So there was Owen, walking down the hall at work, minding his own business, when all of a sudden, he sneezed.
It was a total ninja sneeze; it hit him without warning. All Owen had time to do was quickly put his hand in front of his face to contain the spray.
And it was a HUGE ninja sneeze. His head violently jerked forward as it left his nose, and when he reared back after the fact, his hand was coated with mucus.
And then it got worse.
At that exact moment, JoAnne rounded the corner and saw Owen, and her face lit up. She used to work in Owen’s department, and she and Owen were work pals. She’d moved on to another department a few months ago, but they were still in the same building, so every once in a while they’d bump into each other in the hall and catch up.
Another thing about JoAnne? She was a handshaker. A very, shall we say, PROACTIVE handshaker. The kind of handshaker who doesn’t meet you half way; the kind of handshaker who lunges into your personal space, grabs your hand, yanks it towards them and proceeds to pump vigorously, as if to say with each pump, “I! AM! GO! ING! TO! BE! AG! GRES! SIVE! LY! FRIEND! LY! WHETH! ER! YOU! LIKE! IT! OR! NOT!”
Sure enough, JoAnne rushed over to Owen and employed her usual handshake technique–on Owen’s mucus hand, before he’d had enough time to think and jerk it away in order to avoid what happened next.
JoAnne started to shake away while talking to him, and then…she stopped. She stopped talking, which was rare enough, and for the first time ever, she was the first of the two of them to loosen her grip. She pried her hand loose, silently looked at it, aghast, then looked up at him.
Owen wasn’t sure, but it felt like some snot was still hanging out of his left nostril.
So he did the only sensible thing: He quickly and silently turned and ran down the rest of the hallway, made a right into the stairwell, sprinted up the first flight of stairs, and hid on the landing.
Owen figured he could hang out there the rest of the day, and then–although it would require a good deal of planning and perfect timing on his part–he supposed he could figure out a way to avoid JoAnne forever, starting tomorrow.