ATLANTA — Two cubicle neighbors who haven’t seen one another in over twenty-four months are basically caught up on one another’s lives in under a minute after returning to the office, sources in neighboring cubicles report.
“Ellie [Woods] and I aren’t in the same department so we weren’t on any Zoom meetings together during the pandemic,” Gia Burton said while dejectedly refilling her free coffee, which is the only perk of not working from home. “It was so good to see her. I asked her what was new, she said ‘not much,’ I said the same and that was pretty much it. I’m not really into college football so that really puts a damper on topics of conversation for us. I’m still not sure if Gia is married or not, so I try to avoid any questions about her personal life.”
Woods agreed that they were pretty much all caught up within seconds of seeing one another.
“I didn’t think it would get so awkward so quickly. At least Casey [Delgado] in Data Analysis had a baby, so we were able to talk about that while I microwaved my lunch,” Woods said while trying to remember how to send a document to the shared printer. “I’m actually worried that she’ll realize that I completely forgot what her name is. It’s been two years, I don’t think anyone will be offended that I forgot their name. I could tell her I got COVID and still have brain fog from it if she asks.”
Human Resources expert Lorene Bell explained that this is a pretty common occurrence with people returning to work.
“Having spent so much time with people they actually care about, like family and friends, we’re seeing that people are forgetting how to perform mindless banter with people they wouldn’t actually choose to spend time with,” Bell said. “Luckily, everyone still seems to be talking about ‘Squid Game’ so that’s providing some padding for elevator conversations. We suggest you don’t waste all your anecdotes in one big ‘catch up’ session and pepper them out over the weeks after your return in case you end up waiting in line to use the restroom together, or are caught walking to your cars at the same time after work.”
Fortunately, a recent outbreak of COVID in the building sent everyone back to remote work before any more awkward conversations were had.