I work in an Office. I know, that word immediately brings to mind rows and rows of grey cubicles with silent workers diligently typing away and filing IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS, sending URGENT FAXES and taking 15 MINUTE SMOKING BREAKS OUTSIDE IN THE DESIGNATED… sorry, I didn’t realize I was yelling that whole time. Silence would be welcome here at my office, but fate has not granted me this wish. I work 10 feet away from an Office Spark. What’s that? You have never heard of this term? I figured every office had at least one. I think my office has the head Spark, or at least the regional manager of the Northeast branch of Office Sparks. An O.S. is someone who arrives at the office first thing in the morning and gets a conversation going before even reaching their desk. "Starts the fire", as it were. In my case, the O.S. is an older woman with a voice that would curl a bald man's hair. Think late 20th century Long Island hairdresser. Vintage. I’m talking about Fran Drescher without the lilting fairy tones she sprinkles through the air with her siren song. She doesn't contribute to the conversation, she just comes in and shouts a random topic as her way of greeting everyone. Some examples:
"American Idol, everybody! American Idol last night!"
"The election! Coming up everybody! Obama! McCain!"
"Snow coming everyone! Get your shovels ready!"
Then she sits at her cubicle and waits for the fire to spread. And it does, oh it most certainly does. Someone will inevitably make a response comment that really gets the fire going. Then other voices join in, and suddenly there is a firestorm of conversation when before there was only silence. Like a spark, the O.S. burns bright only for an instant, and then lays dormant with nothing more than a few murmured responses or ambivalent grunts. Our O.S. has done her job again, like a Town Crier, only I'm the one crying. In lieu of the standard "Good Morning Everybody!" we get "Economy everyone! Dow Jones!" Just random snippets of current events, like a match thrown into a pile of dry kindling.
Our Spark also varies her tone depending on the gravity of the events surrounding the topic. Frivolous topics get a hearty shout with a little laughter mixed in ("Deal or No Deal! *giggle* A million dollars! *chuckle*), while national tragedies get a solemn tone; a reverential hush as she sadly announces the topic at hand and waits for the resulting inferno (*low voice* "Katrina everybody...yeah, I know...Katrina...the weather...so sad *trailing to almost a whisper*). Regardless of the state of the world, she comes in ready to burn every cubicle wall to the ground with nothing but a cup of coffee and a bullhorn voice. If she is on her game, and she always is, the conversation (fire) rages for a good 15 to 20 minutes, at top volume, while 10 feet away this lonely office worker tries to keep himself from getting overwhelmed by smoke (vomit).
I suppose it could be worse. It could always be worse. She could choose personal subjects as to use as little verbal firebombs instead of world events:
"Explosive diarrhea, everyone! Breakfast Burrito!"
"Hit and Run, everybody! Rearview mirror blind spot, everyone!"
"DUI, everybody! Vodka Martinis last night! Driving backwards on the turnpike, everybody!"
Yikes. I'll be thankful for small favors as I sit here in my asbestos cubicle hoping that the fire doesn’t overwhelm me. Or I could just get a good pair of earplugs.
Blast From The Past!!!
4 years ago