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Silent Observer: A True Story

I sit down at a table, glad to have found a seat in this rather nice, but busy, food court. To my left is a man without food or drink. He’s apparently doing the same thing I am — passing time. He's still wearing his coat, but it's open and riding low on his shoulders.  His mostly empty backpack sits on the table, and if I had to guess (a phrase that always precedes exactly that), I'd say it was the backpack he used in college, which was maybe 5 years ago.

Directly in front of me is a table of four young women who are roughly the same age as Backpack man. At first I assume they are colleagues, but soon I can overhear enough of their conversation to determine that they're engaged in a group job interview. Three of them are candidates; one is the evaluator.

I can't hear everything, but I pick up enough to quickly lose interest. The usual interview fluff about goals, teamwork, and blah blah blah.

I glance over at Backpack guy, and although he's looking in their direction, he doesn't seem to be paying them any attention. I take this as my cue to do the same.

Several minutes later, their interview seems to be over. The four women rise, exchange pleasantries, and the three candidates are dismissed with a cheery "we'll be in touch."  

After they're gone; Backpack starts to move.  

He rises, I assume to leave, but instead he takes off his coat and joins the interviewer at her table! As they both sit, I hear her ask "So, what are your observations?"

He's not like me at all; he's a covert member of the candidate evaluation team!

Damn. That's sneaky. And brilliant.


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