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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grok Say "Type, Underlings! Type!"

So, yes, not long after smugly declaring that I'd only had two re-posts in the last 598 straight days of posting, I'm re-posting.

That's because, having endured an absolutely dreadful day at work yesterday, I have decided to take the day off from writing.

What's that? Fine. I'll refund your money. Send me your address and I'll be right over with it.

Enjoy, my friends: from July of 2008, when the whites were whiter; the grass was, well, growing; and I had been, apparently, sniffing glue.

Corporate America and I are like this, implying, of course, that we are tight. So tight, as a matter of fact, that I’ve fully adapted to the Cube Farm. It was in my best interest really; and the small facial tic that I’ve developed as a result hardly bothers me at all anymore.

Do you work in a cube? If you don’t, why not? All the cool kids are doing it!

Working in a Cube Farm is a learning experience and, in many instances, can be used to your advantage (although you may not see this at first).

For example, there’s bodily functions. Why be confined to the wheezing, coughing, and farting of friends and family when you could also be listening to your co-workers? Delightful! Advantage? Don’t forget how well this will play into your plans to sneak in a three-day weekend by calling in Monday – after all, everyone knows that Eugene over there has been sneezing mess all week. Perhaps you caught his cold? Wink-wink!

The half-walls and no-door aspect of the Cube Farm lends itself nicely to overhearing all kinds of conversations as well. You can’t help but hear things if they won’t take it down the hall to the closet-sized office meant for “personal calls”.

The woman just over your cube wall has a new boyfriend. Let’s listen in, shall we?

“John, I really can’t…. You know I sit in a cube…. Well of course I do…. You know I do… I can’t… What? Hee hee, well maybe tonight… Hee hee. No, baby, I can’t… I told you I sit in a cube… OK! Well, maybe just a little bit…” You clear your throat in a “hey! I’m over here” kind of way, but it’s too late. In hushed tones that you have to strain to hear – absolutely strain to hear! – comes the sound of your co-worker whispering sexual promises to be carried out later. Whoo-hoo! The lunch room is going to be awkward today!

Not sure if there’s a real advantage to that one, but it adds a dimension to setting up meetings and filing that wasn’t there before. Thanks, Horny Co-Worker!

And don’t forget the Newbie, the Guy Fresh Out of College. Feign allergies to khaki if you must, but try not to sit next to this guy. This person believes that a.) college was the hardest thing he’ll ever be asked to do; b.) he’s “made it”, just by getting a job, and c.) work is just like what he’s seen on TV, i.e., that arriving at 9:00 and going for coffee at 10:00, having lunch from 11:30 to 1:00 and leaving early is not only acceptable but commonplace. This is the same kind of guy that comes in to work wearing the same thing he was wearing yesterday (and looking like he might’ve slept in his car), leaves his cell phone on “ring” all day and tosses wadded paper over the cubicle walls, just to see what happens. He’ll be arranging a Happy Hour later – right after he gets back from lunch. Don’t forget! You’re invited!

Advantage of sitting near Newbie? He’s a good reminder of why going to bed at 2:00 a.m. on a “work night” is a bad idea – and why keeping a fresh shirt and maybe a toothbrush at your desk is a good one.

The cubes make me wonder what living in a cave must’ve been like. They’re much better lit than caves, and there are flushing toilets, of course; but in some ways we’re not that far removed from those old days. The close quarters and the length of the work day – we spend more daylight hours at work than we do with our families, time with people who are not our families but who often become as close as family.

Do you suppose that the cavemen and women also turned a blind eye/deaf ear - as we must, and do - to the tears, the gas, the disagreements?

I suspect they did.

We’ve come so far, haven’t we?


powdergirl said...

I never worked in a cube Pearl, though I'd have to say that my work truck felt a lot like a cube on those long-drive-to-the-work days.
I didn't allow stinking or gross sounds in my 'cube cab' though(once picked a guy up at 4 30 AM, went around the block, stopped at his house again and said told him he was excused from work until he smelled better).
What they did on text? Well, I only ever advised that they practice 'safe text', I'm a nurturer, you know, and those boys were so young.

