Wednesday, August 03, 2005
FED Files - Volume VIII
As many of you know, the HDI Federal Center is much like a small city. We have a little shopping, a library, banks, military recruiting offices, a museum, etc. But one of my favorite attributes of the little city that is the HDI Federal Center is the gym. Obviously the term "gym" is not nearly cool enough and so it has been named "The Fitness Center". Apparently "Fitness Center" has more charm than "gym". The Fitness Center implements many programs. They offer free personal training to employees, a wide range of classes, groups, charitable events, etc. They even boast a heroic head-trainer, Jeff, who once saved a man's life when the man had a heart-attack in the Fitness Center.
Of course, out of the 2,000 people in the building probably only 200-300 use the Center with some sort of regularity. These 200-300 users can be broken into three categories. The people who work-out in the morning (we'll call them the "crazies"), the people who work-out at lunch (I'll call them the "smellies"), and those who work-out after work (I like to refer to these people as the "practicals"). I am a "practical". I work out after work, I get to the Fitness Center at exactly 4:38 every day, work-out for 30-45 and go home. Routine is an important part of a FED's existence. Most FEDs have loads of routines. 8:30 - coffee 9:00 - bathroom 9:30 - web-surfing 10:00 - coffee 10:30 - gossip with pals 11:00 - bathroom 11:30 - Lunch. You see how this breaks up the day nicely. Well, FEDs who value routine go to the Fitness Center at the same, exact times every day. So, when I work-out, I work-out with the same 50 people as I worked-out with yesterday, they day before, the day before that, and the day before that. I have never seen some of these people in street cloths. Likewise, there are people who will suddenly show up at the Fitness Center at a random time who I've never seen work-out before.
This is where the story begins. We have security guards in the building (obviously), and you get kinda accustom to seeing the same security guards all the time. One of our security guards was on "Back Gate"/"Back Door" duty for my entire first year. Meaning that some days he would check in my car at the "Back Gate" and some days he would check in my person at the "Back Door". You start to feel like you know your security guards. You talk to them every morning when you roll down your window and wait for them to shine their flashlight in you back seat, etc. You talk to them when you're putting all your stuff on the conveyor, and while you're walking through the metal detector. You talk to them about what you've brought in that day, because they see it all. "Oh, so you brought cupcakes today, huh? Someone's birthday?...." Etcetera, etcetera. You begin to feel like they know you perhaps better than you want someone who doesn't know your first name to know you. But all that changed when I saw Nick (at least I think that's what his name is) in the Fitness Center yesterday. The guards have uniforms, including hats, and yesterday for the first time, I saw Nick without his hat. Below the hat-line he has black hair, and above the hat-line he has blond hair (actually it's more like a grown-out dyed blond color). I literally did not recognize him. Both me and my friend had to do a double-take to make sure that this was Nick.
You may ask if there's a point to this story, and I will in return ask you if any of my stories have points, but the answer is "yes". This story has a point. A moral actually. This story has a moral. And here it is:
MORAL: You think you know someone until you see them in the Fitness Center.