I call him Mr. Integrity, but it’s not important why. His ex is one of my besties. Otherwise we’d probably never talk, or maybe we’d talk more. In any case, we work together. And he’s walking toward me right now, his hat all askance in the effortless laissez-faire fashion of bullshit iconoclasts.
“Dude, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m clipping my nails.”
“In the parking garage? At work?” He smiles, but only for a moment. He wouldn’t want me to think he cares. About anything, ever.
“It was time,” I say, instantly exhausted by the hopelessness of the conversational girder I suddenly find myself pinned beneath.
“You couldn’t do it at home this morning?”
“They weren’t ready yet,” I explain, the delivery of each word a supreme struggle. I decide I should mentally prepare myself to teach him how to breathe, should it come to that.
“So you brought a nail clipper with you? Just in case?” he inquires. You know, inquisitively.
“I always keep one in the car. Some people carry pocket knives or flashlights or boner pills. You never know. But when you need it, you need it.”
“Dude, you’re so OCD it’s ridiculous.”
“I do not have OCD.”
“You realize you park in this same space every day, right?”
It’s almost adorable how he thinks he’s got me cornered. Almost.
“That’s only so I can easily remember where my car is.” Dipshit.
But he isn’t finished. I can see him reaching for his ace in the hole. The one I put there myself.
“Didn’t you tell me once that every time you walk past the paper cutter, you think of chopping your finger off?”
Fucking hell. I never should have said anything.
“Maybe, but I only think about it. See?” I hold up my 10 fingers, their nails now perfectly trimmed, not too long, not too short. I wiggle them around a little bit, just to show off. I’m such a dick sometimes.
“Whatever, man. That’s still OCD,” he says with the sort of conviction you only get from people who believe in anything at all. I wonder for a moment if he has the entire text of the DSM-IV tattooed on his leg, but then our marketing coordinator squeals around the corner in her blue SUV, waving at us like we’re on fire. We might be.
Whatever. It’s better to burn out. And, anyway, I’m finished here.
“Listen,” I say. “Do you want to stand around in the parking garage all day talking about my non-existent problem, or do you want to start taking the 406 steps to the front door?”
Yeah. That’s what I thought.