Thursday, April 21, 2011

They never had it when I was a lad...

There's a person at my work who insists on communicating with me by Google-Talk1. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the person sits approximately 10 feet from me, with nothing to separate us but a stretch of carpet and a three foot high desk.

So I'm sitting there working away at my computer and the little chat window pops up, and it's a message from -- let's call him, for the sake of anonymity -- "Barry". And Barry is asking what time I'm going to lunch. Now, perhaps a lot of people would type in an answer, and everyone would go away happy. But for some reason I can't help but find this insistence on not talking just a tad vexing, particularly when Barry is, how do I put this, one of those Engineers who probably would benefit enormously from as much vocalisation as he can get.

So I turn to Barry and I say "Twelve O'clock?". His response is to jump like someone dropped a tarantula down the back of his neck. He then peers at me through his glasses and nods in a kind of dismissive way, as if willing the voices in his head to go away. I'm left feeling like a bit of a meanie, but hopefully my point has been made.

Of course, one of the side-effects of my insistence on meeting his text questions with verbal answers is that the rest of the office now thinks I have a tendency to spout random, unconnected phrases at full volume to nobody in particular. This probably explains why conversation tends to hush when I walk into the kitchen.

1In case you don't know what that is, it's a little chat program that lets you send text from one computer to another, kind of like an instant email.

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