Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
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My Pandemic Journey of Self-Discovery Helped Me Discover that My Colleagues Are Too Loud

So how do I tell them without hurting feelings?
By |
Zac Crain looks over his coworkers with disdain
Shutterstock, Tim Rogers

I will say, up front, that a big part of this problem is on me. I do understand that. I changed more than my colleagues did, I think.

So it is not necessarily that a number of my co-workers have suddenly become like TVs in the common room at an assisted living facility, volume-wise. You might think that from the headline. It might sound like I am saying that they blast sound at me like they are verbally reenacting any number of exciting scenes from 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, colloquially known as T2. No, sir. Not saying that.

Nor am I saying that it feels like they get on a group text each morning to plot new (and, even a curmudgeon would have to admit, exciting) ways to elevate normal office conversation into the realm of experimental, confrontational theater, with me as an unsuspecting audience member. Though, of course, I do see where the confusion might arise.

Similarly, I am not meaning to suggest that their every word hits my ears like a wrecking ball made of small talk and rusty barbed wire. Again, I see where you could infer that, but that would be exactly what it is: an inference.

Could I say that every discussion over morning coffee makes me think that the loudest sound ever recorded was not, in fact, the volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island Krakatoa that occurred on the morning of August 27, 1883? Sure, of course, but I didn’t. If that is what you are getting out of this, I think you might be projecting. But I don’t want to get off track.

What I am trying to get across here is that it isn’t really my officemates’ fault that the sound they make recalls a recording of a waterfall where the water is actually an endless herd of stampeding elephants, and that said recording is being played through the legendary wall of amplifiers that seminal British shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine uses onstage to create a noise so intense that it once made my jeans flutter like I was standing in front of a jet engine. Not their fault at all.

During the time I was away, working from home, I led a very quiet existence, and I suppose I’m still not used to being around people. Also, we have an open office. That doesn’t help.

But even though it is my issue, I should probably deal with this before it results in any hurt feelings and unnecessary outbursts (like the way editor Tim Rogers sneezes). Maybe I will send an email.   

Write to [email protected].

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