Hearts of Palm

An office narrative, the experience of which made my day:

At one moment of the three hours I was standing at the copy machine yesterday, two late-40s-early-50s men walked towards each other from either end of the hallway in which the machine resides. They were each wearing striped collared shirts and ties, and casual chinos--it being friday--outfits in that ubiquitous vein of never-out-of-fashion-but-never-quite-in that countless fathers all across the country buy in profusion. All day such men pass behind me as I stand at the machine, in similar abundance, never differentiating themselves from each other. But as these two approached each other, with their eclipse to be at the point in the hallway in which I stood, I turned to give the standard, socially compulsory glance to assure I was not blocking the passage, or at least give the impression of such assiduity. The two men greeted each other in standard volume, as if their acknowledgement was no more obligatory than my head turn.

"Hello, Frank!"

"Hi, Sam!"

But then, the amazing happened. The two men, without changing their gait or their vector, simultaneously raised their left hands, and as they passed each other--American-style, on the right--exchanged one of the most solid, vertical, palm to palm old-school high-fives I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Then men continued on their paths without another word, completely devoid of irony or further conversation.
My life was immediately changed for the better. As I continued to produce facsimiles of about a zillion more author-agreement contracts, I basked in the simple, unscripted and unmitigated glory of masculine camaraderie on a friday afternoon. There was no reason for the greeting, no conversational prelude or other contextual symbolism other than pure platonic affection among men. I had not taken part in this high-five, but with the slap of these men-of-industry's palms I was transported to a higher level of consciousness, where jobs do not suck and our species moves with the solidarity and determination of a single mind.

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