Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's hell with fluorescent lighting

Perhaps I’m not a team player. Maybe I’m one of those people who just likes to be alone. After all, a former boss did say that she thought I would make a good sniper. I was never sure whether that was a compliment or not. Whatever the case, I can't deny having an extremely low twit threshold. But I don’t think I'm being entirely unreasonable when I say that there are certain conversations that I do not wish to be forced to overhear in the office. Inane and banal conversations are everywhere and I’m sorry to say that most of them are conducted by women. I know I’m going against the sisterhood, but it makes me realise why men have cultivated the ability to switch their ears off.

I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but when there’s a conversation taking place at the desk next to mine, I can’t not hear. I can sit there, silently singing “la la la!” or reciting Jabberwocky in my head to try to run interference, but it doesn’t work.

And it's not that I'm the fun police - I just hate being subjected to pointless crap. Remember, I'm trapped at my desk and there are only so many times in a day that I can get a glass of water, a Diet Coke from the machine or go to the loo.

So, on my planet, people who banged on about any of the following topics at work would have safes dropped on them.

Save it for your mums and bubs group. If you don’t belong to such a group, please find one. Quickly. I have sat at my desk, doing an internal impression of Jack Nicholson in The Shining while several mothers have discussed their birth experiences for upwards of 45 minutes. The words “and then my water broke” can send me screaming from a room. The same goes if you're pregnant. I don't want to touch your belly, see your ultrasound photo or hear about what's happening to your boobs.

Your kids
When your child has done or said something that really is funny or wise beyond their years, then that’s fine. Please do share it. But be aware that the majority of kid talk, including stories about dirty nappies (this includes colour, texture and frequency), toilet training (ditto), sporting participation, etc., is seriously lacking in entertainment value for everyone but the child’s parents.

And don’t get me started on baby photos being sent out on an all-staff email. It’s a baby. Some are cuter than others and they come in half a dozen different shades of duco, but they pretty much all look the same. It’s really only the accessories that change and who wants to look at a never-ending parade of little jumpsuits or half-sucked teddy bears?

Clothes or accessories in any detail
Nothing more is required than, “Oh, I like your boots/jacket/earrings,” with the possible addition of, “Where did you get them?” if you wish to sneakily buy some yourself. If you’re snarking a la the Fug Girls, then of course that’s a different matter, but rapturous and extended discussions of fashion make me want to do you an injury. I don’t care whether you are agonising over spending $500 on a handbag, either. Buy it or don’t buy it, but for Ford’s sake, shut up about it!

Tooth whitening, hair extensions, shades of eye shadow and Paris Hilton are all pretty much pointless. None of them is worth an extended discussion. Really. The world will not stop turning and it’s 15 minutes of our lives that none of us will get back.

It is never appropriate to have a phone argument in the office with your partner, your mother, one of your kids or even John Howard. Oh, all right, if you’ve got Little Johnny’s phone number and a gutful of angry to share around, you go your hardest. I’ll probably even cheer when you score points. But a truly banal row that goes from low but intense to loud and intense and continues for more than three seconds is putting your life in danger. And if you finish the row and then come over to recount the whole thing to someone sitting near me, you’re just asking me to crack open my barrel of Psycho Bitch.

In fact, any long personal phone conversation is pretty much guaranteed to piss me off. I don't want to listen to you have a big long "he said, she said" with your bestie. I don't care whether your brother's friend's girlfriend is being, like, a total bitch to, like, everyone. And if you ring three different people in one morning and tell them all the same thing, we're back at that barrel of Psycho Bitch again with the crow bar.

Hot beverages
Making or purchasing a cup of coffee or tea is quite a simple process. I don’t care whether you choose a skinny soy decaf latte with a twist or a spiced chai soy latte. They are both equally pretentious and deciding between them does not require a United Nations vote. JUST PICK ONE! Wistful sighing of, “Oh, I’d just kill for a (insert wanky beverage name here),” in the hope that someone will get one for you should be punishable by death.

Bread and circuses
There’s a reason I don’t watch Big Brother. It bores me. The same goes for Neighbours, Dancing with the Stars, The Biggest Loser, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Whatshername and most of the other crap the TV stations dish up. If I wanted to know what was happening on any given TV show, I would simply watch it myself. Radical, I know.

And boys, you can quit your snickering. You’re not off the bloody hook either.

I don’t care about Aussie rules, rugby (league or union) or soccer. My response to, “How about those Crows, then?” will always be, “Are they some sort of sporting team?” Talk about it while you’re having a slash or something. I don’t care who’s winning the office tipping comp, I don’t want to hear who you think will win the games on the weekend and I most certainly don’t want a ball-by-ball discussion on Monday morning.

