Maybe it’s the way she talks with her hands. I know it’s not that she talks with her hands, but more how she moves them, the way she tries to explain everything with swooping bony fingers.
I’m the last person who should be saying, hey, don’t talk with your hands. If I actually had to say, “Hey, don’t talk with your hands,” I’m sure I couldn’t say it without waving my hands around in circles like a flight attendant or a castaway trying to flag down a rescue plane.
In fact, I don’t think I could utter two coherent words if I were forced to sit on my hands. I’d have to talk with my head or my ears, or something. But this isn’t about me. It’s about her.
When she talks with her hands she looks like she’s molesting the air around her, sticking her fingers in holes and around forbidden curves. Often the air around her is the air around me, and my air doesn’t appreciate it.
She’ll walk from her desk to mine, stand behind my chair and say, “I just thought of something.” She always says this and wants me to believe that she has really just thought of something. “I’m thinking that we need to consumerize these pages a bit more, you know?”
“Sure, no problem!” I lie, mortally afraid of telling her what I think; that I think, no, I don’t know, and that I wish she’d just go ahead and consumerize her ass.
By the time I’ve repeated “Sure, no problem!” seven times, her right index finger is fondling my monitor. Her left hand is pinching an invisible nipple in the air behind my head.
I’m not sure why I don’t stop her, right away, why I don’t slap her hand away from the trembling, imagined breast. There has to be some provision in the employee handbook that gives me the power to say, hey, look, you make me uncomfortable when you take advantage of the air like that.
But it really doesn’t matter. Employer-sanctioned provision or not, she’s one of those few people in my life who can render me wholly non-operational by simply entering the room. She just has that indescribable thing about her, the thing that makes me sweat and shake and mumble in a she-could-ruin-my-life kind of way.
One time she asked me how I was coming along on a certain project. And I swear to God, all I could spit out was, “Sure, I up in over there for going, um, sure.” And I just sat there blinking my eyes as fast as I could, hoping that maybe she didn’t notice.
She sat there staring at me for several seconds, confused, about to ask me to clarify, with her hands I’m certain, when my co-worker poked his head over the cubicle and said, “I think what she means is, ‘Sure, no problem!'”