Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wow, my last post was my 100th post. Somebody, bake me a cake (seriously, I really like cake).

Anyway, I just got reminded of this story. It's a perfect example of how quickly social skills deteriorate when you work at home for years.

A couple years ago I was working on a very intense project. The deadlines were unrealistic and immoveable, and since I'm completely anal retentive about time and schedules, I was feeling very stressed.

I was barfing out some code one day when I got confused about a coworker's code. He was a clever little bastard and I often had no idea what his code was doing. I was reluctant to call him about it because I was under tremendous time pressure and he tended to give very detailed descriptions, with lots of seemingly unnecessary background information. I was stuck, however, so I dialed him up. We had this conversation:

Me: Hey there. I was wondering if you could explain ... (actual conversation edited to prevent your eyeballs from seizing up in boredeom-induced spasms) me
Coworker: Sure, but before I get to the part you asked about, there's some history here. You don't need to know this, but I'm going to go over it anyway.

For the umpteenth time this guy was going to spend valuable minutes telling me something, that in his own words, I did not need to know! Utilizing my finely-honed passive-aggressive conflict resolution skills, I promptly hit the "Mute" button on my phone and let out a hugely satisfying primal scream.

As soon as I finished my scream therapy, I noticed that my coworker had stopped speaking. There was an awkward several-second pause where I double and triple-checked that I had indeed successfully pressed the "Mute" button. My coworker then eked out a nervous laugh and said, "...uh...ok..." and he continued on with his speech.

Aaaaah! Had he heard my scream? Could it possibly be coincidence that he had paused exactly during my scream? I decided the best thing to do at this juncture was to completely ignore what had just transpired. I fear confrontation.

The next day, when I had slightly recovered from my embarrassment, I asked a friend to conduct a test with me. I called her up and asked if she could hear me scream while I pressed the "Mute" button. As it turns out, it was quite audible. It's not a "Mute" button, it's more like a "Muffle" button. I'm not quite sure why I need a "Muffle" button, but that apparently is what I've got on my crappy-ass Plantronics headset thingee.

I worked with that coworker for another year and a half and we never ever discussed that phone call.

Hombre, if you're reading this (and I'm pretty sure you're not), I'm sorry. If you want to tell me the history of that code again, I'll totally listen this time.


Kat said...

That is awesome. I once put my phone receiver in a drawer as one of my friends droned on about some really boring guy she was dating. I came back after getting a coffee and she was still talking.

Mike said...

Kat, that's great, but I'm surprised you didn't just invite her over for a bath.

Kat said...

Well, I like to reserve that offer for strangers.

Mike - I linked you under Blogs I Read on my ficklefeline page as "Ogblay" - is that what you go by, or is it "I Am Prepared...."? Lemme know.