They have four wheels, a variable number of doors and, if they’re working properly, go “broooom”. Like babies, they come in a number of colours. We’re done now.

Power tools
Come on, mostly they're just boy toys. I think we can safely say that most powertools are purchased, used three times and then shoved in the shed.

You went fishing. You caught fish. What, you didn't bring me any? Bugger off then.

Possibly the most boring game ever invented. You don't need to tell me what your handicap is. I already know.

Yes, I’m a grouchy bitch who should just work alone in a shed in the middle of nowhere. But did you ever doubt it?

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At 5:37 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger phishez_rule said...

You have a psycho barrel too?

Mines... volatile to say the least.

At 5:46 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger ashleigh said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Excellent, thank you.

Can I print this out and hand it around at work?

At 5:59 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

Possibly the most boring game ever invented. You don't need to tell me what your handicap is. I already know.

I am actually struggling to breathe from laughing. Actually. Heaving. A brilliant, brilliant post. I am going to print it out and give it to everyone who catches Melbourne public transport.

I am a very rude bitch apparently, and I can't stand conversations that bore me, or people that bore me, or people that bore me AND who I hate.

When I was about eight, I learnt to just walk away. I still do the same thing. In uni tutorials, I just talk over the people who like, totally think that like, government is like, cool because, like, you know.

NO - I DON'T KNOW, that's why you're meant to be explaining the story - not asking to be nominated for most boring sermon of 2007.

Again, wonderful post, Redcap.

I'm off to continue laughing.

PS: Nothing annoys me more than people talking about how much exercise they do. My god. SO. BORING.

At 6:03 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

Also, you may actually be my blogging soul mate. You hate football!

At 6:16 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

Round of applause for Redcap - a wonderful post. I wish I could print this out and hand it out to all my colleagues, but thankfully Ii work all on my own - so the only banal conversations I have are with myself and that is just fantastic because I am always right and never boring !! However, I am very very tempted to print it out and hand them to people who just rabbit on in the shopping aisle and refuse to move on because they are so caught up with their own hair colour or new nails they just got glued on.
Again brilliant!

At 8:46 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Lonie Polony said...

My my, you must work with some trying people!

I hate stupid conversations too. Once in Kmart I heard two women in the next aisle discussing the Dan Brown books on display.
"How's this one?" said Ninny.
"Oh, it's ok, but that's the one made from the movie. If you want the original, you have to read this." said Bimbo (natter on another five minutes)

I peeked round when they'd gone, expecting to find The Da Vinci Code and one of those movie companion dealies. Instead I found The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Idiots.

At 9:04 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Phishez, yup! I got me a barrel of psycho, a biiiiig box of angry, a crate of hungover and a great, big economy-sized tub of grouch :)

ashleigh, if it will make your office a happier place, be my guest. I'm just here to help >:)

rosanna, sorry for the breathing difficulties ;) People on public transport are the worst. Ring, ring. "Hi. I'm on the train." This is what mobile communication was invented for? Pfft. Oh and football = bollocks. No use for the stuff.

sakura, fanks mate :) But what's with those people in the supermarket?! You just shouldn't block all access to the milk, having a useless conversation. (How come no-one ever stands in front of the tampons, having a chat? If the milk's OK, why is the sanitary products aisle bad?)

At 9:09 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Lonie, admittedly, this isn't all from a single, hellish office. Otherwise, I would surely have drowned myself in a bucket by now. But the present office does seem to be infested with Conversation Lite. And you have to admit that the really silly thing that Ninny and Bimbo did was picking up a Dan Brown book in the first place. I read a review of The Da Vinci Code when it first came out that described it as sporting some rather "lumpen prose". I thought that lumpen prose could be contagious and so I wouldn't let it into the house.

At 9:15 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Scorpy said...

We should swap offices...at least we could hear the same stories but from different people. :)

At 9:20 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Scoprpy, plan! And then I could wear cool Caterpillar boots to work!

At 10:37 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

I love that. When their phone rings,

"Hi!... Oh, I'm just on a tram"

What are they? Thick?

At 11:35 pm, May 01, 2007, Blogger Té la mà Maria said...

Hello I am visiting your blog-Web and I like much. Congratulations

If you want you can visit ours, one is but irreverent and iconoclastic blog of the world, and one is in Catalonia - Spain


Thank you very much

At 11:01 am, May 02, 2007, Blogger PetStarr said...

So what CAN we talk about, cappy?


At 11:19 am, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Pet, oh, you know, the usual: hilarious drunken incidents, the stupidity of others, global warming, bitching and whingeing, food, etc. If someone's going to stand near me and talk, they have to be prepared to entertain me. I don't ask much, really.

At 2:33 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger Milly Moo said...

