Monday, April 23, 2007

Force of Friendliness

I am sick.

But you knew that already.

What I meant to say was that I am ill. Hit me on Saturday night. I tried to laugh it off, saying it was just allergies after my first longish bike ride of the season. But by 10 p.m., it was very clearly more than that.

Yesterday, despite it being 77 degrees and sunny, I could barely force myself to go outside. I just wanted to loll around on my bed and moan, "ugggghhhhh." My nose is red and drippy, my head is pounding, I'm hot and cold, and everything aches.

Would have been a great day to stay home.

But, alas, I had our weekly Napoleanic call - all 2 plus hours of it. I missed last week's event, since I was in Hotlanta setting up for the tradeshow. Even then, Napolean was miffed that I didn't call in. (Um, high, elbow deep in Skyline Exhibits anyone?) So no way I could beg off this week.

So, here I was, at 8:25 a.m. in a congestion-induced haze, barely tasting my coffee but sucking it down nonetheless in the vain hope that it would help me focus. I'm barely aware of being alive (except dead people's heads don't hurt this much) much less know what's going on around me.

But this clearly upset the woman who works in the other office on our floor. She was (apparently) riding the elevator with me - and four or five other people. And when I got off, she got off behind me, clearing her throat. Loudly. "Good morning?" It wasn't a greeting. It was an accusation.

Now, I'm all for being nice to strangers. I let people in front of me in traffic, I talk to people in the checkout line at the grocery store. But I don't think it's my place to force kindness or friendliness from others.

I wasn't actively ignoring this woman - I was genuinely oblivious of her existence. But that said, I have no desire to have this woman in my life, no longing to be friends with her. So why did she feel it incumbent upon her to force friendliness out of me?

I should have walked up to her, given her a great big hug, and then coughed in her face.