Yesterday at work, I walked out of the office and bumped into a thin man who looked rather lost. He was wearing a business suit, carried a leather case and hesitated in front of our door. Honestly, it’s hard to get lost on this floor because there are only three offices. He was probably from a farm country. I offered my most helpful smile but didn’t say a word. We’re also a little suspicious of strangers, on the 20th.
He turned to the unmarked door across from ours and muttered, half to me, half to himself: "This must be primates." I smiled some more. That’s a clever one, I thought, never heard that before for the men’s bathrooms. Great sense of humour. He pushed on the door handle but it didn’t open. Our bathrooms are a high security area, you need a magnetic card to get in, and I guess all access is recorded downstairs at the Security desk, so that they know when and where… Never mind.
He started knocking on the bathroom door. One of my eyebrows arched, but I commanded it back down and stayed cool as ice. He was kind of dancing from one foot to the other and I figured he might have had an urgent need. "I’ll buzz you in", I offered, getting my card. The door beeped and he walked in, turned the corner and disappeared, the door closing behind him. I waited, unsure. I mean, our bathrooms are nice but you never know what people expect.
The door swung open again. He came out. On his face was an obvious conflict between an urge to laugh out loud and one of throwing a direct at my jaw. We stared at each other for a second or two, gauging the opponent’s resolution. I had a clear advantage, being on familiar ground and having just caught him knocking on the men’s door. Then he articulated a little slower. "I’m looking for Primus, it must be an unmarked door."Oops, so that’s what he’d said.
"Ah, I replied, of course, I think it’s there at the end of the corridor." I pointed to a door down the hallway, half hidden by transparent plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling and which a draft blew slightly open given the concourse an abandoned-spaceship-filled-with-aliens look. They’re renovating the 4th office on the right and the sheets are a vague attempt at containing dust and paint smells. But there is indeed an unmarked door at the end. They have servers and electronics in there but I rarely see them walk in or out and I don’t know the company details.
He walked over, eased his way past the loose obstacle, and knocked again, uneasy. No answer. He knocked once more, glancing back at me nervously; I think he must have suspected I was now directing him to the ladie’s. Come on, I encouraged silently, you can do it. I swear he jumped back at least a foot when the door finally opened. But someone he knew appeared and he entered looking around him as if watching for traps.
So I buzzed myself in, because I didn’t want to wet my pants.