Thursday, February 21, 2008

the coworker, part deux

I was going to blog about the six dozen oatmeal and oatmeal raisin cookies I made today, but this was more interesting and has been waiting longer. Remember Evan? My friend with the rude coworker?

Things got worse. The aforementioned coworker contracted some vile respiratory illness that resulted in a hacking, deathly cough. The sort of cough that leaves your chest a bit sore. The cough progressed for weeks, without abatement, and in addition to the crunchy snacks (Evan and I cannot figure out how anyone who is practically coughing spleen up every five minutes can choke down a large back of corn chips daily). Anyway, Evan asked whether this fellow had seen a doctor for the loud, disgusting illness, and the coworker said he hadn't.

Now, I could make this a post about how rude it is to go to work sick, and make everyone else sick, and cause them to use up their sick days, which they really need in case their kids or sick or they want to take a spur of the moment three day weekend to Cape Cod. Everyone already knows that's rude and does it anyway because they're saving their own days for kids with the grippe (I played too much Oregon trail in my youth) or weekend jaunts in nautical-themed clothing.

Instead, I'm going to post about how S and I decided it would be a perfectly simple situation if only Evan were a woman. Now, I know that sounds sexist, but if I were the sort of person who was overly touchy about feminism and social discourse and race issues etcetera etcetera etcetera I probably would have titled this blog differently. For one, both men and women seem more receptive to women. Maybe it's the nurturing thing or maybe women just seem like less competition (oh well, that was dumb!), but time after time I have seen the so-called "woman's touch" in action. The women in my life have always been better at getting money back after the return/exchange policy was up, convincing that guy in the movie theater to move one seat over, and fixing random stranger's tags, collars or drooping scarves. Perhaps this is just something women are raised to do, and I would venture an extremely unscientific guess that it's a difficult to assess combination of non-threatening-ness, ingrained sweetness and perhaps, sexual attractiveness.

S and I decided that if Evan were a woman, he could show up with a bag of cough drops and a cup of tea, which would probably give the coworker at least a small hint that his hacking was noticeable (just a small jump to "interruptive"). If he actually used the things, they might work and could give our female Evan a chance to make a few hack-free phone calls. Also, female Evan could use his womanly touch to seem like a caring and thoughtful person when (s)he recommended the coworker stop by the doctor's office. I'm not a man (and this gender switching is starting to confuse me, it'll stop soon), but I think if plain old man Evan were to ask the coworker more than once whether he'd seen a doctor, let alone gently encourage him to do so, it would come off in a much more threatening way. Not to mention in my experience men aren't as eager to share health information, they seem a little more close-lipped on these subjects. Of course, almost everything in the last two paragraphs is a massive generalization that could be proven inaccurate in sixty billion situations, but I think the main idea makes some sense. As male, non-friend coworkers, Evan and the coworker have a communication problem.

I'm still writing a post about what Evan could actually do, but I thought I'd find out whether readers feel the same way. Would this subject be easily more easily resolved if only Evan were a woman?

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