Xerox PARC's longest straight hallway ends at the fitness center.

I was at one end of the hallway; he was at the other.

Even at 25 yards, I could tell that he was the researcher I sat next to at lunch in the cafeteria the day before (by the cut of his clothes, the way he was working his mouth around a wad of chewing gum, his dark glasses, the swing of his briefcase). I prepared my face to smile, and silently rehearsed a casual greeting: "How's it going?" That's what I planned to say. Nothing I said was impromptu those first months.

We neared.

It's a long, long hall; I thought of a half dozen more pleasantries.

Even nearer.

I narrowed our hypothetical conversation to exchanged hellos.

Momentarily parallel: I yelped hi (much louder than I expected), and swung out my hand in a gawky half-wave. He turned his head toward the wall, as if he were looking for an emergency shower,
and didn't say a word.


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