Hope the day is better today, or you could just call in 'disinterested', maybe hang around the house all day planning the next spring planting of the window boxes...

Kavi said...

Money refund ! Sure looks like a swell concept ! Hmm !

Will a swiss bank account number work ?

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I enjoy piecing together the unheard side of the "I'm on the brink of financial disaster" and "my family is hella dysfunctional" phone conversations.

Oh, and listening to people clip their fingernails.

Pearl said...

powdergirl, I have called in "ugly" (cold sores, massive cold sores) but I have yet to call in "disinterested". I am SO taking that and running with it...

Kavi, your money is no good here. For you, my friend? The blog is free!! :-)

Sheildmaiden96, amazing what one overhears, don't you think? :-)

Kr√ęg said...

I have decided to take a day off from commenting. Here is a re-comment from last week:

My favorite response to panhandlers: "I left all my money up your butthole. Just dig around in there until you find it."

I heart Gogol Bordello.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish we had cubes! I work in an "open environment" office. We have 8 inch dividers between our desks. As I type this, I can see my neighbor to my right and my neighbor to my left without turning my head! If I raise my eyes towards the top of my monitor, I can spot several more! As you can imagine, it's almost impossible to work because of the noise level, but you do become VERY close to your coworkers. "Hey Bob, do you have an extra tampon?"

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

"absolutely strain to hear..." Oh how rude! If she's going to sexytalk at work, she needs to be prepared to share it with everyone.

Barbara Blundell said...

I've downsized and now live in a matchbox-it's great,cheap and easy to run and you can close the lid when you want peace and quiet. My brother was so impressed but he wanted to go a bit upmarket so he's downsized to a rabbit hutch and loves it.

Anonymous said...

Pearl, I run away from people's germs, run as fast as I can, wash my hands many times a day. I avoid sickies..


lisleman said...

wonder who invented the cubes - I never met anyone who liked them. I've experience both the cubes and the actual office with a door and window. cubes suck

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Isn't it ONE at bat and you are concidered to have played in a real big league game? I guess I could let you slide, slacker.

One question - do you ever respond to your comments?

Kevin Musgrove said...

Being in an open plan office we do the sexy talk for our co-workers. As one said the other day: "ta very much, that saves me having to say: 'no' tonight!"

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

The low point around here was listening to a young co-worker spend an entire year planning her entire wedding, including the goldfish in the floral vases. The marriage ended before the goldfish died, I think.

Belle said...

The purpose of this post was to make us jealous right? ;)

Douglas said...

I was going to re-cycle a comment for that post from July of 2008, then I realized I had not left one. In fact, didn't even know you existed ath that time. So I can't leave one.

Marla said...

I remember working at a Cube Farm. Thanks for remindng me why I don't any longer. You rock, Pearl!

Cloudia said...

like the Japanese living with paper walls...



Aloha, Pearl

Comfort Spiral

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I worked in a cube once and had to leave half dead. All that gray made my eyes go boogedy, it was awful. I had to sneak in a portable tv just to stay awake! Evidently I needed to be in your office instead. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Jocelyn said...

I'm laying on the ground, holding my belly, over your description of College Boy Newbie.

And I hope your day went better and that your head and soul will be back to cranking out more great stories in no time.

My name is PJ. said...

I don't want a refund; I want something in my size that's on sale!

Pearl said...

I wanna buy all you people a beer.


Cal, I do respond sometimes, but between writing every day for the blog, writing every day for the book I'm working on, working full time, yoga, friends and a heavy schedule of cat-surveillance, I don't every day. I do read them, however -- obsessively -- and get to as many blogs daily as I can.

It's a very full life.

I hope no one feels slighted that I don't respond here -- or that I rarely respond.