Monday, December 20, 2010

Variation on a Theme: Loud Mouth VI

Wrinkly Rena

The last Loud Mouth currently works about two cubes down from me, so I have to be quiet. OK, she has no idea that I blog, so she has no idea that this post will be about her.

When I first started working with this woman, I thought she was in her mid-fifties. She walked very carefully, complained frequently about back problems, and didn't think twice about letting others know of her daily work woes. I worked wither her every once in a while, but until I recently brought it upon myself to demystify some internet mumbo-jubmo at work that no one else wanted to take the time to demystify, I didn't have to worry about hearing about her woes.

Then we moved, and because we both worked on the same mumbo-jumbo (she is in charge of inputting the rules that drive the mumbo-jumbo), we were strategically placed relatively close. While this is convenient, it has also become a bit of a distraction.

You see, Wrinkly Rena's mother is at the point where she needs some additional help and can no longer live by herself. This means that Wrinkly Rena (and slothful siblings) are spending their time trying to get their aging mother comfortable in her new location while going through everything in her house and consolidating. There have been some interesting things I have learned about antique costume jewelery, cars, and her family, but I don't think I was supposed to learn these things. (I did learn on purpose that Wrinkly Rena is only in her early 40's.)

Wrinkly Rena has a very good friend that she shares a cube with. Because they are such good friends, they share a lot with each other. Wrinkly Rena's sharing generally happens at a volume that is not in a confidential tone. There are times when I roll my chair back and look at my co-workers just so I can see their reactions to the TMI that is going on over the wall. Generally I am greeted with wide-eyed deer-in-the-headlights type looks, accompanied with a bit of a grimace. Other times, we end up putting our headphones on and turning up the volume so that we can meet our deadline.

While Wrinkly Rena is quite competent at what she does, I often wonder if she knows how much of her conversations we actually overhear. Being in the middle of the row, I think that a lot of people don't have to ask her personal questions, because they get the answers to everything they want to know (and a whole lot more) without ever having to ask.

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