Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns


December 19, 2008

The Mysterious Guy In the Lobby


I motioned to Lacey to come into my office.


“Who is the guy sitting in the lobby?” I asked. “He’s been sitting there for like 25 minutes tapping away on his laptop. Did he show up early for a meeting? Or is someone keeping him waiting?”


“I have no idea,” Lacey said. “I’ve never seen him before. Do you want me to go ask him?”


“No,” I said. “I’ll do it. It might be very meaningful to him if the CEO himself comes up to make sure he’s being taken care of.”


Lacey rolled her eyes.


“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, D.F.”


I strolled up to the front lobby and extended my hand, which is stupid, but this guy doesn’t know me or my proclivities.


“Hi, I’m D.F. Krause,” I said. “Is someone keeping you waiting?”


“No,” he said. “No one’s keeping me waiting.”


“Oh,” I said. “Did you show up early for a meeting with someone?”


“No,” he said.


“Well, is someone helping you then?” I asked.


“Helping me with what?” he said.


“Well, with whatever you’re here to do business with us about, I guess,” I said.


“I’m not here to do any business with you,” he said.


I stopped. I looked at him. I ran my fingers across my chin. I scratched my head a little. I put my hands on my hips.


“Then what are you doing here?” I asked him.


“Using your chair, your electrical outlet and your wireless network,” he said. “Thank you for not encrypting it, by the way. Bastard encrypters. Really limits my freedom of movement. You wouldn’t believe how many places make it impossible for you to pirate their wireless signal.”


“Yeah,” I said, “Well, the IT guy told me I should encrypt it because people could hack into my network, but I figured, what would they want to see?”


“Exactly,” he said.


“Hey!” I interjected. “Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute here. You just go around to businesses and help yourself to a spot in their office, and just sit there? And do . . . what?”


“I’m an independent contractor,” he said. “All I need to run my business is a laptop and my cell phone here, provided I can get wireless.”


“Well couldn’t you just work from home?” I asked.


“I could, but I don’t like to,” he said. “It’s boring there. It doesn’t feel like a work environment. This does.”


“Yeah,” I said. “But this is my work environment.”


“Very nice one, too,” he said. “Say, is anyone using that one desk over there?”


“No,” I said. “It’s vacant.”


“Cool,” he said. “I’ll just move over there. That way I won’t freak people out when they see me sitting in your lobby. It does have a working electrical outlet, right? My laptop battery will give me 15 minutes if I’m lucky.”


“Uh, yeah,” I said. “It’s underneath the desk. Wait a minute. Who said you could work here?”


“No one,” he said, settling in comfortably to the chair. “I’ll keep my music reasonably low. I don’t like to use headphones, but I don’t want to bother any of your employees either.”


My head started spinning faster.


“OK, now just hang on a second,” I said. “So you just wander in to people’s offices, sit down and work, and don’t pay them anything?”


“That’s right,” he said. “Is that coffee I smell? It smells really good. I mean really good.”


“I made it myself,” I said.


“It smells like you did a good job,” he said. “I mean, as much as I can tell from smelling it.”


As you can probably guess, I got him a cup. He stayed most of the day, made generally decent musical selections and, I think, got asked out on a date by one of my younger female employees.

Dang. Next time he tries to come in here, I’m telling him no! OK. No I’m not. Now shut up.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # DFK166. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Bob Franken
Lawrence J. Haas
Paul Ibrahim
Rob Kall
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Bob Maistros
Rachel Marsden
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Jamie Weinstein
Brett Noel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
Cindy Droog
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
D.F. Krause