My new job is pretty darn great. For many reasons. I’m not here today to list them all. I am, however, here to tell you what just had happened was …
So, two things. One, we have an open office. By that I mean, it’s a giant warehouse and there aren’t any walls or cubicles or offices. If you are the type to pick your nose, then you better be okay with us knowing you’re the type to pick your nose because everybody can see you. Everyone is not looking at you per se–unless you’re wearing for real live hot pants in the daytime like it ain’t no thang–but we can all see you if we feel inclined to do some people watching.
Two, we have an intercom system. For the most part I ignore it–it’s a little more than slightly annoying to have your thoughts interrupted by, “Will the person who ordered the Chinese food please come to the front desk. Your food is here.” However, in the 2+ months I’ve been here that have been some golden moments. And by golden I mean I have stopped whatever I was doing to toss my head back and guffaw. Wildly. With the reckless abandon that only an intercom system can inspire.
Oh, It’s Your Birthday? Well Let’s Putcha On Blast!
The first time it happened was still really early into my tenure. It was mid-morning when the record-scratch sound jarred my concentration.
Good morning [workplace]. Today is ________’s birthday and it’s time to celebrate.
An extra few seconds of awkward silence followed and then a throat cleared and then, with no musical accompaniment what.so.ever a voice began to sing the opening lines of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” song. Like, to the beat of the song. In the rhythm with which Stevie sang it. With not nan backing beat or vocals. Same key and errything. The “You know it doesn’t make much sense” lyric was just recycled as “You know it’s time to celebrate … [so and so's] having a great birthday.”
We heard the whole remixed first verse before the vocalist encouraged us all to sing along for the chorus. She did it Stevie-style, too. It was really fast, “Cmoneverybodyandsingitwithme, HAPPY BIRTH-DAY TO YA! Happy Birth-day to ya! Happy Biiiiiiiiiiiiirth-day! HAPPY BIRTH-DAY TO YA! Happy Birth-day to ya!”
The second verse started and then the record scratch sounded again. I’d already snorted three times by that point, and so I figured someone had kindly told her that the well wishes had been received and such. But no. Somebody just told her that nobody could hear the music, that she was singing a capella and this performance hadn’t yet reached its full potential of awesomeness and so a crescendo of the moving of the speakers to the microphone occurred.
I just laughed harder. With the full musical accompaniment in effect, the Happy Birthday tidings continued for at least another minute until we were informed there was cake in the cafe. The storming of the nom nom Bastille thus occurred … but sadly there wasn’t any musical accompaniment for that.
Ooooh, You Fidna Get It!
Now today’s all-employee intercom blast yielded my loudest howl yet. It’s 100 degrees here in Philly today. Northern swelter is different from Southern swelter; city hot is not exactly country hot, but seeing as how all kinds of hot cause parts of my brain to go haywire, I don’t make it a habit of trying to note the specifics. But let’s just say it’s hot. Like if Al Gore could suddenly become the Jimmy McMillan of it’s “too damn-dom” he’d be like, “Four degrees and seven deodorants ago, the glaciers all melted just enough to form stalactites of hanging chads and y’all kept driving all of these gas-powered cars and that’s why it’s now too. damn. hot.”
Anyway, did I tell you it’s hot outside?
Well it is.
Hot enough to incite the wrath and “c’mon man” groans of an entire office because somebody thought it’d be okay to park their car in a public place with all their windows rolled up with a DOG inside in the middle of the second hottest day of the year.
The first announcement sounded irate from the jump. Depending upon who’s making the “take action” call, you normally get a series of announcements; the first one’s always nice and pleading, cheerfully encouraging us to do whatever. The second one assumes the business tone–firm, but polite. If and when there’s a third one, you hear tones of your mother or father and it feels like you’re 14 all over again. Today’s announcement went right to “If I have to tell you one more time …” and sounded a bit like this:
Good Afternoon. If you are the owner of a blue _____ with license plate _____, please go to your car now. You have left your dog in the car.Repeat. If you are the owner of a blue _____ with license plate _____, the police are going to be called to your car if you don’t go now. There is a DOG in the CAR.
When the intercom message is good or truly disruptive, we all become contestants in the Whack-A-Mole game, heads darting up and swiveling around rapidly daring each other to make eye contact so we can confirm that yes, yes you did hear what I just heard and OMG, WTH is going on.
So that immediately occurred (faster than I can write it … clearly) and it was promptly followed by a series of “Who the hell leaves their dog in the car on a day this hot?” “Do you have any idea how hot it is outside?” “It’s 100 degrees! What kind of person leaves their dog in the car?!” “You know what? Whoever it is, we should lock THEM in the car and see how they like that!” Mmmhmmms and Amens and head-nods-in-agreement from everyone.
The next message was something else altogether. Two minutes had barely passed before someone decided that this was too outrageous, too intolerable. We moles had just burrowed back into our work when:
Michael Vick. Please go to your car, the blue _____ with license plate _______. The police are going to be called. You left your dog in the car. [CLICK]
Because really. I ain’t even sure what I can add to that–just too damn funny.