Love your work, redcap - maintain the rage (although I take offence at the FUIC remark in your 'caring for wildlife' section in WEA courses. Eddjacated gals like drinkin' the stuff too, you know. Double the heaven with a custart tart and I'll sit through any conversation about epidurals, un-cut placentas and even ~shudder~ the cricket

At 6:41 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Milly, thanks! Don't worry, no danger of me running out of rage. But I bear Farmers' Union Iced Coffee no ill will and realise that it is beloved of most South Aussies. I just don't like the stuff myself because I don't care for coffee.

At 6:53 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger MadameBoffin said...

I hear ya sista, especially about the kids thing

At 6:58 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger The Man at the Pub said...

Ooh can I come and live on your planet of what is verbally necessary and genuinely entertaining?

I work with someone who can talk for 45 minutes about her 25 year old live-at-home son's favourite variety of peanut butter, and does so, regularly. If I could somehow stick a generator in her mouth she could power the whole south-eastern seaboard and stop global warming.

And the whingeing! She spends an hour a day wandering around telling everybody how stressed she is because she's got so much bloody work to do. I'm gonna snap one day and say "Well that's because you never actually shut the *uck up!"

*Can I swear on this blog?

At 7:17 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

Blogger lost my comment from yesterday! (Not that it was brilliant or anything.) I'm afraid the kid thing may be the one of those I'm guilty of. I've found it a way of bonding with people I otherwise have zero in common with. (Not the details of nappies though.)

100% with you on football. The number of times I've had to explain NO, I REALLY DON'T HAVE A TEAM. to shock horror reactions.

Can I add mortgages and renovations/house extensions? (From the playground, that one. EVERY DAY.)

At 8:04 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Boff, no-one needs to hear potty stories. No-one.

Mr Pub, yup, my planet's a cool place. No dizzy tarts who talk about peanut butter allowed. And you may also swear to your heart's content. If you knew me IRL, you would know that when I go into a bar, sailors come running out :D

Ariel, I have to admit that I do 'have' a football team, but only because I was forced to choose a SANFL team in primary school. I chose the one with two blues on their socks because I like blue. And having lived through reno of my own, yeah, I'm well and truly over the whole deal. But remind me one day to tell you about the collection of soap that I found stuck to the linen cupboard shelf when we bought our house... ;)

At 9:03 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

ACTUALLY, in prep a Glenelg-mad kid kept on at me about what team I went for. With no response, he said 'so, what are your colours?' I responded: 'pink and yellow'. To which he said 'that's not a team - but Glenelg has yellow, so you're Glenelg.' And he proceeded to plaster Glenelg stickers all over my schoolbooks. It reamined my default for many years after.

And I do have a team now, because F is footy mad and he bullied me into it. It's my local: Western Bulldogs. Sigh.

At 9:16 pm, May 02, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Ok, I'm having to decare being a fan of a brilliant writer's blog and to knowing the identity of the 'Cap' but I have to expose her hypocrisy.
Cars---"Dont tell me abot cars"----well how about car racing Red---"the boys drinks are on but we are watching the car racing"---"Oh, ok, I'll be right there"
And if there is booze involved, even football is not out of the realms of toleration----
So, be honest---reveal your weaknesses to your adoring public and tell them that you dont like any of this shit unless you are influenced by sufficient amounts of rocket fuel----then you are very tolerant----
See you Friday at the pub and we will talk all kinds of shit.
And when will we see Redcap the book?

At 9:22 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ariel, funny about those defaults, eh? But you're allowed to be bullied by your child - it's called being a nice parent.

Ted, oy, are you trying to out me or something? ;) Book? What book?

At 9:31 pm, May 02, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Out you----
What ????-----do you have some doubtful sexuality or something----
Oh, who cares----keep publishing and we will keep coming back

At 9:32 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ted, yes, I'm actually a male ballet dancer.

At 9:40 pm, May 02, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Hey Rudolph, doyou want a beer or will we go for the P drink

At 10:02 pm, May 02, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

You know I don't drink beer. Now bugger off ;)

At 1:53 pm, May 03, 2007, Anonymous foodkitty said...

twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the ; bugger, that's all I can remember without resorting to Mr Google. Still, when a mind-blocking matra's needed, it's a bloody good start..

At 6:15 pm, May 03, 2007, Blogger phishez_rule said...

Well that seems like a good mix to me. Also seems like you've got the equal of all of those combined in humour.

At 9:04 pm, May 03, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

And you hate beer. I shall halo this blog in immortal wonderfulness forever.

At 9:14 pm, May 03, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Foodkitty! Glad to see you :) I hope all is well in Hobart.

phishez, why thankee, ma'am! I've been enjoying your blog too.

