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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

(Not) Milking the Moment

Imagine, for a moment, you’re me.

All right, stop pretending to throw up in your mouth a little. Very funny, smartass.

So, you’re me, just for a moment. One specific moment, in fact. Last Friday afternoon, a couple of minutes after three. You’re late for a meeting in a little conference room you’ve never been in before, down the hall on the back side of the office. So you hustle over there, and you see two doors, both closed.

You don’t know which is the conference room, and there are blinds on the inside of both doors, blocking the view. You prepare to barge into the closer room — or, maybe, knock, as civilized people apparently sometimes do — when the moment happens. The moment when you’re me.

The moment when you remember, vaguely, a memo from a few months ago that said the company was converting one of the two small conference rooms in the back hallway to a nursing room for new mothers. Of which there are several.

And so, in this moment — as me — what do you do? What do you do?

If you’re anything like me — and right now, you are me, so hah! — you won’t know quite what to do. You’ve got to get to your meeting. But you can’t get anywhere near the milkmaid room, especially if it’s currently occupado. So here are your options:

You could knock. But that’s not especially straightforward. Knock too softly on the meeting door, and no one will hear you. Knock too hard on the nursing door, and you’ll startle whoever’s inside, in the middle of whatever they happen to be doing.

I don’t know what that is, exactly. I just know that if the inside of that room ends up looking like a cross between Carrie and an industrial dairy accident, I do not want to get blamed for it.

“If you hear talking — or warmup shouting or brass knuckles clicking against the table — it’s probably your meeting.”

So. You could try peeking through the sliver of window not covered by the shade. This is a fine idea, if you happen to be eyeballing into the meeting room. You’ll see your boss or the HR rep, or the company lawyer, or whoever’s scheduled to be screaming at you this time. But if some milking mom is in her designated “safe place” in the office and looks up to see a beady peeper staring past the doorknob at her, it’s not going to end well. She will crack a bottle in half and cut you. Full or empty, it doesn’t matter. And no jury would convict her.

Fine. How about listening? You could quietly sidle up and put an ear to one of the doors. And pray that no one walks around the corner and asks you what, exactly, you’re listening for. Outside of that nightmare, the result should be fairly conclusive. If you hear talking — or warmup shouting or brass knuckles clicking against the table — it’s probably your meeting. But if it’s the nursing room, then you’ll hear… well, I don’t really know what, exactly. I imagine those machines they use make noise of some kind. Like a *chugga chugga chug* kind of thing, maybe? Or a *hrrrrmmm hrrrmmm* deal? *A-oooooga*?

I don’t know much about this particular process, clearly. The only thing I’ve ever extracted milk from is a carton. Or maybe a slice of tres leches cake. I’m guessing the procedure is probably not a lot like either of those. At least, I hope not. For everyone’s sake.

So seriously, if you were me — what would you do? Because I sure as hell didn’t know. I stood in that hallway for ten minutes, trying to figure out the best way to find my meeting without getting slapped, inciting a riot or having a breast pump jammed somewhere into me and milking me from the inside out.

In the end, I went home. It was nearly three thirty, so I wasn’t likely to accomplish much of anything, anyway. I’ll probably get in trouble for missing the meeting, and get yelled at some more. Which they’ll probably call another meeting to do. I’m okay with that.

Just as long as it’s not in the back hallway conference room. That place is a fricking mine field.

(What’s that? Oh. Yes, you can stop being me now.

Oh, just breathe, ya big baby. It’s not that bad. Sheesh.)

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