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Not The Brightest Of Coworkers

| Working | December 21, 2014

(I work in a long office space that has windows all down one side. It is very open and well-lit, and at night the parking lot lights and streetlights stream in. A coworker works in the workspace farthest from the main door, by insistent choice. Her workspace is bounded on two sides by windows and is closest to the streetlights, so it gets the most exterior light of them all. I regularly work late, and am almost always the last person to leave. As I walk out the main door, I turn out the lights, since this is the only placement of the switches for the main lights. One morning I come to work to be confronted by Coworker, who is almost shaking with anger.)

Coworker: “You turned the lights out on me last night! You left me in the dark!”

Me: “Oops! Sorry about that. I thought I was the last one here, like usual.”

Coworker: “Well, you weren’t, and I yelled at you. Why didn’t you turn them back on?”

Me: “Sorry, but I didn’t hear anything.”

Coworker: “Of course not! That’s because you were all the way down there!”

Me: “Well… yes. That’s where the door and light switches are. Again, sorry, but—”

Coworker: “Well, you shouldn’t have done it! I couldn’t see anything!”

(From the light coming in the windows, and the various bits of light coming from power buttons, etc, I find I can almost read by the ambient light when the lights are off at night. The cleaning crew has shut them off on me a few times, so I know that the office is far from pitch black… especially when you’re sitting in front of two 24″ monitors throwing light everywhere. As a bonus, less than twenty feet from her workspace is a motion sensor that turns on one office’s lights, providing ample light to the entire area.)

Me: “I’m sure you were fine.”

Coworker: “No! I could have fallen and hurt myself, and no one would have found me until morning!”

Me: “Look, I’m not sure what you want me to say at this point, but I know you’ve had this happen before, and it just upsets you. Why don’t you buy a cheap flashlight, and keep it in your desk drawer or something?”

Coworker: “Oh, I do have one, but it doesn’t help.”

Me: “Huh? Why not?”

Coworker: “How can I find it in the dark?!”

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