you are leaving work at some point between 6pm and 8pm (which is COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE AND NORMAL), and you run into some douchebag in the elevator or elevator lobby. Running into douchebags or doing anything with douchebags is not fun i guess, except i guess if using the douchebag for its intended purpose if you are of the female variety and practicing good hygiene...(?)....uh, ya, so anyway, y'all know what i'm talking about.
Here's the scene: you are amped to get out - maybe not as early as possible, but early enough so that your hourly banana rate is higher than the douching banker with gonorrhea next door, and then you run into a colleague while waiting for the elevator, or in the elevator when you get in/on your way down.
<Now, when I leave, if the weather is nice, and because i'm a dude, i usually don't really look like i'm leaving (read all the other posts i have about playing hooky) - just a shirt on with wallet and keys stuffed in my pocket. BUT, when it's really cold outside or if i have shit to carry, if i'm not playing one of my tricks (usually reserved for "early" departures), i'll probably be wearing a coat or have some sort of bag.>
So let's say me is you, and you are leaving like me, and it'll be apparent you are leaving. Then, you run into a colleague of the gunner or just-plain-green variety (hereinafter, "Fartbucket"), and you exchange looks and simple 'hello's'.
<As another aside, i don't get why there is any social pressure to make small talk with people in your office in the first place, especially people you don't really know (if a big office) or just people you don't care to associate with (if a small office). A lawyer's unnervingly insatiable need to hear his own voice? I don't make small talk with random people from other offices i run into the lift even if i've seen them before - i could if they look interesting, i won't if they don't. maybe it's cuz i look interesting...and maybe i look interesting because i always go to work in a monkey mask and linsanity t-shirt. Whatever.>
So anyway, Fartbucket, obviously noticing the coincidence of time and your attire, coughs up something like, "oh, so are you going out for dinner?" (implying that you are not done with work, but just going out to eat, with the assumption that you'll be back later.) A. Why the fuck, Fartbucket, do you care where i'm going? B. If it looks like i'm going home, then i'm probably fucking going home, retard.
<So at this point, my responses usually fork depending on the identity and variety of Fartbucket, and the particular nature of what is said to me. If it was a green-type, and I like him/her, I'll try to train them to think as a real monkey should think -- kind of like housetraining you puppy, it's cagetraining your monkey; i'll tell him "Fuck no, I'm going home, and so should you. Get your work done sooner numbnuts and you can too." if they had asked rather something more straightforward (but with an incredulous overtone) like, "are you going home?!?" i would just reply just as incredulously, "yes...!?!?!?" etc. Now, when i run into the gunner types - never liked them much - i sometimes just pretend i didn't hear them, fiddle with my blackberry or if i don't have a blackberry, just hold up my hand to my ear like i it's a phone and start talking - works every time. i don't really care what they think, but i am slightly afraid they are going to tattle to big boss next time someone tries to staff them on something and they realize they've taken on 17 too many deals because they are gunning and doing a terrible job at their job to boot, and try to irk shit onto the dude they spite because he seemed to be leaving "early" that one day. once i ran into someone who was, sadly, both a gunner AND green, and who was in the same obviously-leaving attire i was in, and, without prompting, awkwardly said as if to no one really (although it was just us in the elevator), "oh i'm just going to dinner...." i almost snapped, "i don't give a fuck" but instead went with, "oh, that's too bad, i'm going home." - i could see the look on Fartbucket's face, i couldn't tell if it was the look of remorse after telling a lie for no purpose or the look you had on your face when you saw the dude with the mustache on his head. By contrast, i once ran into a partner when i was leaving at like 5:45 once, who was carrying shopping bags and like three suits he just bought. We were both leaving, and all he did was smile guiltfully and we parted ways - like a true monkey pro>
Anyway, the point of this rambling is, if not apparent already, several fold:
1. most importantly: don't be afraid of leaving work at a "normal time". If you are done with work, or even if you're not and want to work from home, then fucking GO. Face time is a worse idea than crystal pepsi or letting your dog guard your sausage stash. Let your work product and billables speak for themselves, no one is going to staff you based on what time someone saw you leave to do whatever.
2. notwithstanding the foregoing, the only time you MAY want to ready yourself with a canned excuse is if you happen to be in the elevator, with a partner who is responsible for staffing you, and who is looking to staff someone like you, and then asks you about your time.
3. cagetraining your monkey brethren who deserve it
4. all others sound like fartbuckets, hence the Fartbucket. have you ever heard the sound of a fart resonating in a bucket collapsed on your head? can't imagine it would be pleasant right? fucking Fartbuckets.