After the whirlwind of a day Marcella had endured, she was resolute on treating herself to some “me time” at home that evening. She even went so far as to breathe an audible sigh of relief upon finally entering the front foyer of her condo. She kicked off her beige suede clogs, hung up her mulberry purple North Face puffer vest, and tuned on some music. Sheryl Crow’s soothing voice accompanied Marcella through her Lean Cuisine and to her sofa for an opportunely timed Will and Grace marathon on TBS. She brought with her a glass of White Zinfandel (with no one to impress, Marcella chose a ceramic mug over a stemmed wine glass because it was easier to hold). She carefully arraigned herself under a throw-quilt and took a sip. Marcella slightly shifted her position and noticed that her sock had gone askew, slightly and uncomfortably rotating the toe seam. After leaning forward to fix it and sitting back, she found the throw-quilt had gone a bit sideways. Marcella stood up to shake out and readjust the quilt. There, that was better. Now she could relax…
Two hours later, after Marcella had double checked that the front door was locked, used the bathroom, battled a short bought of Restless Leg Syndrome, returned to the bathroom to turn off the light, put the wine bottle back in the fridge so it wouldn’t sweat on the counter, and checked her cell phone for any emergency texts (all interspersed with short, futile attempts to cuddle back into the sofa with that darn cockeyed quilt), Marcella couldn’t wait to get to bed and forget this relaxing evening had ever happened.
“"I’ll put my Family Circle desk calendar here… my candy dish here… and my Delftware pen-mug here!" Meredith thought to herself. She was putting the finishing touches on her new desk, in her new office (both of which were ‘new’ in a sense, but technically re-purposed from a recently retired co-worker) . Compared to her old office (practically a storage closet, the corners stacked high with old cardboard boxes of who-knows-what), this new workspace was a dream come true. It even had a moderately sized window, from which Meredith could see a smallish tree and even a little bit of sparkling blue sky. Once she was all settled in, Meredith was eager to jump right in to the day’s tasks. Using the 2 inch chunk heel of her mules for leverage as she scooted her new/used swivel chair into place, Meredith logged into her email account.
CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK “Jeez, that’s kind of loud. Am I over excited? My typing really echoes in here…” Meredith tried to type more gently, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. “Maybe I should get one of those translucent vinyl keyboard covers to absorb some of the noise…” Meredith picked up her work issued putty-tan cord phone and attempted to call the Purchasing Department. KAKLACK! The hard plastic rattle of the phone receiver literally echoed in the acoustically amplified space. “Oh god. Can my co-workers hear all this racket? Are they going to think I am trying to get attention? Anger management issues? What if they hear my typing rhythm and they think I am in a chatroom or something?!”
Meredith worked exclusively on all of her most quiet daily tasks, but finished them in less than an hour. By noon, she was desperate to get out of her new office, and even then, her shoes made an absurdly loud and slutty-stiletto sounding CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK as she walked out. She took her lunch back into her old office and ate it there, fearing the paper crinkle of her Subway sandwich wrapper would be too much to take.”—