Is there anything you can dispense with?
February 5, 2018

I’ll never understand how people who work in big companies get any work done. Offices, after all, are interruption factories. I know this because even with only one other person in my office, we can burn up a lot of time shooting the proverbial breeze.

That’s one reason I stopped saying “bless you” when Darrell sneezes. I felt vaguely guilty about it, even though I’d noticed he’d already stopped blessing me once in a while. Finally I just asked: “Have you noticed I no longer bless you?” Indeed he had. And you know what? It was a relief!

Here’s why. I’m a serial sneezer. Rarely is it just one. Usually it’s three or four, and I’ve gone up to twenty -- maybe even thirty -- at once. No kidding. It’s a gift.

The last one is the best. It’s as if the others are just warmups. I hadn’t realized what a predicament that posed for Darrell. Does he bless me after the first sneeze? No way. There are almost certainly more. But after how many should he step up? How can he decide? Does he wait for a long enough pause, a high enough decibel? You’ve sneezed. You know how it feels when something happens to thwart one. There’s at least a momentary, “Damn.”

Not saying anything at all keeps Darrell from worrying he’ll mess up the sequence.

What about you? Is there some little source of anxiety you could dispense with?