I only noticed later that he had a taser on his belt, which means that he was probably a sergeant.
After the doors closed and the elevator lurched into motion, he turned to me and said, “C’mon, smile! It’s not so bad.”
His comment snapped me out of my reverie. I turned my head to look at him and reflexively smiled, though immediately wondered why. His glasses lacked rims and his head lacked hair.
“Are you almost done with your day?” I asked. Maybe he was having a bad day.
He snorted before he glanced at his watch. “Eh… maybe.”
Shift change was in less than 45 minutes.
“Might you have to work mandatory overtime?” The officers I work with often learn of their mandatory overtime shifts about an hour before the next shift begins.
“Ha! No,” the officer laughed. He looked at me again as the elevator reached my floor. “I’ve worked here longer than you’ve been alive.”
Now, in retrospect, I should have let that one go. Maybe he was giving me a compliment: You look young! The sneer in his voice, though, suggested that he wasn’t.
“I think you believe I’m younger than I actually am,” I said over my shoulder as I walked out of the elevator.
“I’ve been working here for 36 years!” he called after me.
“I’m older than that,” I said, without turning my head.
Before the elevator doors slid completely shut, he shouted, “NOT BY MUCH!”
“I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have said, ‘I’ve worked here longer than you’ve been alive,” if I were a guy,” I complained to my female colleagues.
“Yeah… but, you know, he was right: You’re not much older than 36 years.”