I was involved with last summer’s intern cadre for our program because, well, I kind of like that stuff. I like inspiring young minds. Also, I like stealing their
souls ideas. Also, there’s something to be said about hanging out with youngins at work. 1) It makes you remember youth and 2) it makes you kind of glad you’re old.
One of the interns was a lad who was a pilot. He came to us from a far off, foreign land called Raleigh, where he worked in an airport control tower. This lad loved to read. Man, like, seriously. He read text books for fun. He could recite business models to you off-the-cuff.
He exhausted me.
I knew that when he stepped in my office that I should stop whatever I was doing, because a thirty minute conversation would ensue. And he would sketch stuff out on my white board, theories like the Japanese theory of “wa” or the “green and clean” mantra about accountability and responsibility. And after he left, I’d exhale.
.. but I realized that I would go home and tell Bryan the exact same conversation.
A shuffling of office spaces landed us sitting in the same office, and I was nervous. I’d had the same office mate for years, and I dunno.. it’s just new to move, right? Have to relearn stuff? By this point, he had moved from his internship to a full-time position with us, although he had been accepted to a very selective rotational program up in the Northwest and was counting down his months left on the space side of things.
Discussing things like economics or World Wars or religion or conspiracy theories had never really been my thing at work. I’m always the first to say that I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to cash a paycheck. (That said, I like to like the people I work with and I do like them, for the most part.) But our conversations would just range from ANYTHING. From the holographic technology of Tupac at Coachella to the impact of economic embargoes on Germany, anything was fair game. (And typically illustrated on our white board.) We talked about Jack’s troubles in school, about Bryan’s company being bought out, about his life as well.
And sushi. My God, we talked about sushi.
When we moved to the new building, he was on a row behind me where we couldn’t see eachother. Didn’t matter; I could constantly throw half of a quote over my shoulder and he’d finish the rest. It wasn’t uncommon for me to mumble “Here I go, here I go, here I go again.. girl’s what’s my weakness?” and have him yell “MEN!”
So Monday was his last day. And because we’re both too emotional to be honest with goodbyes, I didn’t tell him how much I’d miss him, or how much I’d learned from him. I didn’t tell him that he’d made me realize how cynical I’d become, or how he reminded me that workplaces can totally be fun. I’m gonna miss him. A lot.
I’m not here to make friends, but it’s really cool when they accidentally happen.
(GOOD LUCK, PATRICK!)