Thursday, January 24, 2013


Working in an office with five zillion cubicles everywhere can be……..interesting. It’s always interesting when you’re trying to tell people how to get to your desk. Two days ago I tried to give directions to someone on the phone…..they sounded like this:
“You come off the elevator and take a right and walk through the big double doors. Then you take another right and you keep walking until you almost get to the wall. You’ll see a tiny walkway of cubicles to your right and there are only like five or six of us back here. I’m the second on the right.”
Person on the phone: “Okay….so how far do I walk?”
“You know those two big column thingies?? Well our little walkway is two column thingies away from the wall.”
Person on the phone: *silence*
“Never mind, just come off the elevator and go through the big double doors on your right and I’ll stand there and wait for you.”
Quite obviously, big offices with hundreds of cubicles need street names. Giving directions would be so much easier if I could just say: “Take a right and walk down Main until you get to Little Main and then make another right. I’m the second mailbox on the right.”
Another interesting thing about working in cubicle-land is the um….how do I say this? Lack of privacy? A cubicle wall prevents people around you from seeing what you are doing, but seeing as how those things are made of foam and fake plastic, they can definitely HEAR everything you are doing. I have the pleasure of working on the opposite side of a man that I will call “John”.
John is a very peculiar person. He doesn’t really talk a whole lot to very many people…..except his daily call to a 1-800 number. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Oh, and did I mention that he makes these calls on speaker phone? No? Well, he does. Every. Single. Time. And because he is much older in age, he thinks that the person on the other end of the line cannot hear him, so he shouts.
I hate calling 1-800 numbers. Calling a 1-800 number is the last thing on my to-do list. Example: Roman’s college tax statement came in the mail the other day from his last semester in 2012. They listed that he received a scholarship of $450….and I can assure you that he most certainly did not. I. Am. Dreading. Calling. These. People. We’re going to have to sit down with these 1-800 people and go through all of those automated prompts before we finally get to talk to someone….and then that someone will probably have to transfer us to someone else….and then…well, you get the point. Back to the story.
For whatever reason though, John really likes to call 1-800 numbers. A lot of times the call is about his health insurance. “Will they cover this?” “Can I do this?” I suppose John has a lot of health problems. However, if I were a dishonest person, John would have a lot of other problems too….because he shouts his Social Security number and every other bit of personal information to these people every single day. Luckily for John though, he is surrounded by honest people who just sit there and snicker quietly to themselves rather than taking his personal information and stealing his identity. Lucky you, John.
Normally John’s conversations are pretty boring, but sometimes they are stinking hilarious. One of the funniest conversations happened several months ago. I will not type John’s words in all caps, but just know that every time he speaks, he shouts…..
John: Hello? Can you hear me?
Customer Service Rep (CSR): Sir, I can hear you….can you hear me?
John: I can’t hear you, can you hear me?
CSR: Sir, I can hear you…..can you hear me?
John: I can hear you, but you can’t hear me.
CSR: I hear you just fine sir.
John: I can’t hear you, but you can hear me.
CSR: Can you hear me now?
John: I can hear you, but you can’t hear me.
CSR: I hear you just fine sir.
John: I can’t hear you. Call me back at this number: XXX-XXX-XXXX   *slams phone down*

If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I would have spoken up and said “I hear the both of you just fine from here.” But alas, I was laughing so hard that I was about to fall out of my chair. I had to walk outside so I could get it out of my system. And for those of you that were wondering…the CSR didn’t call him back. And I can’t blame him….he probably thought it was a prank call or something.
Yesterday, John called another 1-800 number. This time it was about his car. (Again, he’s shouting) “I have a Mazda and the time is all messed up. Can you help me fix it?” This is when it is a good thing that I don’t work for a 1-800 number, because my sarcastic self would have said “Look in the owner’s manual or give me five dollars for wasting my time.” Two days ago, his call sounded like this: “I drove my Malibu to work today and accidently backed into my Mazda pulling out of the driveway. How much is it going to cost me to fix it??” My reply: “Well, we’d have to come assess the damage before I can tell you that. Duh.”
Oh goodness…..Lord bless the man. And Lord bless the people he calls every day for dealing with him. And please help me to laugh quiet enough to where no one else can hear me. Amen.
So here’s the lesson folks: do good in school so that one day you can grow up to work inside of a rat maze. If you’re lucky, you’ll sit next to someone entertaining. Or you’ll work with cool people like me and get involved in a cubicle prank war. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll sit next to someone who has stinky feet and never cleans his work space. And the people will be boring and mean and you’ll hate it.
Okay, totally kidding. (Mostly kidding). There isn’t really a lesson here. Just know that if you work outside and you sometimes dream of sitting in your own little cubicle inside, well….sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And sometimes, you get some really good laughs. Thank God for John.
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:4

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