The Man on the Elevator
A month ago, I was waiting for the elevator in the first floor lobby at work. The entrance to the cafeteria is also on the first floor, so several people were walking towards the lobby with food in their hands. Their was a tall, middle-aged, Black man among the crowd. He was yelling across the lobby at another Black man about what was for lunch.
“You see how they got fried chicken again!? You know we can’t resist no fried chicken dog!”
I hate this guy.
But I knew that there were thousands of people who worked in the building, on 40 floors, with 10 elevators. What were the chances that I would run into this guy again?
Apparently my chances were pretty good, because I ran into him again on the elevator a few weeks ago. On my way up to the 30th floor, the elevator stopped on 25 and the same dude walked in. One of the White guys standing behind me said, “Hi Edward. How’s the day been going?”. To which the Black guy responded,
“That depends. You got some money?”
The White guy looked confused and said, “What?”. To which Edward responded,
“Come on dude, don’t get jacked”
Then Edward just laughed hard as hell while the White guy was still trying to figure whether to chuckle or press red emergency button on the wall.
Then, this week, I ended up on the elevator with Edward again. This time he wasn’t in such a jovial mood. His colleague, standing next to him, asked if he was okay. Then Ed just went off about “this chic Christina” and how it was “gonna get real Black” up in the office when he saw her.
Edward: “When I see her, I’ma go off. I’ma go off”
White guy: “…nah”
Edward: “Naw, for real. When I see her, I’ma go off. She ain’t ready”
White guy: “…please don’t do that”
And there I was, standing in the corner of that god-forsaken box with no code-switches. I don’t know who Christina was, or why Edward was so mad at her, but damn… it got Black in that elevator. I mean, he was clapping on syllables and shit.
Fried chicken jokes? Stick up jokes? Daring your coworker to test your gangsta? What the hell is up with this guy?
There’s another Black executive, Joe, who comes around my floor making all kinds of noise. He goes around yelling, dapping people up and asking White people “Know what I’m sayin’?”. And dude’s pay grade is bananas.
I guess Joe and Edward don’t care about what they say or how they act because there’s hardly anyone above them in the office. They got corner offices and went HAM. Only problem is, I don’t need the White people in my building holding their hands up for daps when I come around… which has already happened. Trevor already put his hand out for a dap a couple weeks ago, after seeing Joe act like had just walked on to 106 & Park. And I’ll be damned if anybody starts to think fried chicken jokes are okay in the office. That already happened to another 40AC author (apparently, chicken Thursday is his favorite day of the week). Or how about when my White coworker asked me if I used to be a thug? I’m sure the six-figured Black man on the elevator showing his hood side doesn’t help diminish some of these misconceptions about Black people; Black men, more specifically.
So Joe, Edward, and any other executive trolls out there need to chill. The last thing I need when I walk into the office is White people wondering if I’m going to get all “Black up in here”. Because, if they do, I’ma go off.