Last week I was fishing around for blog ideas and my cousin suggested something along the lines of people who forget they’re in a cubicle farm and thus end up sharing too much on personal phone calls.
I can’t relate.
Sure, I work in a sea of cubicles, but everyone goes all secret agent when it comes to personal phone calls. Voices drop. Feet scurry. When their cells ring there’s a curtly whispered, “ummm… psst hello” quickly followed by the opening and closing of the hallway door. Your only hope of pure, unadulterated eavesdropping occurs if you’re lurking around hallway – the “oh my, I haven’t ever read this poster about the importance of security badges before. Maybe I should give this a closer look” approach or you move onto a landing in the stairwell – you know, voices really carry in those. Not that I know from personal experience. I’ve just “heard” things… from others. To top it off, a good portion of the people I work with speak multiple languages, thus severely reducing the chance of a good, solid, gossip-able family meltdown. Wow. I’ve found the one good reason to force people to speak only English – how will I know if the guy next to me is a player unless I hear (and understand) him as he makes his moves?
It’s not that I haven’t had some great moments with co-workers and their personal calls, but it’s been so long that I can’t even think of one good story. Sure, there was the time Robert yelled at his kid over homework versus video games, but really, that’s just nothing.
Now, if we can take it out of the office. I’ve heard some GREAT conversations that people were either sharing with a friend on the phone or personally entertaining a crowd at the store. Take the time Jay and I were at a coffee place called Mozart’s (by the way, a “Z” in German sounds like a “ts”, so when you read that think Mote’s Art – not Moe’s Art – random factoid for the day, forever pet peeve of mine… ANYWAY). While we were out on the deck enjoying the moonlight dancing over the murky water the young frat guy behind us was having an amazing conversation with some guy friend. Now he was a player and was cheerfully chatting on about all the women he was stringing along and was downright giddy (and very loud) while using every thumping-chest kind of derogatory remark he could. Suffice it to say that Gloria Steinem would have given him a beat down had she been there. Sure, what he said was wrong… but funny… and well, I can’t really justify that statement because for the life of me all of his cheesy comments that I had committed to memory for so long have finally been purged from my long-term memory.
Or there was the guy at the comic shop recently who had several other customers enthralled as he loudly proclaimed that everyone should trust him because he was a genius. (Personally, I always sit up when any conversation involves someone touting their IQ.) He meant the conversation for the younger geeks in front of him, but the conversation was wafting (as words and smells tend to do at comic book stores) across the store. Honestly, once I heard the beginning of this promising speech, I gave Kendra the look which basically meant “Oh, this is good. I’m going to be feigning interest in this shelf over here to hear the rest.” (It’s ok that I’m occasionally mean. I wasn’t hugged much as a child and I have self-esteem issues. And yes, it does make me feel better about myself. Look it up!)
So, I guess that while overall I get where my cousin is coming from – that people should be mindful of where they are when they discuss personal things, I still enjoy the occasional random conversation I bump into. It makes me feel confident that when I’m making an ass of myself, because someone has just caught a stray sentence or two from one of my little monologues, that there’s someone out there gleefully mocking me (I hope they got the voice right). And really, we should all take a moment to laugh at ourselves and each other. We’re funny little creatures who get wrapped up in being too serious too often.