I currently work in a building that has really long hallways. I often have to walk up and down these hallways throughout the day. The shape of these hallways creates one of the most awkward moments possible.
The thing about most awkward moments is that they get less awkward the more they happen. For instance, a first date can be pretty awkward. But the more dates you go on, the more comfortable you get. Or if it's awkward for you to poop in front of your wife, that usually goes away after about two weeks. Unfortunately, this awkward moment seems to get worse every time.
The hallways at work are extremely long and narrow (insert immature phallic joke here). And I work near the end of the hallway, which means I have to travel its entirety to get to my office. The problem is that I often cross paths with my coworkers many times during the day.
The awkwardness comes when I am aware of a coworker at the end of the hall and I know that he is aware of me. I'm faced with quite the dilemma:
a) Yell down the hall, "Hey buddy, how's it going?" and hope he can hear me.
b) Stare intently at the walls on either side as if there's something interesting going on there.
c) Duck into the nearest office and hope it's empty.
The problem with choosing "a" is that usually when people say, "Hey, how are you?" or "How was your weekend," or "Is your dad still on chemo?" they don't really care how you feel. I'm one of those people. I'm just being polite. These hallways offer way too much time for a coworker to answer that question and then go into detail about how they spent their weekend trying to sober up from that crazy Friday night they had Tiki Bob's. So there's no way I'm choosing "a." That just leads to more awkwardness.
The problem with "b" is that it's way too obvious that I'm trying to ignore my coworker. Usually if I start with "b," I end up realizing how ridiculous it is, then I'll raise a finger in the air and pretend I just remembered something and turn around to go back to my office, waiting for the coworker to pass. Option "b" never works.
The problem with "c" is that even if you have a 50/50 chance of an office being empty, it can create an enormously awkward moment during the times that you do rush into someone else's office and they stare up at you, waiting to see why you're in there.
So far the best thing I've come up with is to always travel the halls with a folder full of important papers. I can pretend to be absorbed by the folder's contents, until I practically bump into my coworker, give him a quick "Hey, how's it going?" and move on without listening to his response.
The only problem I'm finding is that it's pretty awkward to have to take a folder full of important documents with you to the men's room.