There’s a question I hate and it’s been asked a lot. I’ve mentioned this before. At lunch, I settled down to the stir fry. Made it the night before for lunch in hopes that my bank account will thank me later. So after reheating it, I sit at the table. My copy of M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts is left to just the side. Meaning to read it as I eat, of course. Though, I’ve never been able to read at eat. Watch TV? Sure. Play a video game? Yup. Work? Why not? But not read.

Most civilized societies know what certain social cues mean. An open book or wearing headphones/ear buds means the person is not open for a conversation. A closed book, on the other hand, means you’re about to get asked some personal questions. Questions that you’ve managed to dodge for a while now.

“So Guillermo,” the unwanted conversation starts, “are you in school?”

“No,” I respond.

“Why not?”

“Graduated already.”

The conversation veers a bit, but it’s back on track soon after. Why aren’t I looking into a graduate program? She thinks I would enjoy the library science program. It looks like it would suit me. “Have you thought about going into computers?” “Yeah, I thought about code before,” I say. It’s a half-truth. I did look into it and felt unbelievably bored looking at all the nonsense. Sure, it’s important nonsense; it’s just not the sort of nonsense I’m into.

“You’ll regret it when you reach my age,” she half concludes. How much older are you than me, lady? “Did you ever think about going back to college?”

“Sure. I thought about pursuing my MFA in creative writing. But I stopped writing a while ago.” Again, not entirely a lie.

“If I were you, I would have published a book by now.” Yes, because it’s that easy.

I finished my lunch. I grabbed my book. I left the lounge. It wasn’t abruptly. I’m not that rude. I hid in the supply room and read my book.

Work has been pulling on my nerves. Yesterday, I had a small lecture about a text sent after seeing nothing was set up the day because some oaf didn’t pick up after himself after Saturday’s event. The text was misconstrued as angry. I have to remember that this isn’t the team from the past. They’re not used to my nuances. They’re not too sensitive, and I can see how I was in the wrong. Suddenly feel like others are seeing me as the loaded gun with a hair trigger. It’s utter nonsense, I’m sure.

No matter, though. No matter how bad my day goes, our text message conversations eases it. We talk nonsense. We talk about work. We talk about whatever comes to our minds, whatever our imaginations give birth to.

And that’s something to look forward to.

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