So long to that guy
It is with great sadness that this blog announces the departure of a beloved character: The guy who sits next to me at work.
The guy who sits next to me at work showed up in Sunday’s column (click here), where he confessed to a troubling lack of hobbies. His most notable column appearance occurred last May (click here), when I wrote about his dislike of scofflaws, and how I finally endeared myself to him by replacing my missing front license plate. “It’s about time,” he said, when I told him I planned to go to the DMV and fix the problem. “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a scofflaw.” I’ve also written about his love of milkshakes and words, particularly hooliganism and muffalettas.
Upon reflection, I think the best thing about the guy who sits next to me is his sterling sense of humor. We live in a world in which good senses of humor are in short supply, and the guy who sits next to me at work makes me laugh on a fairly consistent basis. He’s such a joyful presence that here in the far corner of the room we’ve nicknamed him Ray, as in, “He’s such a ray of sunshine” or “Ray’s here! I feel better already!” If we weren’t a bunch of introverts, we would no doubt greet his daily arrival with the singing of “For he’s a jolly good fellow.”
Without the guy who sits next to me at work around to lift my spirits, I risk falling into a late-afternoon depression on an almost daily basis. The office already seems like a much darker, grimmer place. Which begs the question: Is it possible to replace your ray of sunshine? The answer, I fear, is no.
Certainly I’ll be able to email the guy who sits next to me at work with little jokes about Eat, Pray Love, unscrupulous absinthe dealers in the Czech Republic and the Gazette’s overuse of the word “prober.” But it won’t be quite the same. Some people are buzz killers. Others, like the guy who sits next to me at work, are buzz givers.
The guy who sits next to me at work tolerates my messy desk, my late afternoon snacking and my occasional use of his telephone, even though I always twist the cord and leave things askew. He even lets me call him “Uncle Brian!” in a squeaky, high-pitched voice, and repeat an incomprehensible phrase we once heard (“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”) over and over again.
It’s the rare person who can tolerate such childish antics, and the guy who sits next to me at work not only tolerates my childish antics, he laughs at them. I keep telling him that the people at his next job won’t be nearly as funny or witty as his current colleagues, but he’s leaving anyway.
No doubt the guy who sits next to me at work will resurface one day, though I can’t say where or when. But he won’t be the guy who sits next to me at work, I can tell you that. He might be the guy who used to sit next to me at work, or the artist formerly known as the guy who sits next to me at work. He’ll have some other name, for sure. But beloved characters have a way of living on, in life and in memory, and I doubt we’ve heard the last of the guy who sits next to me at work.
Got a comment? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.