“Good afternoon gentlemen. Jack, Dario… Howzit?”
“Welcome back Brian. Beets again?”
I set down my lunch, take a seat and start eating. The boys are in the middle of discussing yesterday’s football game and know I won’t have anything to add, so they leave me to eat in peace.
The topic of what I’m eating only appears to be affecting Jack. Before returning to football, Jack confirms with me, as to the contents of my beet-themed veggie mix and after I mention the eggs (“for protein”) he makes several comments about how much he likes to eat meat and then begins to reference some of his favorite ways of doing so. If Jack is trying to goad me into talking about healthy eating again, it’s not going to work.
I’m not biting.
I take another bite of my delicious lunch and Jack goes back to join the others in condemning the performance of so-and-so player on such-n-such football team and how that led to the boys’ current disappointment in yesterday’s game. I don’t know these other guys at all but I’ve seen a few of them around the breakroom before. So many new guys. Yesterday Jack was the only driver I knew at all here but the game was in full swing and he was jumping up and down and shouting with the rest so he only barely acknowledged me then.
On my first day back.
Today is my first weekday back (after my four month absence) and although Jack and Dario are the only familiar guys at the table, plenty of my fellow “old-timers” are scattered about the large breakroom. Things feel relatively normal.
The topic has now changed. A young man is responding to Jack having mentioned the last time he killed a wild pig or something having to do with that common favorite activity among local men here in Hawaii.
“You didn’t take it over the Pali did you Jack?”
“No, of course not. We went around Likelike way.”
“The spirits wouldn’t have liked it if you’d taken it over the Pali.”
“I know, I know… I wouldn’t do that. It’s a superstition but I believe. I believe lost of superstitions.”
“I believe the superstition too.” says Dario.
“I believe.” Chime in the rest of the men at the table (except for me of course).
The young man looks at me and I weigh my words carefully.
“All cultures have their superstitions eh? And everyone has a right to their beliefs.” The young man smiles and nods. I have never spoken to this relatively new driver before so I decide to engage him a bit more. “What’s your name by the way?”
“Really, my name is Brian too. That makes four of us. I hope you spell it right.” I smile to let him know I’m joking but he doesn’t seem to get it.
“What do you mean, is there a wrong way to spell my name?”
“I’m sorry, I was being facetious.”
Jack then breaks in. “Facetious? Ok now, what does that mean professor?”
“It means to take something less serious than it is in a slightly inappropriate way, but without malicious intent. In other words, joking around a bit with something that might be serious but you don’t mean to offend. If you meant to offend, that would be flippant.”
“I like it” Jack laughs. He asks me to spell it and starts repeating his new word a few times.
“Looks like Jack has a new word of the day. Good going Brian.”
I love my job but sometimes…
Oh never mind.