This afternoon D, one of the fitness specialists, asked if I had any more short, yellow pencils in the supply cabinet.
“Golf pencils, sure,” I said, “there are more of those.”
“Is that really what they’re called?” she asked.
“Yup,” I said.
“Why are they called that?” she asked.
“Because people use them to keep score in golf,” I said.
“Really?” she asked, her dark eyes widening and her airy voice slowing as if I were imparting sage advice.
Lately I have discovered that everyone’s birthdates are listed in the database, including staff, and I happen to know that D was born in 1987. Recently, while I was filling out paperwork for the fitness challenge I signed up for, D needed to know how old I was – so we’re even.
“How old are you,” she asked in her airy voice as I stood on the special scale that measures not just my bodyweight, but what percentage of it is composed of fat.
“Thirty-nine,” I said wistfully, as if it were an age we all look back on fondly.
“Seriously?” she asked, looking up from the machine that told her how fat I was.
“Yup.” I said.
“I totally thought you were younger,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said.
I handed the box of Dixon Ticonderoga golf pencils to D, and she grabbed them all – there were only about a dozen left. “Hey look,” I said, “on the inside of the box, on the side they were touching…” we both looked at the pattern that had been created by the accidental marks of 144 golf pencils; the darkest and most pronounced were at the top, where the pencils had more room to wiggle around, and the lightest were on the bottom, where the pencils had been compressed. “It’s like… art,” I said.
“Huh, yeah,” D said.