The Accidental Nod

Veronica Garza

I’ll start by saying this — I shouldn’t work here. Here being one of those huge New York City media agencies where the staff consists of attractive 23–27 year olds that manage to wear the latest trends, always get VIP at clubs that wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing Jordans, and maintain an apartment in the city despite being paid in what can only be described as bread crumbs. Who am I kidding though — nobody here actually eats bread. You don’t need experience here. Just don’t eat carbs. Seriously, don’t you dare eat carbs. Someone once left a cake in a conference room and a girl named Jamie cried. Plus, the majority of staff has no for sure idea what it is this company does. Advertising? Well sort of. Media planning? Perhaps. Happy hour? Duh (hair toss). Tito’s and soda please-you know Tito’s is gluten-free? They ask if you are fluent in using Excel when you interview here, but I’ve never seen anyone actually use it.

I’ve worked here for five years and in that time I’ve successfully slipped into cube life. In fact, I’ve become so comfortable in my work routine that nobody even notices when I am not in the office. Once, due to sickness, I had to be out for an entire week. I came back to glitter spread all around and a half-consumed bottle of champagne sitting at my desk. I still have that champagne since it’s the good stuff and I’m not wasteful. Regardless, some might say, nobody cares about me here — which is true — but I like that. I once wore the same sweater five days in a row to see if anyone would notice. On the fourth day, my boss complimented said sweater. There’s that one year I went to the holiday party at Tao, but didn’t actually get in because my boss forgot to put my name on the list. It’s okay, the bouncer was super nice and let me be the first to peak inside anytime the door would open. It looked like fun. But despite that, things are great. Well, I should say, things were great.

I made a big mistake (NO- I did not bring carbs to the office or warm up fish in the office microwave). Some might say it’s worse than wearing white after Labor Day or missing an episode of The Bachelor-both reasons for public execution on floor 17.

Monday morning, as I waited for coffee from one of the four electronic coffee machines in the ‘bistro’ (don’t you dare call it a kitchen) I turned around just as one of the Mikes mentioned the game the night before. I’ll note I’m not really sure of his name, but who other than a ‘Mike’ wears golf polos to work? I don’t care if Tiger Woods wears them. So what game was Mike talking about? Who cares. But as he mentioned some highlight by some what I will assume is a 24 year old athletic phenom that makes more money in a week than I will in my lifetime, I nodded. Maybe it looked like I was in agreement that it was a good game or perhaps it appeared I was a fan for the New England…Bats? Who knows. There could be bats in New England. Also, how selfish is that to name a team after an entire region? Can a nod make a sound? That one did. It was loud and Mike heard it. It sounded like, “I get you, bro.” Remember when Daniel LaRusso won the all valley karate championships and was carried by the crowd? The moment he looked over and Miyagi nodded? It was like that but if Miyagi would’ve yelled “right on, bro” immediately after.

It came as a shock to me to when Mike put his hand up so that I could slap it with my hand. All I kept thinking is, “What have you done?” I then continued to nod for five minutes and Mike continued talking. The more I nodded, he talked. It was a weird spell, because I couldn’t stop. It might be the longest anyone has ever nodded in their life ever. In what felt like a decade of nodding, I learned that Mike was a Division I lacrosse player and that athleticism created his strong work ethic. Yes, all his choices on a field hitting other guys with a stick brought him to that specific spot in the kitchen — I mean bistro standing in front of me to share that story. I eventually trailed off and counted every bad thing I’ve done in my lifetime. I wanted to pinpoint the most vile thing I’ve done since it only makes sense this entire interaction was a punishment for my bad decisions. I’m sorry to anyone I’ve ever hurt. I received my karma, and it’s name is Mike.

Since that moment of what I will describe as D-day, every time I attempt to get a coffee, Mike asks if I watched the game last night. Kill me now. But before I die — I have a few questions for Mike:

Are there games every night? Is this one sport? How long does it last? When is the season premiere? What about the finale? Are there guest appearances? Am I allowed to write off any of this watching on my taxes? If you support a team enough can you claim it as a dependent? What exactly is a Shaq Attack and does mase protect you from it?

While I find all of this information very accessible on the internet, I’m much more concerned about Mike’s constant zeal and incessant need to discuss what happened. Does he not know? Maybe he is watching a different game than everyone else. Maybe he’s stuck in his own meta-existence and questions the whole reality of the game even happening.

Who knows. Regardless, it’s the playoffs, but why would it even be “off”? Seems like it’s always on. And last night some guy named Tom “threw in the towel” and I’m not entirely sure if he will ever get it back. Well, at least that’s what Mike told me as we high-fived and I walked away looking on my phone for a Starbucks that’s closest to the office. The barista there is also named Mike, but I’ll manage.

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