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Smell the Coffee: I swear, it's not you

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week's column on office pet peeves opened a can of worms. Or maybe a case.

It also left me feeling a little awkward around my own office, as several of my co-workers seem convinced I wrote about them.

I would never do something like that. Oh, no. Never. Not me.

Not when there're so many other offices to choose from.

"A woman in our office has a habit of vigorously scraping the absolute last of the contents of her yogurt, pudding or whatever type container she is eating from with a spoon," wrote one emailer. "That rapid-fire tic-tic-tic (think rock in a tire tread) gets on everyone's nerves, and she does it at least once per shift."

When things are slow, the same employee plays computer games on her office computer, which her co-worker wouldn't mind if she'd turn off the music.

Several people wrote about co-workers who make random odd noises or who talk to themselves.

"One man in our office does a running commentary about his progress on different projects, but he's not talking to anyone. He's all by himself in there. Occasionally, we'll hear him say, 'Hmmm. What do you think about that, buddy boy?' But he's ALL ALONE. Not even on the phone."

Another wrote about a woman in her office who will be typing away, totally intent on whatever it is she's working on, and then will randomly bark out a loud, "Ha!"

"It scares the crap out of me," she wrote. "I mean, I should be used to it by now, but I get all lulled by her typing and it's so quiet in there, just the two of us. And then, 'HA!' I need to invest in adult diapers if I'm going to keep working here."

"There's a lady in our office who writes on everything," wrote Anne. "And she sticks her notes everywhere. They're taped to her lamp, her screen, her phone, her walls. She can't even read her own handwriting, so it's not like the notes do her any good. Sometimes we scrawl things on scraps and stick them to her wall just to see if she'll notice, but if she does, she doesn't take them down. They're still there."

"Our office has an elbow fondler," wrote one Charleston lady. "He comes up behind women and cups his hand around their elbow, gets this creepy, faraway look in his eye. Disturbing."

"Did anyone mention new grandparents?" asked a Facebooker. "The ones with stacks of pictures or even worse, they'll make you look through all their cellphone pictures that are too small to really see. There's no stopping them."

Noisy nose-blowers were perhaps the most frequently submitted office pet peeve. The worst offenders being those who plant their sick selves in the office lunch room to honk.

Many co-workers wrote that they're miffed about having to share a common area with those who leave crumbs, wrappers, hairs or nail clippings behind.

Or working next to people who munch on something all day long.

"I'm pretty sure she's chewing rocks," wrote one.

"She crunches every morsel of food she puts in her mouth," wrote another. "She loves crunchy food but can't just chew it and swallow. She has to CRUNCH each bite SLOWLY while she looks at her laptop intently, as if whatever is on the screen might be the next Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of literature. Sends me over the edge."

And none of the above came from the office where I work.

Pinky promise. I swear.

Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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