Gus is a local Lions member who stocks our employee snack machines. He comes in a couple of times a week. It keeps him busy. He likes to stop by my office and say hello. I like Gus. He’s one of the good guys-retired fireman, vet, adoptive father, and generous volunteer. The problem with Gus is he likes to tell me 11 stories in one sitting about people I don’t know and he never finishes even one story before launching into the next. A conversation with Gus is like I imagine entering a black hole might be-you never know where you’ll end up, you just know you’ll be lost.
But Gus and I have been talking like this for years, him standing by my desk looking down at me over the top of his tri-focals, me looking up at him trying to keep my hands in my lap instead of on my keyboard, my attention on him instead of my screen. Where all my work is. And after all these conversations, I’ve sort of got a feel for what he’s talking about 50% of the time, so when he launches into the story about the guy who hasn’t said where the meeting is going to be, I know he’s talking about the regional guy with control issues who insists on making the event arrangements but never follows through until the last minute. When he talks about the Chinese place, I know he’s talking about the area lady who handles the local meetings that he’s always trying to move to my venue where I do not want them. When he talks about the hospitals I know he’s talking about all the charitable donations his organization is responsible for. When he talks about his ex-wife I know he’s talking about his current girlfriend, and when he talks about how simple-minded he is, I understand that he takes a group approach to his life, getting advice from a large number of people, which seems pretty smart to me.
Gus interrupts my day, ruins my flow, sets me back, tells me the same 11 stories every time he visits and yet, I’m always happy to see him and not because he brings me expired candy bars. Although that doesn’t hurt. Do you have a Gus in your life?
P.S. Well done Virginia and New Jersey! Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.