Without warning, your cubicle daydreams are interrupted by a desperate cry for water.
You run to the nearest sink, fearing dehydration or a minor fire.
The office casualty is much worse:
Somebody has received flowers.
Cringing? Get used to it.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re bound to see an increase in office flower deliveries.
Don’t assume the cubicle vase will be obsolete just because the holiday falls on a Sunday.
Blame it on the male competitive spirit.
The flower delivery marks a chance to show the world that despite his “Female Body Inspector” T-shirt, he really is the best boyfriend ever.
It’s also a chance to finally one-up the guy who always beats him at “Guitar Hero.”
The unspoken challenge usually goes like this:
“You’re ordering a dozen roses? I’ll raise you two dozen roses, 11 stem Peruvian lilies, 10 pink miniature carnations and a teddy bear vase. Bam!”
The flowers arrive, and co-workers must indulge the recipient with pleasantries suggesting the display looks different from every other bouquet that’s decorated office hallways.
“They’re so pretty!”
“Those smell good!”
It’s not that hard.
Still, there’s always the co-worker whose compliment is laced with relationship angst:
“Your flowers are really beautiful, but make sure those tulips aren’t related to the rare vine that just killed some people in a third-world country.”
Being on the receiving end isn’t any easier.
You have to pretend the delivery is a genuine surprise, rather than a result of some not-so-subtle “buy me this so we look like a normal couple” hints.
You must maintain those exaggerated emotions while reading the tiny card attached to the roses. The note inevitably contains romantic poetry like the always profound “what’s up?”
Or the even more pathetic alternative: “Love, Mom and Dad.”
Once you’ve conquered the delivery’s awkwardness, half your day will be spent making friendly conversation with the people who comment on your flowers.
It’s best to have a response on hand for lonely Ethel, who will likely stare at the roses and say, “Those are sure cool. Did I ever tell you I’ve never had a boyfriend?”
Prepare to say “thank you” when people applaud the bouquet’s appearance — even though you had no hand in growing, maintaining or arranging the flowers.
I complain, but I’m a flower aficionado in disguise.
What can I say? I love viewing my relationships in terms of items with limited life spans.
Flowers are impractical, expensive and they’re often designed to impress outsiders more than the recipient.
Still, the gesture will rarely generate complaints.
Men, however, don’t always understand that.
So amid the Valentine’s Day frenzy, many women are left accounting for boyfriends who’d rather spend $60 on a romantic couples’ gift, like a leaf blower.
“Are you getting flowers this year?” your co-workers pry.
Take a deep breath, look them in the eyes and tell the truth:
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at 706-571-8516.