As a child (we're talking 5 and under) I was afraid to death of floaties in the bathtub. These floaties could have been anything: but were usually bit of dirt, or a dead ant from my outside adventures (usually not feces, but how can you not just assume so when I say "bathtub floaties"). I think I was afraid that these UFO (unidentified floating objects) were going to sting or bite me, and cause me pain that I wanted to avoid at all costs. I would often make my dad or brother get a cup and scoop the offender out of the tub. The floaties became known as b-boats (beboats, bee-boats; I've never really had to spell it out).
So, a couple of years ago at work, my co-worker Julia was sitting in my cubicle (as we are all often want to do) chatting about her impending possession of the holy chalice of handheld devices when she got up to go back to her workspace. As she stood, I glanced at the desk space directly in front of the position in which she had been sitting.
That's when I saw it. She had left a b-boat on my desk. "Oh hell no," I start at her while looking at the offending object, "get your damn b-boat off of my desk!" The look on her face was equal parts confusion, amusement and surprise. "What the hell are you talking about?" she replied. "You left a damn floatie on my desk!"
It's important to remember that no one at my work place has ever heard of my b-boat tales; and that the cubicle area has many employees from two different departments, as well as the Executive Director of the school roaming about in the area.
"What the hell?" she retorted with a thick southern drawl, moving in for a closer look. "Gross!!" she replied upon closer inspection, determining that the small fleck of dark material must be of a fecal or similar substance. She then started to blow on the damned thing to try and blow it on me. "Don't try to blow your damned b-boat on me woman, get out of my cubicle!"
Incredibly tickled at my vocabulary and bluster, she raced out of my cubicle into Hollee's trying to keep her laughing at a reasonable level. After a few moments of relative peace, I hear the two of them erupt in a disgusted laughter right after I brushed the b-boat off of my desk and exclaimed "it smeared!" (it hadn't). Hollee then comes over to my cube to inform me of what she had told Julia "I told Julia that you were going to spread the b-boat on a cracker and give it to her."
From here, there are constant giggle from Hollee's and Julia's cubes, with no real words being said - I just drop stuff like "caviar" and the swell grows louder.
Finally, Hollee brings up the subject of spelling. "Jonathan, how do you spell b-boat?" We start going over various possibilities with Julia chiming in, when I finally say "It doesn't matter, as along as it means floaties in the bathtub" rather loudly across the cubicle maze.
This is when I realized one of the admissions reps had a prospective student and was doing an enrollment interview. The rep started laughing, saying how much fun the folks in Financial Aid got to have. "Was that too loud?" I ask across the room - the reply wasn't who I had expected. Adam, our Executive Director, was in the cube with the Rep. "YES" he replied equally as loud back.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with an understandably low profile on my behalf;)