The Day a Stapler Was More Important Than Me
I walked through the door of that bank. That morning there was barely any customers. I was glad because this meant I was going to take some time to look at some gifts for Christmas. I knew that Christmas was still a few weeks away, but I put off buying gifts earlier and was now nervous about not finding the perfect gift.
Next to the counter there were a couple of tables, one empty and one with an office worker. I stood next to him. I look forward.
After a minute I realize that this person had not begun the typical social ritual that they teach us as children. “When someone enters, greet them”. His gaze remained jumping between the depth of the screen and the hieroglyphic list of numbers recorded on a paper next to the keyboard.
-It will be that he has not seen me – I think.
So I decide to move a little. After a while he has already demonstrated that he has seen me, but that he doesn’t have much interest in paying attention to me. It is clear that what he has in his hands is important, more than me, at least.
Five minutes later, I think something has happened.
He staples the papers, just at the moment where I think that I am someone of interest for that person. He takes one from a drawer and joins it with another one that had fallen to the ground. He staples them rather than looking at me. He staples another and then returns it next to the keyboard, next to the screen.
Five more minutes pass; with each second I am looking for that eye contact that allows you to initiate a conversation.
It comes the time where I think that I have spent enough time being polite and not interrupting his work. Anyone else would have said: Can I help you?
The next two minutes were dedicated to deciding if it would be worse if he never greeted me or if I interrupted his work.
Before reaching a conclusion on this issue, he looked up and said to me:
-“Can I help you?”
I nodded my head at the time I was explaining the reason for my visit. He then invited me to sit down, 16 minutes after having entered through the door. Which was more time than he dedicated to dealing with me.
Upon getting up he offered his hand to bid farewell to me. When our hands met, he switched his view to his stapler and I looked as well.
It was the last time I saw this stapler.