the weblog of Alan Knox

Beginning a relationship in a strange place

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in personal | 7 comments

I don’t know if you remember or not, but I started a new job back in November 2012. And, by the way, I love it! I love the people I work with. I love the work. And, I love that my title begins with the word “Service.”

There’s only one bad thing about my new job. Our office is about an hour away from my house – more than an hour if I go during rush hour – a little less than an hour if I leave my house earlier. (The good thing is that I only have to go into the office three days each week, and I work from home the other two days.)

Since I drive to my office pretty early those three mornings (early for me, anyway), I’ve decided to use the fitness center in our building before work. I work in one suite of an business park that includes several shared areas including a deli/grill, restrooms, and a fitness center. Then, after hitting the weights for a few minutes, I shower and get ready for work (in the shared restrooms).

A few days ago, after showering and dressing and while shaving. A man came into the restroom with me. I had seen this man around before. He didn’t dress as nice as most of the people in the building. (Most of us don’t wear suits, but we also don’t wear dirty coveralls either.) I decided that I would speak to him.

Now, as all men know, there is a strict rule against talking in the restroom. (Apparently, this rule does not apply to women, since women often go to the restroom together.) So, I waited until he had finished (whatever he had come into the restroom to do), and after he had washed his hands, and just before he pulled the door open…

I said, “Hi. Do you work in this building.”

Surprisingly, he took his hand off the door handle and turned back toward me. He told me that he did not work in the building, but that he was a subcontractor who did alot of work for the owner of the building. I told him that I thought I had seen him around before (which was true), and he said that he had done several jobs for this lady.

For the next couple of minutes, I learned quite a bit about this man. I learned that he really likes working for the lady who owns the building that I work in. I learned that he would do contracting work for her all the time if she had enough work. I learned that the most of the business owners around that area are not very nice to subcontractors.

I told him it was nice to meet him, and he smiled and walked out of the restroom.

I’ll probably see him around the building again… and I’m looking forward to it.

Apparently, it’s possible to start a relationship with someone by breaking a taboo and speaking to a stranger in the men’s restroom.


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  1. 2-21-2013

    Thanks Alan for modeling how easy it is to love one another, by reaching out to others. Glad to hear that your job fits you so well. Abundant GRACE to you!

  2. 2-21-2013


    My favorite is to find one of the OCCUPIED seats scattered around our shopping malls which has space for my rear end.

    Amazing the conversations which mostly follow. Well,not always 🙂

  3. 2-21-2013


    I wish I followed Jesus in doing this more.

    Aussie John,

    You talk to strangers in the mall?


  4. 2-22-2013

    A lot of times talking to anyone is breaking a taboo!

  5. 2-22-2013

    I love that you were willing to reach out and show interest in another person! I wish there were more that were willing. I love that you listened to the nudge! and I love when God makes somebody “stand out to us” among all the people we see in our daily lives. The Spirit is so cool to open our eyes and really get our attention.

    And the whole scene made me chuckle – men have funny men rules – and God does seem to have us reach out in very unusual or even uncomfortable places/ways.

    and I’m so happy for you that you like your new job! I am thankful with you!

  6. 2-22-2013

    Fred — so true!! sad but true!

  7. 2-22-2013


    Yes. you’re right. It also requires considering other people as important – at least, important enough to listen to what they have to say.


    I wish I could say that I always show interest in other people and that I always listen to those nudges. But, God is gracious and patient… even with me.