In my last post to this blog (yeah, sorry, been busy etc.), when I spoke to my supervisor and was thus rescued from a possible spiral of depression, she remarked that although she’d rather I moderate my chatting a bit, there were still people on the other side of the office (actually two basement units with the dividing wall partially knocked through) who could be just as annoying… and hinted about one of them (“I think you know who I mean” was probably closer to her exact words). I know she meant the noisy, obnoxious and incessantly cheerful woman who I feel has been slowly driving me, and only me, to the edge of insanity (the opposite edge, I mean) since I started working in this office in 2009, and although it was good to have my feelings somewhat validated, it felt just a bit like that creepy moment in Half-Life 2: Episode Two…
“Rise and shine, Missster Freeman, rise and… shine!”
Okay, for those of you not into vidya gamez, allow me to bring you up to speed. In Valve’s Half-Life (1998) you play Dr. Gordon Freeman, a hazard suit-clad PhD physicist employed by the secret Black Mesa facility, who is present when an experiment goes wrong and a “resonance cascade failure” tears a hole in reality, allowing all sorts of hideous pan-dimensional beasties to invade our world. As you fight your way (Dr. Freeman is apparently an expert marksman with a Bag of Carrying) through both monsters and the soldiers sent to kill everyone, and assist the scientists who are trying to seal the rift and save the world, you become aware of a strange man in a suit and tie, who has been watching you throughout the ordeal, yet no-one else ever mentions him to you (even though he can be seen arguing with a scientist at one point). The G-Man (short for “government man”), as fandom calls him, appears to you at the end of the game once you’ve defeated the evil intelligence which has been controlling the invasion; in his strange, halting speech (suggesting human language is a new concept to him), he reveals that he’s been watching you on behalf of his, ah, “employers”, and offers you a contract…
In the second game, Half-Life 2 (2004), the G-Man returns you to the world from stasis, “the right man in the wrong place”: Earth has been under the yoke of a different set of pan-dimensional aliens for some time, and you’ve got to help the resistance fight back. Once again he watches you from afar, disappearing before you can catch him up, and indeed at several points he seems to be giving instructions to people you later meet (such as the David Niven-esque Odessa Cubbage), but again no-one mentions him to you — almost as though he’s imaginary. It’s only in the second “episodic” spin-off from this game, Half-Life 2: Episode Two (please note, I was not responsible for Valve’s naming convention), that one of your allies, Dr. Eli Vance, finally mentions him to you, after his daughter Alyx, your constant companion since Episode One, relays to him words that the mystery man had given her under hypnosis:
“‘Unforeseen consequences’! The last time I heard those words was back at Black Mesa… you had just stepped into the test chamber when he whispered them in my ear. You know who I’m talking about: our mutual friend!”
And so it is with the annoying woman at work: even though people interact with her, and even sometimes moan about her behind her back (one of my friends referred to her as “Hurricane [name]” when her voice was audible in the corridor outside — this was before Sandy, so not “too soon”), no-one has ever really expressed to me just how vexatious she is.
Okay, on one occasion a colleague (the guy who was rude to me before — don’t worry, we’re back down to Defcom 4 now!) told me he reckoned she never did any work except when doing a mail-out, and even then she’d ask others for help stuffing envelopes; but it almost seemed as though no-one else felt the same way as me. As though no-one had noticed my constant flinching at her loud, screeching laughter (often at her own “funny” comments), or my quiet mutterings of “ugh, shut up!” whenever she starts talking loudly to someone on the other side of the room (when their voice is just a murmur by comparison)…
Don’t worry, this post is purely therapeutic, and dare I say it, cathartic: I won’t go on at length about how she often repeats (echoes, not choruses) the last thing someone says to her, which means if the other person is out of earshot, it sounds like she’s just said a random word like “voucher” or “teabag” for no reason. Nor will I complain any more about the annoying non-verbal noises she makes, like “aauuurrrrmmmmnnnnyymmm…” (I only noticed that when I had the misfortune to work with her directly), or mooing like a cow with a grating sore throat when she gets frustrated, or clearing her throat loudly ALL. FRICKING. DAY, or sneezing at over 70 decibels (er, I have a volume meter app on my smartphone). And there’s little point in expressing my frustration at her tendency to append “isn’t it?” to almost every sentence, as everyone in London seems to do that these days (or shortens it to “innit?”, which is even worse).
I certainly won’t criticise her for being fat, or for being Polish — it’s not like when Jeremy Clarkson (love him or hate him) called our former PM Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot”: the fact he’s one-eyed and the fact he’s Scottish aren’t relevant to the fact he’s an idiot, y’see? There are plenty of nice “plus-size women” in the world (we used to have one working with us, but the organisation very unfairly dropped her — talk about injustice, eh?), and a friendly boss lady who gets me to help her husband with his PC is herself Polish (as was a girl I liked at a speed dating event earlier in the year).
“STOP NICKING PICTURES YOU FOUND ON GOOGLE, DAVE-ROOOOS!”
Someone else who is both large and larger-than-life, with a booming voice audible from the opposing hemisphere, is none other than BRIAN BLESSED*, and however much I enjoy him on TV, I know perfectly well that if he came to work in my office (and thus didn’t have a volume control), it’d be funny for about five minutes. It doesn’t matter now amusing, or nice, or warm-hearted someone is if they’re incessant and you have no option but to put up with them! It’s like jackhammer roadworks: you know you can’t do anything about it, and you hope it’s being useful and not just a waste of council money, but ugh, give it a rest already!
(* Please note: under the rules of HTML 4, writing the words “Brian” and “Blessed” next to each other causes them automatically to become bold uppercase)
Hehehehe, childhood obesity!
I should point out that if I’m asked to help this woman, I do it without hesitation — I may not like her as a person, but I’m a professional and I do my job (and, mercifully, she doesn’t try to be my BFF any more… much). What I will say, though, is that she has a shirt which looks suspiciously like the one Chunk wears in The Goonies (1985) — so what would happen if she asked me for help and I told her she had to do the Truffle Shuffle first? Er, I’d get sacked for sexual harassment, obviously!
Right, that’s your lot — I won’t mention that dreadful harridan again, and who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing another bit of work with her and developing some sympathy for her. HAH!!! There’s more chance of me getting a girlfriend, cheering the f*** up and not being such a sourpuss all the time (oops, sorry, I wasn’t supposed to talk about my love life, was I?).
But hey, we all have to deal with annoying people in our lives — and at least I get to go home and away from her at the end of the day… be thankful I haven’t written much about my former “third housemate”, the guy who made a lot of noise in the house and thought it would be sooo endearing, in an Odd Couple kind of way, if he never did his washing-up (thus prompting me to get my own sets of crockery and cutlery)! That part of my life is over, thank $DEITY…