My workplace is in a cubicle setting. Our inner sea of cubicles is surrounded by an outter wall of offices. Many of the occupants of said offices have a tendency to use a common feature of their phone called, speakerphone. And by use I mean abuse to the point where often times someone will walk over to their door and shut it for them while their on the call. There is only one person who you can really still hear through the door, but you can hear him through the walls as well, taking out his frustration on whomever is the victim of his dialing that day. Needless to say, his office is in a secluded part of the floor.

A new part-time worker started a couple months back in a cube that is on the next aisle and diagonal from my own cube. I did not notice until the past month or so, but he uses his speakerphone to dial phone numbers. Basically, he just turns the speaker on so you can hear the dial-tone and then searches for the phone number for what seems like an eternity while that piercing dial-tone rages through my ears and then dials the number slowly so I can hear each number being pressed and can nearly tell what number is being dialed by level of fury each sound causes me. This has gotten so under my skin that anytime I hear a dial-tone on a speakerphone, like Pavlov’s dog, I relate that sound to anger and get really angry when I hear that sound. Actually, I’m not sure anger really expresses the state well enough. Its more like fury or rage. When I hear that accursed sound, I feel as though I could grow 3 feet, rip apart my clothes and go on a rampage downtown. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Now, it just so happens that I was on the elevator, leaving work the other day when this guy hopped on and introduced himself and asked me some questions about what I do and the like. So I now have what some people refer to as a ‘rapport’ with this man. I had many scenarios all thought up in my head that I would just leave a note on his desk one morning before he got in, asking him to stop using speakerphone. Some versions may have mentioned something about stabbing and tracheas, but we don’t need to delve into the details. Now that this ‘rapport’ existed I felt more compelled to physically confront this man.

Last Friday, after hearing that shrill tone of the beast, I was so enraged I walked over and put on my nicest expression and said, “(Insert name here), Sorry to bother you if your busy, but could you stop using your speakerphone?” He asked if it was bothering me and I responded that “I can hear it through my headphones.” He gave me a bit of an embarassed look and his phone rang. I walked away while he answered it and enjoyed an afternoon of blissful silence.

He started using it again yesterday and today. He seemed to misunderstand that when I said it was bothering me, I didn’t mean just Friday, but actually, the past month and a half. I feel like I need to run into a wall as fast as I can and just hope to knock myself unconscious.

No wonder I get more work done from home.

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