Notes from Friday afternoon:
This afternoon, anticipating a quick but fun trip up to Idaho and just rather enjoying life in general, I was seized by the sidden desire to start singing. Sadly, I decided that singing to oneself in one’s cubicle is probably asking for trouble. As I’ve discovered, people who work in cubicles live on top of each other and if they’re paying any attention at all, can learn all kinds of things about each other.
One thing I’ve started noticing recently is that my desk is kind of in this little island of multiculturalism. Between the Iranian tech and the Chinese researcher behind me, the Italian woman on my right, the French lady who frequently comes and jabbers with the Italian woman, and the man who speaks some kind of Slavic language loudly on the phone on the other side of the cubicle divide (when he’s not speaking loudly in English with a Slavic accent), I feel very multicultural sometimes. My favorite part is when I hear conversations being carried out in other languages that are science-based, because then they are punctuated by random English science words that don’t have a convenient equivalent in the other language. It might be something like “Blah blah, blah [insert Slavic words here] blah metaphase plate, blah blah blah cytology blah blah E. coli blah . . .” and these are fun because I still have no idea what’s being said, but I can piece something together. Or it’s just funny to hear random English words thrown in. Take your pick.
I also don’t understand how these people, along with all the native English speakers, can carry out so many conversations at such a volume. Granted, not very many of them speak really loud, but if I listen, I can make out so many different conversations. Granted, not many of them need to be private or are of a personal nature, but I’ve definitely overheard some funny things. This is why I always run out of the cubicle area when my cell phone rings. I am incredibly self-conscious about my elder colleagues hear me talking on the phone. Of course, bad cell phone etiquette has always been a pet peeve of mine, so that probably plays in here somewhere. It’s also kind of entertaining to hear the quiet symphony of cell phones going off. They are likely to not be answered, since we are the research team and odds are pretty good that someone will be in their lab and not at their desk. So I’ve listened to a wide variety of rings in the past month or so. The only one that I’ve been able to actually place with its owner is that of my coworker and friend L, whose ring is the theme of “The Office.” That one wasn’t hard to figure out, since she is an avid fan of the show (and although we talk about a lot of things together, we haven’t made much headway there since I’ve seen about 2 ½ episodes of “The Office” ever).
I’m still working on making my cubicle an aesthetically pleasing place to be. It sports a batik from Africa, a vase from Thailand, a few pictures, lots of office supplies, and two plants. Interestingly, my plants at work are looking healthier than my plants at home. I think this has mainly to do with the fact that I stare at my work plants frequently and it’s very easy to remember to water them. It’s a little harder to remember to do the rest, especially on days like yesterday when I got home from work, an hour later left to do a session in the Salt Lake temple as part of my stake conference, and didn’t get home for good until almost 11. Something about days like that make them less conducive to plant watering. Anyway. If anyone has a really cool idea for my cubicle and I like it and decide to use it, you might get a prize. If you’re lucky.