It’s often the smallest things that feel like the biggest deal in the fickle world of my emotional life.
Just as the crush of work has eased a bit, I’ve started using the whiteboard at the entrance to our team’s little cubicle block to present passersby with trivia questions with multiple choice answers. Asking about the history of the English alphabet, the short-lived other name of Uranus, the tone in which most toilets flush… etc. So, anything, really, that struck my fancy from Buzzfeed’s list of fun lil factoids.
It was a bit of a struggle to get people to interact with the board at first — people feel weird about interacting with technically-other-people’s whiteboards, I guess. Or maybe it’s the finality of that dry erase marker — declaring yourself right or wrong, even though literally no one is keeping track of who picks which answer. In any case, because of the board-shyness, for the first couple questions, I’d catch anyone who paused at the question and implore them to PICK an answer right there!
But once it got going, the little conversations that would bubble up around that board made me the happiest little cube-dweller EVER. I’d turn right round and engage people in small talk, conjecturing togetherly about what the last letter added to the English alphabet might’ve been (it was J!!) — and how chatting about fascinating it would be if Uranus had been named LOUISE at one point (it wasn’t; GEORGE was the correct answer there). Just having an excuse to interact with the people who walk, eat, talk, work around me all the time on subjects not related to work was refreshing, even life-giving.
And the beautiful thing is that it costs zero dollars. Takes no more than a few seconds of everyone’s lives. But gives us so much intangible connectivity as coworkers and co-cube dwellers.
I’m notoriously intense as a coworker — that’s what my CFA team pointed out as my greatest strength and greatest weakness. It means I focus first and foremost on work, even at the detriment of the opportunities for connection-making with the people who make it all happen alongside me.
As I walked out of the office at the end of the day, that fateful day of the first trivia question, I realized how springy my step was, how positively whistle-while-you-work I was feeling. All cause of a trivia-l little addition to my ordinary workday. In this way, I remember how it’s in all the little moments that life is actually lived. The big, milestoney markers may be the way you tell the big-brushstroke story of your existence, but it’s all the little crumbs of daily life that make all the difference in your difference-making.
So we trivia on.