At 10:30 pm, May 03, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Rosanna, beer may be beloved of many, but I just think that it smelleth.

At 9:40 am, May 04, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

i hate how it's so god damn hard to get out of one of these conversations once you're in them

At 11:08 am, May 04, 2007, Blogger Susanne said...

This is a personal preference, but anything about sport makes me want to go to sleep, and I can't concentrate on someone who is talking about sport for more than about twenty seconds.

At 9:08 pm, May 04, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

kiki, I just hate how people think you're rude when you start screaming and run out of a room, don't you?

susanna, I have to admit that I don't mind cricket, but it has to be one day or 20/20 and my threshold for actually talking about it is minuscule. With any other sport, it's less than zero and I may actually fall asleep as someone says the word "football".

At 1:46 pm, May 05, 2007, Blogger Steph said...

Agree with all except fashion and Big Brother. MANDATORY conversations around my desk, every other day.

*runs away from psycho barrel about to explode*

At 9:18 pm, May 05, 2007, Anonymous Clyde said...

Poor Red
Think we will have to resurrect the Maxwell Smart Cone of Silence to put around your work station so that the rest of us can get on with our dull gossipy lives.
Yes, us guys do life to talk about blokey things and have a right to do so
And some of the girls do like to talk about fashion, make-up, Big Brother and guys.
I would guess that you are in a minority, having no interest in any of your suggested subjects, so if you cant get your own shed, go with the cone of silence and the majority can get on with their dull lives

At 9:56 pm, May 05, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Steph, you can probably run faster than I can, so you're safe.

Clyde, I've just been watching Donnie Darko, so drowning myself in a bucket looks like a good option.

At 4:11 am, May 06, 2007, Blogger londongirl said...

Hey. You're a grump. But a funny one.

I'd work with you. Florescent lighting or no.

At 6:19 pm, May 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Aww, thanks LG. I think we should work together in a really cool pub/book shop. Whaddyareckon?

At 7:43 pm, May 06, 2007, Blogger Jude said...

I know exactly what you mean. So what conversations are permitted in your world or is silence golden?

At 8:29 pm, May 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Jude, no, silence isn't golden. I can work with noise. It's just intrusive inanity that breaks my brain. It's hard to explain, really, why one type of noise drives me spare and the other doesn't. It could be either volume or proximity or a combination of the two. But as I told petstarr, entertain me and the barrel of psycho bitch will be left uncracked :)

At 12:29 am, May 07, 2007, Blogger Ms Smack said...

LOL I'm going to pay particular attention to the ranting and chit-chat in the team now.

I have an office which means I'm mostly isolated from said chit-chat but I will make it my mission to see if the girls in my office make the same mindless banter as your office, deal?

I love the way you write.

At 10:32 am, May 07, 2007, Blogger killerrabbit said...

Don't read my latest post then Redcap. It is about golf. But yeah I totally agree re the talking about sport, big brother, general inanity of office banter. Another of my pet hates is people who list all their previous employment because they know everything and they are 'so interesting' and people who talk nonstop about their kids. I seem to always be surrounded by the worlds most boring work colleagues.

I don't agree with the beer thing though - I am a fan of most alcholic beverages except Baileys which tastes like baby puke.

At 1:04 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Yeah, when there's a list that long of topics you don't want to hear about, you may want to look into a career change. You don't own any fire arms do you?

At 4:12 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger rupert said...

"There’s a reason I don’t watch Big Brother. It bores me". Yup, that's why I just call it Big Boring.

Rups :)

At 5:52 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger suzanabrams said...

Were you a good sniper, Redcap?thanks for stopping by and for the lovely words. :-)

At 10:22 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ms Smack, thanks, blossom :) But perhaps you're lucky and your office-mates have more meaningful things to talk about!

Dr Kenneth, no, no firearms in the house. I've thought about my career path quite carefully and concluded that the best job I could possibly do would be being Thomas Pynchon. It would be ideal - everyone thinks you're dead for 10 years and then you bring out another book and win the Pulitzer.

Rupert, I like the way you think!

Suzanne, I never actually was a sniper. I was a public servant at the time. But I did learn to shoot a few months ago and managed to hit the targets, so perhaps I missed my calling ;) And thank you for the return visit.

At 4:22 pm, May 08, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

Can I come work in the pub/bookshop? Sounds great.

At 10:20 pm, May 08, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ariel, absolutely! But what would we call said cool pub/book shop?

At 10:44 pm, May 08, 2007, Blogger Ms Smack said...

Ms Red, sometimes meaningful, sometimes Haighs.

At 8:12 pm, May 09, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ms S, is there a difference between Haigh's and meaningful? I once did a Haigh's tour (highlight of journalistic career, second only to shark attack and floods) and I think the two could well be synonymous.


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