Thursday, August 04, 2005


Isn't it sad how we always overlook the simple heroes that surround us in our daily lives?
Take the receptionist in my office for instance. Every day this woman comes into work an hour early, just so she can get an early start on all the meaningless prattle she has to get through during the day. At a time when the rest of us are crawling slowly towards our cubicles, coffee cup in hand, feeling like things that have crawled out of the primordial slime and may ultimately evolve into human beings, this stalwart woman is already filling the silence of our office with pointless chatter. By the time her day officially starts (at 9 am) she will already have made at least half a dozen completely trivial decisions and told everyone in office about them (that is to say, she will have gone to each person individually and told them about it - the fact that thanks to her loud nasal voice and the extreme thinness of our cubicle walls we all heard it the first time doesn't count of course). And it's not like she discriminates or anything. This is a woman who refuses to pick favourites, no matter how tempting it may seem. She will tell anyone and everyone the story of what her grandchild did at his second birthday party or what the doctor said about the pain in her knee - even total strangers. She's the Mother Teresa of piffle.
Where would we be without her, I wonder? What would we do if she were not here to lull us into that sense of dull annoyance, which is the hall-mark of a true working day? How would we ever get to work in an atmosphere of complete silence, denied the obvious wisdom of her trite homilies?
Why does she do it though? It's not like she doesn't have a wonderful home, a loving family. Why come in an hour early just to bore people with her twaddle? Perhaps because she knows, this brave woman, that once the day begins there will be a thousand other distractions to take care of - phones will ring, mail will arrive, she may even have to deal with (horror!) visitors. So better to get in one solid hour of uninterrupted chat right at the beginning of the day; that way she can go home in the evening with a clear conscience, aglow with the knowledge of another meaningless day successfully chatted away.

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