How to piss me off
My company has hired a woman to take my position next week when I quit, and they have her working the front desk with me to get the hang of things. Given her complete lack of communication skills, it is my opinion that this woman might be a better fit at a fast food restaurant or the shady billing department for Royal Prestige. This woman’s name is Chong Mi. She is an interrupter, and an over-talker. She is a conversation usurper (she will take over any conversation and turn herself into the new subject). She talks about herself all day, and she talks TO herself all day. And not like mumbling-under-her-breath talking to herself, either. She just talks out loud in a normal voice, seemingly to no one in particular, and occasionally glances at me to see if I’m listening (I’m not). She also does this thing where if she thinks she’s said something kind of funny, she’ll pause for a few moments and then say in a slightly higher-pitched voice “I was like…(insert previous comment)!! AHAHAHA!” Chong Mi is driving me CRAZY.
You know when there’s a random fly in your house and is just nonchalantly buzzing around, landing on things and playing dumb while you sneak up on it then flying away at the last second? And then buzzing around your head, taunting you? Always BUZZING?!? Chong Mi is like that fly.
I’m just going to walk you through a few of our typical “conversations”.
Chong Mi: So, is your husband going to do most of the packing?
Rachel: Well, Stephen is actually working right up to-
Chong Mi: Yeah, My husband isn’t a packer. I did most of our packing myself! Ahahahaha! Yeah, he just sat around! Hahaha!
The phone rings. I page Sherry and tell her she has a call on 803. Sherry tries to pick up 801, and the caller hangs up. The phone rings again and Sherry picks up the right line.
Rachel: I think Sherry picked up the wrong line. I guess the caller got tired of waiting and hung up.
Chong Mi: Yeah, maybe.
60 Seconds Later
Chong Mi (in revelatory tone): OH! I know what must have happened. I bet Sherry picked up the wrong line. Ha! Well, there we go.
Rachel: Stunned silence
Chong Mi overheard me talking to someone about Moses- I was worried because he was sick (he’s fine now).
Chong Mi: So, is your dog ok? What did the vet say?
Rachel: He’s not sure. They want to run some bloodwork and take some X-Rays. They think-
Chong Mi: Oh, yeah I had this cat once that was just so FUNNY- haha- but she was sick and she was really old, and they wanted me to pay 800 dollars for surgery for her, and they weren’t sure if she would even live, so we had to put her down, and it was really hard. So I know EXACTLY how you feel. ***nods assuringly***
Rachel: Stunned silence
Stephen stops by the office in the morning, and I feel obligated to introduce him to the bane of my sanity.
Rachel (grudginly): Chong Mi, this is my husband, Stephen.
Stephen (shaking Chong Mi’s hand): Hi, it’s nice to meet you.
Chong Mi (shaking Stephen’s hand): Hi! Good luck with South Carolina!
Stephen: Oh, um. Thanks.
Rachel: Increasingly irritated silence
Dawn walks past the desk and initiates a conversation with Rachel regarding the upcoming move.
Dawn: Well, it sounds like it’s going to be a big change for you! I lived down south for a while, and it’s very different there.
Rachel: Oh really? Where down South, exactly?
Chong Mi: Yeah, I lived in Tennessee for 6 months and I went crazy! You know, it’s so bible belt. And the bugs! Oh my gosh, but I lived in a small town, and I had my little girl with me. But you know (assumes intellectual tone and lectures about the cultural atmosphere in whatever podunk town she lived in for a solid 5 minutes).
I think you get the idea. Chong Mi breaks all my conversation rules which are reasonable and should not have to be explained as they are really only common courtesy.
CONDUCTING A SUCCESFUL CONVERSATION WITH RACHEL
1. Don’t interrupt me.
2. Stop thinking about what you’re going to say when you stop hearing the sound of my voice.
3. Respond with something relevant. A few ways to do this are
a) make a comment which reflects the feelings I just described (That must have been hard for you.)
b) share a story or situation which ties in to the one I just described (You know, my brother once did something similar…)
c) A genuine facial expression, laughter, or other non-verbal communication tool
4. Under no circumstances shall you overtalk me by speaking louder and louder until I finally give up.
5. Don’t do that asking-a-question-because-you-want-me-to-ask-you-the-same-question thing (example: What are you doing this weekend? Oh cool… uh-huh… Well I’M going to this awesome concert…). If you want to tell me what YOU are doing this weekend, please come right to the point and stop wasting my time with ingenuine conversation.
6. Don’t fish for compliments.
There. Rules that are applicable to me, but really, to everyone. This stuff is universal, people.