Let's turn forever you and me.
You know, for all its shortcomings, the workplace is peppered with people with the most interesting personalities.
I have had this horribly naive perception of the place that you are bound to spend eight hours at, every weekday, for quite some time now: that offices are meant to be deadly quiet. Everyone treats their work seriously, hiding behind their cubicles, tapping away furiously at the keyboard, having the silence broken due to the occasional phone ring or two.
Then there will be the balding, cigar-puffing boss who stalks around quietly, followed by a timid secretary on white stilletos who tries desperately to balance files of all sizes and colours.
Due to the nature of our work, the phones ring at every hour of the day. Everyone will be busy typing away at their keyboards, of course. People walk around briskly. Well, what type of work is not considered serious, anyway?
The phone rings, and Paul answers.
“Harlooooo…” he drawls. And everytime he does that, I cannot help but be amused by the tone of his voice. It changes every now and then, though, depending on how occupied he is. Sometimes he sounds, well, normal – other times, he makes me laugh – quietly. Thankfully, he is seated quite a few tables away to not be able to see me suppressing my gleeful smile.
The computers that we work on are probably decades old now, and every now and then, we hear complaints floating in the air that will either have colleagues nodding along sympathetically, or, well, answered by no one in particular. After all, it has become a daily affair.
“Aiyoh! My work mysteriously disappeared! Is there a virus? People, save your files regularly!”
“Wait ah, I think this bloody Mac is going to stall again…”
Just yesterday, I heard someone banging the mouse repeatedly on the table, muttering “damn it!” in quick succession. Imagine the effort it takes to move a harmless mouse cursor from one point to another on the screen. A minor disturbance it was, but still funny nonetheless (I hope I will not find it equally amusing when my mouse fails me).
And who can expect the big boss to be playfully snapping pictures of, well, people having their pictures taken? Charles did just that, and laughter pierced the air as he switched his camera to playback mode – most of his subjects looked rather, uhm, unprepared for his camera. He also appeared somewhat adorable in some of the pictures – and I think we are talking about someone who is at least early forties of age. He also has a habit of answering enquiries with a long “Hmmmmmmmm…?”, as if he were talking to a three-year-old. For someone of his seniority, I think Charles is a fun person to hang out with.
Come tea-time, and some will be discussing the various television series. Shel even went as far to buy the DVD set to Lost because she could not stand not knowing what was in the hatch.
I have no doubt that I am the youngest there currently. I have trouble fitting in, actually, because they are all much older than me. Age is a barrier to me, but not to them. They know the Britneys from the Christinas; crowd around the television when Live8 was on; launch into debates concerning soccer and Malaysian Idol like teenagers.
Beneath it all, I think they are still kids at heart. This is what keeps them young, and I find that most amazing.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the, uhm, writer.
On air now: Dirty Harry, Gorrilaz