by Gus Ramsey
Do you work in a place where you are constantly walking down hallways? I do. You know what happens every day in places like this? You pass someone in the hall you don't know. When this happens you may offer a "Hey" or "What's up?" or a simple nod and you go on your way. (In the northeast you can also get the other person looking straight ahead and not acknowledging your existence. I'm told this never happens in other corners of the USA).
Now, moments later, here's what happens. You are walking down the hall and down at the other end, oh no, could it be... really? The same person I just passed a few minutes ago??! Ugh, this sucks. This is more awkward than the first time in the 6th grade locker room when everyone notices the one guy who plowed into puberty over the summer. With every step you take, the moment of the awkward second encounter is bearing down like a TMZ crew on a Charlie Sheen open house. What am I supposed to do now? Do I say hi again? I can't ask what's up again, I just asked that. He said "nuthin'." What could have possibly happened in the last 30 minutes that they care to tell me about anyway? They're getting closer! I'm reaching the point of eye contact or no eye contact.... I know, I know, how about a "hey, it's you again!" joke. No, those work about a often as Albert Haynesworth. What do I do?
Well, I am here to save us all. UHG. That's right, just say UHG. It stands for Uncomfortable Hallway Greeting. Saying it conveys the dread that you are both feeling by having the awkward repeat encounter but also allows for a jovial acknowledgement of both the person and the moment. "Uhg!" "Uhg!"
Now, again, I'm told in places like the south and the midwest everyone is happy to see each other all the time, so maybe it's not a problem for you. But if you are a little anti-social or moody like I am, then UHG is the way to go. Now I just need to find a way to spread the word around the office.