Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mute

"Hey, Katie, have you heard of the issue where..." she paused just inside my door and her hair swished around her shoulders as her head turned from side to side. "Is someone talking?"

"Oh," I grinned as I understood why she'd examined my office and motioned to my phone. I had it turned all the way down as the speaker broadcast a meeting. "I'm listening in but not participating. I'm on mute - go ahead." We talked for a moment - I hadn't heard of the problem and couldn't answer her question - and I returned to my list to begin working as I mostly ignored the conversations on the phone.

I finished documents and worked on slides. I took phone calls on my cell and occasionally paid attention to the meeting. I went to get some soup for lunch and refilled my bottle when I was out of water. I embraced a ridiculous amount of guilty pleasure when, upon reading the email that upset me, someone called my current nemesis a nasty name.

I finished the day in Adam's office, going over a couple of issues that had emerged. Swishy-hair entered when Adam waved his arm and we both squinted when she made his lights flicker on.

"Why were you sitting here in the dark?" she asked when we both sent reproachful glances her way.

"It was very romantic until you ruined it," he replied and I grinned. I hadn't even noticed, honestly. I dislike overhead lights and rarely turn on my own. I can see pretty well in low light and was chatting comfortably while the last of the afternoon sun came in through the windows.

Swishy-hair walked over to a chair and seated herself in dramatic fashion, all the while huffing over a project gone awry. I listened quietly, reviewing my notes and thinking I was a little hungry. I glanced over my shoulder at the clock and saw it was well after 5. Wondering what to have for dinner, I shifted over when another colleague joined us, grinning at her while she silently listened to Swishy-hair's tirade with Adam and me.

I waved at my boss as I rose from my chair. Swishy-hair paused to look at me and I asked politely if I could be excused. After being called cheeky - he does that a lot - I was told to go home. I patted my quiet colleague's shoulder affectionately as I took my leave, returning to my office to pack my things and bundle up. I waved a bemittened hand at the group who wandered out with me, pausing as I withdrew the keys from my pocket when a young man in a bright white shirt moved to his own car after asking one of the scientists for directions to the store.

"New people," I thought with delight, making the connection with the tours I'd seen assistants giving throughout the day. It was a bright spot at the end of a productive day - realizing that people were starting fresh in the building where we've been tense and disappointed of late. It seems our dismal predictions were overly optimistic. While nothing drastic has happened, the mood has dipped as stress settles in. We don't want the deals, we need them. Decisions don't seem important, but actually are.

But we're hiring, I decided happily. There are new people who are being shown around and then can learn and grow and create new solutions and opportunities. So though I didn't speak to any of them yet, I found myself cheered by their presence and, as I headed home, spared a moment to hope they transition easily and enjoy their time in the buildings where we work.

I jumped, as I often do, when my phone vibrated in my pocket. I glanced at the screen before flipping it open and grinning when my quiet colleague asked if she was bothering me.

"Not at all," I replied, checking traffic before turning right. "What's up?"

"You have to teach me how to do that," she teased. "Disappear from a meeting just before it gets boring and repetitive."

"I'm sorry," I said, though I smiled. "I must have had my phone on mute too much today - I just decided I was done so I left and assumed you wouldn't miss me." We chatted for another few minutes until I pulled in my garage and came inside to greet Chienne. From the time I said hello to my dog, I don't think I've spoken another word.

After a day of constant noise - conversations and questions, complaints and replies - it's a rather pleasant state of quiet.

4 comments:

TitleTroubles said...

I don't believe you. You had to have called someone a whore at least once tonight.

rpg said...

I'm sure she said bad words about at least one person.

post-doc said...

I'll have you both know I simply sighed. That does not change the fact that you both deserve to be called bad names - you're irritating me all over again.

TitleTroubles said...

If it helps you any, you've now given me a horrific craving for cheesecake. I'd make one, but I don't know what I'd do with the extra. Sure as hell don't want to bring it to share with anyone in this group...

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