in a desperate attempt to lower my inhibitions and
hook up with me at least once before she moved away to
Boston last year. (A totally different girl from Boston...not the one I work with.) Feeling flirted with
as I did, and already being happy to begin with gave me
a similar, but much better feeling. Hell, it even felt
better than making out with 18 year old girls in the
bleachers at a rave. It was just that good of a high.
A smile is a terrible thing to waste, I figured, so before
any more stupid issues could come along and ruin my day, I
passed my good feeling onward. That one guy who worked so
hard long ago to make us gather up all that valuable data
about requirements seemed deserving of a nice big thank
you letter to brighten up his day! So I wrote up a few
examples from today and last week where having all that
information has helped us avoid ratholes in meetings, and
stupid debates between project teams. And I let him know
that I appreciated the good job he did insisting that we
do all that stuff. I saw the guy in the hallway an hour
later with a slightly happier skip in his step than usual,
so I knew the joy had been successfully spread.
Eww, I'm perverted! I'm talking about spreading joy
at work. I knew a girl named Joy, once...