Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tasty beverages & soulless pop music: Workplace ear hazards

The other week we discussed crummy neighbors and my porch light-like ability to attract them like moths.
                I need to clarify something though. It’s not just at my place of residence that these pains in the butt seem to circle me. I’ve also had a pretty impressive history as far as the people who’ve occupied the cubicles around me at work.
                I’ve had two neighbors fired for making up stories rather than actually interviewing people. Another of my former neighbors quit right before she would have been fired for being both horrible at her job and for being a complete enigma the likes of which isn’t often seen outside of Russian hockey players.
                Currently, I’ve got two empty cubes and an aisle around me but it’s not nearly enough.
                To my left is an older lady who is completely and utterly baffled by every form of technology more advanced than a lead pencil. She’s mostly harmless, though I know the IT folks who are walking a rut back and forth to her desk to show her how to use a printer would passionately disagree.  
                My big issue with her is her incessant need to inform everyone about her background working in print journalism. I’ve heard her explain her “just the facts” background enough times that I probably wouldn’t have much trouble penning her life story. If she’d let me use anything that high tech to write it, that is.
                She also has an irritating tick where she uses the phrase “you know” as a verbal period. It’s at the end of every sentence that comes out of her mouth and when you hear it, you know to be ready as it may be your turn to speak.
                But again, mostly harmless.
                Diagonal from me though, is a girl who is anything, anything but harmless.
                She seems like a pleasant enough person. She’s quick with a “Hi!” and a smile whenever you cross paths with her in the halls. She’s usually chipper and approachable.
                But she is also the devil incarnate.

                Allow me to explain.
                She is single-handedly responsible for about 70% of the noise pollution in my workplace.
                This girl listens to music so loudly at her desk that, despite the fact that she’s wearing headphones, you can clearly hear whatever piece of empty pop music she’s enjoying as if those headphones were on your head.  
                It’s baffling. Detainees at Guantanamo Bay weren’t forced to listen to music that loud, so I have no idea how she’s able to do so willingly. Unless, perhaps, she spent time working as a roadie earlier in her life and her hearing is just almost completely shot.
                It doesn’t last long. She’ll listen to a song or two at an ear-bleeding level and then dial it down to a more reasonable volume, where it usually stays. It’s just every so often she just feels the need to really rock out to a little Miley Cyrus.
                But where she’s really been earning her keep as public enemy number one (audio division) has been as a slurper.
                I don’t know what type of beverage it is that she’s been buying on her way to work lately, but whatever it is, it must be delightful or expensive because she’s determined not to leave a drop behind.
                Sure, we’ve all slurped a beverage at one time or another. Realistically the longest you should ever need to slurp a beverage is a couple of minutes.
                Her slurps go on and on and on. Twenty minutes is not an exaggeration.
                On Friday she entered Hall of Fame territory. She slurped at that anonymous drink all morning, then she went out to lunch. Came back – empty handed – about an hour later. And then it happened.
                The slurping resumed.
                A two-part slurping.
I’ve never experienced anything like it. I didn’t know if I should start screaming at her or find a hat to tip at her commitment to getting her money’s worth. I also briefly considered what kind of obstacle course must exist inside of that cup. How was it possible for any moisture whatsoever to find somewhere to hide?   
                She may not be pooping all over my lawn like a certain Civil War veteran’s dog who lives next door, but she is pooping in my ears and I won’t stand for it!
                Who am I kidding? Of course I’ll stand for it. Then when I get tired of that, I’ll sit for it. And then when all else fails, I’ll complain about it on the Internet.  
It’s what I do.

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