Thursday, April 15, 2010

Voices Carry 'til Tuesday

When you were a kid, did your mom frequently have to remind you to "use your indoor voice"? Mine did not, but only because I tended not to come indoors unless the weather turned terribly inclement, and even then I enjoyed the out-of-doors from behind the door of my shed.

But at length I became accustomed to the ways of civilized living, in the fashion of The Wild Men of Borneo. And now that I spend that third of my day that I don't spend sleeping or reading in an office, I have come to comment on an odd way that some people choose to behave in an office setting.

And that is, they bellow and caterwaul and scream and bawl and roar and, sometimes, they yelp. They yak and yammer and ululate, howl and whoop. Now, I know that from time to time we all raise our voices in song, or protest, or exultation. (The appearance of Adam Lambert on a tv screen might bring on all three of these, and more.)

But if you work in an office, unless it's the office of a one-person lighthouse, you probably have encountered Mr or Ms Loudtalker. I know you've eaten dinner with them from time to time, not necessarily at the same table, but at the same diner. There just seems to be a law that people who feel the whole world is hanging on to hear their next anecdote about the time Aunt Charlene dropped the jello mold at Thanksgiving and how Duke lapped it up, so they entertain the grateful masses in the dining area.

Maybe that's why in all those old prison movies, there was a big sign that said "SILENCE" on the dining hall wall. No one wanted to hear crime stories as they spooned up their gruel.

Same at the office, but you will notice that in the office stories, instead of being the perpetrator of an offense, the loudspeaker is always the VICTIM of the offense, and will go on and on about how they work SO HARD for the benefit of SO MANY, only to be scorned and tossed aside like junk mail. Or they will tell how they give and give and give love to some unworthy mate, only to have horrid rejection tossed back at them.

And after all they've done for (him) (her) (them).

When I worked at 911, I would watch these Emergency Rescue 911 Squad shows on the tv, and was always interested to see that calltakers and dispatchers all over the country had their work areas pretty much looking like ours. It seemed like some sort of regulation to have each console outfitted with the remaining 1/8th of a roll of paper towels, a couple of map books, a drink in a Spil-Prufe container, and one of those "inspirational motivational" posters, usually showing a kitten in a tree with the slogan "Hang In There, Baby."

Workplace behavior is pretty much standardized. Would you like to see a system in which the Loudtalkers are traded like big-league outfielders? At least then, we'd all get to hear the story of Aunt Charlene's mold. And of Duke, who we all hope is a dog, and not her husband.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Hey I scream in delight, as well as everyone else in my house when Adam Lambert (Rock God) comes on the t.v.!!! :)