Get Out Of My Bubble Please!
I’m anything but a morning person. The minute my alarm clock goes off, my mind starts coming up with reasons for me to call in to work and go back to sleep. My love for a hot shower is overshadowed by my hate of being awake before the sun has risen. I can’t quite conceal the bags under my eyes and always fail to mask my exhaustion no matter how sharp I can get my makeup to appear or what direction I comb my hair. Once I’m halfway decent looking, I tend to the overactive dog and cranky child. My husband generally wakes around this time and his reluctance to get out from underneath his blanket makes me want to crawl under one myself. When we finally pile into the car, it’s a 40 minute drive to our boy’s school and then to work, dodging mopeds and slow drivers and hoping not to catch every red light or the train along the way. We stagger through security and collapse at our desks, mine on the first floor, my husband above. And then the fun begins.
There is no shortage of awful people in the large government building we work in. My husband recently posted a blog about behaviors that are unacceptable at work, behaviors we both tend to witness more than we should have to. This morning we got in early and I beat both my boss and my office nemesis, not-Paula Deen, in to work. Our drive was stress-free for once and I was feeling optimistic about the day until not-Paula opened the door and filled the quiet office with her shrill voice and cackling laughter. Her cell phone, volume on high, began to ring and she immediately came over to my desk even though hers is just five more steps (or waddles in her case) in the other direction. She throws both her bags onto my desk and begins rifling through one, small items falling out and clanging onto my desk. She finally finds her phone and begins a loud conversation; she is one of those people who fails to understand that technology has advanced and you don’t have to shout into phones to be heard. I stopped working on my current task and turned around to attempt to murder her with my stare. I failed to do that but I did succeed in getting her to piss off and go to her own area. Hardly a victory since I doubt very much that it crossed her mind at all that she was invading my personal space and behaving in quite a rude manner.
I’m big on having my personal bubble go unviolated. My husband can invade it freely as noted in our marriage license, my close friends are another exception, and of course the family I get along with and my pup dog are welcome. Coworkers, strangers, simple acquaintances, and store employees however must remain outside of my bubble unless I verbally grant them permission to enter. I don’t think it unreasonable to not want foreign bodies near my body or not want other people’s belongings in my work area. I get that my desk happens to sit in a public area of the office and I expect people to make use of the group of chairs to my right or to stand to my left and wait for my supervisor to be free. I do not expect people to get in my face, use my phone without permission, reach over me to grab paper clips, or to throw their crap on my desk without even asking “is it okay if I set this here for a minute?” Not-Paula knows I can’t stand her bloated face and gossipy ways, obviously she also knows I don’t want her in my space, but like many people in this building she lacks the tact and respect for others that prevents the average person from imposing on someone else’s space.
I’m starting to wonder what happens to a person’s mind after they work in this building for a certain amount of years. It’s a weird group phenomenon that takes place with bad behaviors; one person will decide it’s okay to use nail clippers at their desk which leads to 4 or 5 people clipping their nails in the office. One woman will begin taking loud personal calls during working hours and soon half a dozen people are yakking away to their friends while you struggle to have an actual work related phone call. There is a mess in the bathroom which makes others not feel guilty about leaving their own mess behind as well. It’s like a horrible game of dominos.
A behavior going unprotected does not mean the behavior is acceptable. As much as I’d love to politely tell not-Paula that her constant gum cracking/popping is incredibly distracting and to please tone it down, I know that the only thing that would come out of it would be her whining to my supervisor about how mean I am and me having to have another “talk” with him and be told to try to ignore her. People have hung signs in the restroom about the filth, but they’re eventually torn down and the mess just multiplies. No matter what policies are put in place or what rules are laid out, people act how they want to act and oftentimes that means they act like pigs and jerks.
My hope is that there are more people who think the way I do in the world; people who eat with their mouths closed, thank those who hold doors open, treat drive-thru workers with respect, and are quiet during movies. People who give a damn about how their actions affect those around them. I hope not-Paula falls off a cliff, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect her space and property. My personal feelings for an individual (or lack thereof) don’t dictate my behavior and don’t justify me acting like an ass; coworkers are a captive audience and an office should strive to be a place of peace, not treated like everyone’s living room or bedroom. I shouldn’t ever have to hear my husband tell me that the guy next to him is frantically Q-tipping his ears in the middle of the damn office rather than at least excuse himself to the restroom to poke around in his orifices.
In elementary school (or preschool for some), we are taught manners that we are expected to carry throughout our lives; please and thank you, eat with proper utensils and with a closed mouth, wash hands after using the restroom, and so on. The things we learn as a child should stay with us throughout our lives, not be dropped and forgotten during our years of teen angst. I stopped going to church years ago, but I recall being taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated, and I believe that’s a lesson that should stick regardless of your religious preferences. Hopefully my actions will inspire others to act better and be mindful of others. In the meantime, if you plan on engaging in rude and obnoxious behavior, know I am silently judging you in person now and openly mocking you with my husband and proper friends later. You damn dirty pig.