Though socially inclined by nature, when it comes to work I shut that instinct down almost completely. It's a matter of concentration: experience has taught me that unless I focus on tasks of the day, my mind derails and my priorities go out the window and I am totally ineffective. The only instance this didn't apply were the years I was a barista, which are long behind me. Nevertheless, not everyone at the office shares my philosophy.
Across the aisle is one of the biggest blabbermouths in the vicinity of which I've ever worked. This person spends the bulk of the day on personal phone calls, the balance seemingly with visitors to their cube. Compounding the problem is a voice that operates at high volumes, doesn't require oxygen for fuel and cuts through all manner of physical and mental barriers. For love or money, there is simply no escaping the reach of this person's pipes.
This morning there was a problem with their mother, who was on the phone before sunrise complaining (evidently) about her husband's lack of hygiene. This conversation concluded with a hangup, when my coworker (apparently) laughed too much at their parent's griping. Immediately to follow were several calls to siblings to recount the scene, which was repeated no less than three times.
Why don't I plug my ears, or take the route of other folks and plant earbuds to blast music from my desktop? Sadly, this speaks to another deficiency in my character.
Like my espresso-slinging days, those in which I plug into my walkman or contemporary analogs are long gone. The fact of the matter is that I am far too attached to ambient sound -the random snippets of voices, sounds, emanations, etc that compose the aural atmosphere of a bustling office such as mine. I love being able to hear these things; unlike conversation, they enable tighter concentration and improve my due diligence.
Ah, but what a price of late I've had to pay! If only like my coworker's mother I could hangup on them and shut out the din and drone of an annoying gossip.