Friday, July 3, 2009

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

So this week at work was a breeze. With the holiday weekend we were given Friday off and excused at least two hours early by a broadcast message for all DOT employees Thursday afternoon. I was done long before then so it was more like a half day for me.

Earlier in the week, I was invited to a co-worker's farewell; he has orders to report for duty in Iraq. I was stoked to be invited personally by the guest of honor. He's always got a smile on his face with an easy-going attitude to accommodate it. He also knew a little bit of signs when I first met him so naturally he was cool by me.

Although I don't know him well, I could tell he is well-received by his peers and co-workers. I was honored to be there and even more so when he stopped to hug me and say, "In case I don't see you when I come back." I only wish him the best of luck in his endeavors and a safe return home.

I finally met another co-worker who has been on detail since I first arrived. I was pleased when I saw him signing to me! Finally a co-worker I'd work with directly who knows signs! He claims he knows a little, but really he knows more than enough and I can easily carry on a conversation with him.

Interesting enough, I've noticed that my black co-workers seem to understand me best at work. Most of them don't even know signs, but they can read me and my signs with ease. I wonder if that has anything to do with their cultural influences or impact. I think black culture values and utilizes facial expressions along with cues from body language more so in their exchange of communication. Thus, they seem more visually-inclined to read and interact with me. Whatever it is, I am glad they have that capacity because it facilitates communication and makes work that much more pleasurable.

On another note, I was red with embarrassment Tuesday when the Secretary of DOT sought me out and waved hello to me in the Headquarters lobby. He was across the room from me when he spotted me, and all I could see was a man waving my way. I couldn't make out his face, but everyone looked my way when he waved. So I assumed it must have been for me, but by the time I made out his face and hastily waved back he was well on his way to the elevators. God, that was embarrassing... That was the third time I'd caught him, and yet I'd never thought I'd catch him casually walking past me in the lobby. Note to self, I need to be more aware of my surroundings at work especially when the Secretary greets me with his presence!


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