Confessions of an Undercounter Lurker

I’m an ice cream addict, and my nephew recently offered to let me hide under the Dairy Queen counter so he could feed me any treats he’d made wrong.  Little did he know that lurking under counters is not a new activity for me.  (And I didn’t enlighten him.  There are some things a fifteen-year-old doesn’t need to know.)

If you’d told me twenty years ago that I’d spend a substantial amount of time on my knees under co-workers’ desks, I’d probably have slapped you.  And a few years later, I’d have had to apologize.  Because I ended up doing exactly that.

Wait a minute.  If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, not exactly that.  Jeez.

For a lot of years, the joke around the office was, “If you can’t find Diane, look under your desk”.  I was working as a network administrator, and I spent far too much time hunched under desks, connecting and disconnecting various computer-related plugs and cables.

Aside from the carnivorous dust bunnies, I didn’t mind having to crawl around on the floor frequently.  I hate dressing up, and it gave me an excuse to never wear a skirt to work (or any particularly nice clothes, for that matter).

And it was peaceful down there.  Nice and dark and quiet.  Sometimes it was tempting to just hole up for the day and spout incomprehensible technical jargon if challenged.  Kind of like a deranged techno-troglodyte:  “Back!  Back, I say!  Or I’ll ping your IP ‘til your CAT5 sizzles like an electrocuted snake!  I’ll FDISK your drive ‘til it can’t find its FAT with both hands!  RAM!  FAP!  Buwahahaha!”

I can’t understand why my coworkers always seemed… wary.

I’ve actually hidden under a desk to avoid people, too.  I prefer to call it “a clever strategic decision”, not “cowardice”, but you can form your own judgement.

I was hiding from my ex-husband.  Who had just encountered my brand-new boyfriend at the door to my house.  There was a dog and a bag of cherries involved.  Let’s just say it was complicated.

I couldn’t decide whether it would be worse to make an appearance and potentially exacerbate the situation, or to get caught huddling under my desk.  How do you explain hiding like a kid, when you’re thirty-three years old?  “Um, I just dropped something…”  Ten minutes ago, when the doorbell rang for the first time.  Yeah, right.

Anyway, I didn’t get caught, both the dog and the cherries ended up where they belonged, and both males departed unscathed, if not unruffled.  I like to think I made the right decision on that one.

I’m going to skip the Dairy Queen gig, though.  Wouldn’t want this undercounter thing to become a habit.

Any other lurkers out there?


As Charles points out in the comments, you can’t just leave a situation with an ex-husband, new boyfriend, a dog, and a bag of cherries without explanation.  So go for it.  Use your imagination, and drop your best explanation of “what *might* have been” in the comments below.  I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday and send out a (probably not so) magnificent prize.