Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Back in my early days at ABigScienceMagazine, I discovered how much fun it could be to work in an office surrounded by people who were smart and funny and interested in the same sorts of things you were. I'm a normally social person, and having all these people to hang out with was like some kind of dream come true. For me. For my boss? Nnnnnnot so much.

One day, said boss called me into his office, all in a huff. I honestly can't tell you what he was huffing about. I'm not sure it was anything in particular, to be honest. But I do know that it was around the time when my now-brother-in-law and I were really starting to bond. And that meant a lot of joking around, tossing off comments between offices, sending snarky little notes via the computer messaging system (these were pre-email days), etc.

Like I said, I don't remember why he was huffing, but I very specifically remember what he said. "TC," he said, "there is entirely too much socializing going on around here."

Of course, being the mature and dedicated adult that I am, I almost tore a ligament running over to J's office as soon as my boss said I could go, almost snorting with laughter and derision.

"Entirely too much socializing?" J said, guffawing. "Entirely Too Much Socializing?!?"

It became, of course, a running gag. I'd be standing in my girlfriend's office door and another colleague would pass by, growling in a low voice, "There's entirely too much socializing going on here, young lady. Back to work!" Or I'd be talking to someone in a hallway and I'd hear J hiss, as our boss came up towards us, "Psst. TC! Watch your back! ETMS!"

You'd think times had changed, lo these 15 or so years. You'd be wrong.

I'm sitting in therapy yesterday, whining on and on about what a rotten couple of days I'd had, when I get started on my all-time favorite theme: how much I hate working. Even though my therapist has the patience of a saint, there are limits to her endurance.

"You know, this is the theme that comes up again and again," she said. "Don't you think it's time to do something about it?" She then proceeded to ask me a series of very pointed questions about my workload, my complaints, what I do to manage the stress and the angst. At the end, she sort of sat back.

"Well, the first thing," she said, "is that you need to cut down on some of your socializing at work..."

I couldn't help it. I laughed out loud--more like a bark, to be honest--and then told her why. And called J from my cell phone, still laughing, before I even reached my car.

Those old habits. Man, do they die hard.

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