I’ve somehow always had a job where it’s normal to move around a lot. Like, move offices, move to a new project, move to a different department, etc. Which works really well with me because of my fear of being bored. But it’s meant that I’ve had all sorts of working environments. From working in my dining room, to having my own lush office (with a door and a window and everything!) But more often than not: I’ve been in Cube Farms.
Cube Farm (from Wikipedia): Sea of cubicles (or cube farm or cubicle farm) is a derisive vernacular term for featureless, modern open office designs which consist of seemingly endless rows of identical office cubicles.
It looks like this:
And I have lots of stories from the things I’ve inevitably overheard in The Farm, like how one coworker used to exclaim “Whaatcheee!” --like the sound of a whip – after he completed different tasks next door to me. He also listened to techno music during the day – out loud – and when I passive-aggressively asked if I should get out my glow sticks, he thought it was funny and that I enjoyed it.
(Actually some days I did.)
Another time, one of the Full-Time staff at my office (my job at that office was temporary, meaning I was there for a six-month project and then I was leaving for another project. There were others like me, a whole team of us) leans over the top of the wall that separates our cubes, looks down, and I kid you not, says:
“Which one are you again?”
As in, which member of the temporary team. Like- she couldn't be bothered to learn our names. Nice.
But my favorite time in a Farm was when I was on a project with some Law Enforcement guys with New York accents. These guys never ceased to crack me up with the stuff I’d overhear, made even funnier by the fact that you don't see anyone in a Farm, you just hear faceless voices.
One day, the guy next to me was on the phone with his kid, who apparently lived with "the baby-mama." The conversation proceeded very sweetly, with the guy in the cubical doing the whole faking- interest Dad Thing, which sounded something like "Uh huh..OH! really? THEN what happened! Oh! Uh HUH!.." He did this for a while before he decided it was time to get off the phone. Then I heard "Ok, daddy's gotta work now...ok...i love you too...ok..love you.. ok..." and right as he was putting the receiver down, he must've been struck with guilt because he inexplicably blurted out "YOU'RE SPECIAL!" just before hanging up the phone.
That scene was then reenacted for many of my friends for years afterwards. I still like to finish phone conversations with that if at all possible...
Anyway, at one point I started Tweeting some of the really good things I'd hear in that Farm. Some of those no-context tweets are below. Keep in mind these are all just voices coming from different directions around me. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Cube 1: "Hey, you know that guy in New York who started a program to combat Anti-Islam messages? ...He just be-headed his wife..."
Cube 1: My first LP was Thriller. But my first '45' was Jack Wagner.
Cube 2: Who is Jack Wagner?
Cube 3: What's a '45'?
Cube 4: You OLD!
Cube 1: "Sorry! I can't keep abreast of who's dead these days!"
Cube 1 begins spouting Eagles lyrics, and stops mid-sentence to muse out loud: "I've been on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and that didn't happen to me...."
Cube 3: “I'm always nice to you #@$&*# woman! Now get out!!”
Guy walking up to Cube 1: "Hey, I'm Joe. I do some work with you guys."
Cube 1: "Yeah? Well I'm Patches the Pig in my spare time..."
Cube debate now going on of who would win a war: Pirates or Space Cowboys…
Cube 1:"I wonder if Red Man Chew was ever chewed by Indians?"
Cube 1: "Do you know what I'm getting for Christmas this year?"
Cube 2: "I hope it's a Glock!"
Cube 1: "No..... M&Ms."
And my Favorite….
Overheard two cubes over: "Hey Charlie! ...You dressed?"