Friday, 15 December 2006

Some Water Cooler Conversation

"What? No way!" exclaimed the Tall Dude with Glasses at the office pantry's doorway. I'd just come back from lunch and was about to make some coffee-flavoured beverage.

"Yes, there's a tiny ring on the cap to help you pull it out to expose the hole," explains Tea Lady. From what I could see, Tall Dude and his ilk had no idea that there's a cap on the water cooler bottle that has to be removed before it's installed. That didn't surprise me.

"Whoa! Like, totally news, man!" he said, moving a stray strand of hair back into place. "We just plunk the whole bottle in there!"

I believed him, because there was evidence of that. Outside the pantry laid the said bottle. The removable cap had caved into the hole where the tube's supposed to go. Sometimes we get bottles that are sealed with plastic labels with more visible tabs, but they just ignore the obvious and puncture the seal anyway - before "plunking" it in. I wonder if they do that in "real life" as well.

"Well," said Tea Lady, "now that you know, don't do it again."

"Okay," said Tall Dude.

I entered the pantry a moment later. "What a frog-in-a-well," I cracked, probably within earshot of Tall Dude. Not that I care, anyway. Besides, I have almost seven years of experience in the office. Even so, one would be able to do the right thing with a bit of exploration. Specimens like Tall Dude are everywhere nowadays, no thanks to the education system.

"He's not the only one," Tea Lady told me. "The people upstairs do the same thing." A brief stop "upstairs" later in the day confirmed it. Where's the creativity, the constructive daring in today's youth? It makes one despair.

"Maybe we should have a water cooler usage seminar or something," I mused, half-serious about the notion. Other seminars worth conducting would include essentials like writing (with pen and paper), interpersonal social skills (without cellphones and the Internet), proper washroom habits, anger management, along with sex and driver's ed. And yes, respect for public property.

Tea Lady brushed it aside. "No, that's not necessary. But it does get frustrating when things get broken. They (presumably Accounts or Purchasing) get testy when requests come in. It's getting harder to get things fixed now."

I agreed. Since the building's administration left, faulty wiring, air-conditioning and water supply became bigger problems than they used to. "Why don't we record Tall Dude's statement and send it to them?" I suggested earnestly. "It'll make things easier, I'm sure."

Tea Lady balked. "That's not necessary, either. But thanks for the suggestion."

"No charge."


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