A story for you: Last time I was in Chicago I visited L’s sister, M. She works in a big law firm on a very high floor of a very tall building and her office has one wall that is all windows. As we entered the building she waved her building pass over the scanner as usual, but otherwise we somehow managed to avoid the attention of securityâ€”they were occupied w/other people and didn’t seem to even notice us. M. remarked how unusual that was. “They’re usually very careful about checking IDs and issuing guest passes to the building,” she said. We shouldn’t worry about it, she added; we’d only be there a few minutes so it would just be a waste of time to make sure we were properly checked in.
So to the elevator we go and up up up to the big office with all the windows. It was pretty cool and I was obviously fascinated with the view. While I was busy picking out landmarks I recognized, M. said she had to go down the hall for a minute and that she’d be right back. I was so absorbed in the view I hardly noticed. So there I am, alone in her office w/my face nearly pressed against the windows when this gruff voice behind me nearly makes me jump out of my skin. “Excuse me!” it says. “Can I help you?”
I turn to find this guy about my age but much better dressed. He’s fit and looks like he works out and he doesn’t look very happy. “I’m just waiting for M.” I explain. He still doesn’t look happy. “This is her office.” Still not happy. “She just stepped out for a minute. She’ll be right back.” You guessed it: Still not happy.
“I’m sorry,” the guy says sternly, “but who are you? What the hell are you doing here?”
I try to explain. “I’m a friend of M.’s. She just brought me up here to see her office and…”
“So you say,” the guy interrupts, “but why should I believe that? Where is your guest pass?” Damn! I knew I should have checked in properly downstairs! “I find some strange guy alone in this office with no identification,” the guy continues, “and what do you expect me to think? You expect me to just take you at your word?”
I’m baffled and getting a little worried. Who is this guy? What kind of freaked out place is this? So I try to explain and placate some more. “Well, like I said, I’m just a friend and M. had to go down the hall to the bathroom or something but I’m sure she’ll be right back and she can explain everything.” He’s just not buying it. “Look, I’d be happy to wait out in the reception area or down in the lobby…”
“Well what good would that do?” the guy responds w/disgust. “You’ve been alone in this office for god knows how longâ€”the damage has already been done.”
Wha!? Damage? Crap. This guy thinks I’m trying to steal super-secrets from the big firm! Now I’m seriously worried. Nightmare scenarios of all my worst stereotypes of “BigLaw” start ricocheting around my brain and I’m wondering if they’re going to try to press charges against me for trespassing or theft or god knows what and I’m just thinking, ‘Dammit, I should have just waited downstairs!’ when suddenly M. walks back in.
And she’s laughing.
It was all a joke. On me and my fears of BigLaw. Turns out the guy is her friend (another associate) and when she bumped into him in the hall she asked him to come in and give me a hard time. So he did, and he did it really well. We all had a great laugh about it b/c I had been genuinely worried. So it was a good joke. And in some ways I guess it was payback for a similar “psych!” I played on M. a few years ago, so I guess I had it coming. Still, you can bet the next time I see a chance to up the ante, I’m going to take it. Oh yeah, M., you’ve been warned. The damage has already been done. ;-) [tags]travel, stories, practical jokes, biglaw[/tags]