In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: work

Workplace recollections

Things I learned from my workplace neighbours:

  • Don’t use a squeaky grip exerciser in the office. Nearby coworkers will hear it and be annoyed.
  • Carefully consider your lunch choices if they’re strongly scented. Nearby coworkers will notice if you use the microwave oven to reheat a lunch that smells like burnt garbage or a tire fire.
  • Don’t trim your fingernails in the office. Nearby coworkers will hear and be annoyed.
  • Don’t spout off about how lotteries are a tax on the stupid, and then rush to join the office lottery pool because you don’t want to be left out if the pool members happen to strike it rich. Your coworkers will notice that you’re a hypocrite, and that you’ve got a big mouth.
  • Don’t create a ringtone of your very young child speaking a foreign tongue and keep your cellphone at maximum volume. Nearby coworkers will notice when you receive a call and believe you’ve summoned a tiny demon. Again.
  • Don’t trim your toenails in the office. Nearby coworkers will hear and be revolted.
  • Don’t take off your shoes if your feet smell like a wet dog. Nearby coworkers will smell it and be annoyed. They’ll wonder why you don’t wash your feet. Why don’t you wash your feet‽
  • If you’re caught airing out your dog feet once, simply don’t do it again. Don’t tell your co-worker to tell you if your feet bothers him/her again. Keep your shoes on. Why would you risk subjecting your pleasant co-workers to your weapons-grade feet?
  • Don’t chew your lunch with your mouth open. Nearby coworkers will suddenly find themselves not very hungry.
  • Don’t take it a step further and talk to them while chewing. They may throw up on you if they can’t get away quickly enough.
  • Don’t change in your cubicle. If you ignore this advice, your bad karma will certainly have your neighbour pass by just as you’re stripped down to your underwear. Your neighbour will then be forever traumatized by this unwelcome and unpleasant image. Don’t feel relief that only one person saw you, as everyone else in the office will hear about it before lunch.
  • It’s fine if you never talk to your coworkers, but then don’t blow up at them months later because they don’t talk to you.
  • Mute your cellphone. This is doubly important if you text frequently with your spouse. Ignore this advice and nearby coworkers will fight over the privilege of shanking you the next time you visit the washroom.
  • Don’t wear sandals over your socks. If you do, your coworkers will notice and wonder why you don’t know how to dress yourself.
  • Please have more than one shirt, and make sure all your shirts aren’t identical. If you only have one shirt, your coworkers will notice and think you’re gross. If all your shirts are the same, you coworkers will believe you have only one shirt and think you’re gross.
  • Don’t spit in the kitchen sink at work. Your coworkers will notice and wonder what’s wrong with you.
  • If you bring canned drinks to work and forget to put them in the refrigerator when you arrive, don’t put one in the freezer to get it cold quickly when you find yourself suddenly thirsty. You’ll forget, it’ll burst, and when you go to get it, five people will be gathered around the freezer griping about the jerk who left his drink in the freezer. You coworkers will notice you standing there and you’ll be forced to agree with them and leave without your drink.
  • Don’t talk to your invisible friends in the office. Nearby coworkers will hear you and realize you’ve got toys in the attic.
  • Don’t forget your condom wrapper in the mop closet. Your coworkers will notice and…isn’t that enough?

I’ve witnessed these events in all but one case. In that instance, I was the offender.

Do you have any lessons you’ve learned? Let me know in the comments!

Kenneth Gilbert and Bach help me with yard work

Such a lovely day out today! It’s 22° and sunny with just a few clouds in the sky. There’s also a nice breeze to cool you off if you’re working. Perfect day!

You may be surprised to learn that I am, in fact, working. I’m enjoying a day off from my job, but Mom’s got me pulling crab grass. For two years it’s escaped her notice simply because she didn’t know it wasn’t regular grass. I opened my big mouth at some point and brought this on myself. Most has already been extracted from the front lawn so now there’s just a few dense patches to exorcise. My dad has an ingenious tool ideal for this purpose. You step on a lever, driving three metal teeth into the ground. Pull back on the handle and the teeth close. Continue to pull back and the nasties pop out of the ground. Push forward on a part of the handle and the teeth reset while a plate moves downward over the teeth and ejects what you’ve pulled. It’s great. The only downside is that it also extracts a plug of soil so you need to fill the hole.

I can’t simply shake the soil off the crabgrass’ roots because I’ll be shaking the seeds off the little bastards, helping them to make my life miserable in the future. As a result, I’ll be bringing a wheelbarrow of soil from the back yard to replace what I’ve extracted and I’ll seed it with new grass.

If you know me, you’ve already heard me complain about yard work. Truth be told, my ideal habitat would be in a condo. But the yard is here and I’ve come to help my mom, so the yard is my responsibility. And while it doesn’t make up for all the drudgery, there is an appeal to seeing your work sprout new life.

To keep me company, I’ve enlisted Kenneth Gilbert to play me some Bach to pass the time. I really enjoy the Inventions and Sinfonias, BWV 772 – 801 and I also enjoy the harpsichord so I went in search of that work performed on the harpsichord. I’m surprised it took me so long. The piano hadn’t been invented when Bach was around so the harpsichord was the instrument he used to compose and perform it. To my surprise, I did not have many choices. I saw Gilbert’s CD of the performance on Amazon for $35. I believe it’s out of print because Amazon wasn’t fulfilling any of the CD orders itself. I have a copy of Gilbert’s harpsichord performance of The Art of Fugue which I enjoy, and the recording is very good. I order the CD and it’s worth every penny. It’ll be difficult to listen to the piece performed on a piano from here on.

And wouldn’t you know it? About a month later, I discovered that Archiv Produktion released a ten CD box set of Gilbert’s recordings early this year. Two of those ten are the two I already own. Regardless, for $39.30 I’m enjoying eight CDs of his Bach harpsichord performances that are new to me!

As I pull crab grass, I’m making my way through Book One of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier BWV 846 – 893.

It’s still not a great deal of fun, but Gilbert and Bach make it far more bearable than it would be, otherwise.

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