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Office Space

About five months ago, my department at work moved offices. It was a huge undertaking, a logistical feat, to organize the computer, phone, file, and desk moves for 40 people - 20 of them new employees. I've felt settled in for at least the past three months. It takes several weeks to become accustomed to the new sounds, sights, and smells of a new gray cube, you know. I had to experiment with how much control I'd need to use in my voice modulations while venting on the phone about how insanely bored I was those first few months; I had to accept, after my initial objections and protests and use of the term "ghetto" to refer to the area outside my cube, that the printer being used by 25 people WAS going to be right outside my doorway, and the big cardboard boxes of extra paper WERE going to be my responsibility by default, since, oh look, I was the closest! and the printer needs paper! and the people waiting for their print jobs, especially the really tall ones, would hang their arms all over my cube walls and block my ghetto doorway while they chatted about the weather.

And I'm fine with all of that. I've completely acclimated myself to the new office. No Very few complaints. But today, while we worked diligently inside our soft gray stations, my entire office was accosted by what sounded like a cable-less television on a dead channel with the volume turned all the way up. I pictured "snow," the hypnotic black and white flashes that dart across the screen during a storm or cable outage, and we all wondered aloud, with more than a hint of irritation in our voices, "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT LOUD, LOUD SOUND?"

We made our way out of our cubes one by one, looking dazed, confused, and crotchety, the way I picture myself limping out of my house when I'm 90 and pissed off about the whipper snapper neighbors in their 40s daring to have music playing at an outside barbecue at the late hour of 8:30 p.m. "Do you hear that? What is that? It's so distracting. GAH!"

A few minutes later, I received the following e-mail:

FYI - The staticy* noise you hear is white noise to drown out other noises. Ours wasn't turned on until today.

This just in: White Noise Should Be Loud And Very Distracting So As To Drown Out Other Noises Like The Tapping Of One's Keyboard Or, Say, One's Music Over One's Headphones. (Also, Be Sure To Turn It On Five Months Past Move-In Date. It's More Effective That Way.)

*Not my spelling, people. You should know that by now.

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