“Do we have a whistler?” an innocent enough question. But it was asked with the cadence that a Nazi might have asked if there was someone with the surname Leibowitz in the room. It was also asked by a woman with a Northern Irish accent, which – stereotyping hands up – I don’t like and can sound very harsh.
I had been whistling. Not too much but I had definitely been whistling a little bit. So had Jim, sat next-but-one to me. We were in a training environment around some archaic PCs. The slow working machines were causing frustration. As was the heat of the room. Whistling was merely an easy way of elevating our morale. Men in prison can whistle. Men at war whistle. Sure, as the titular character says in Alfie suggests, you shouldn’t whistle as a sign of happiness as it makes people suspicious. But whistling to stop the frustration of learning web content providing….well it’s a basic human right surely?
As both the whistler and the senior member of the foursome it was up to me stand up to this tirade: “It was her,” I said, pointing at my colleague. The Irish woman said, “Well can you stop doing it?” What a cunt I thought, but I said, “A bit out of order that, Kate, you’re going to have to stop whistling.” Part of being a great leader is blaming other people/letting other people take the blame.
Of course I was also being a dick. We were being trained in an area created in a third of a working office – cordoned off by nothing to limit our presence be a bit of an intrusion into their office. But that’s not my fucking problem is it? I didn’t force them to have the fucking training there. We should probably try to be a bit quieter than we would be if we were in a proper room. So, I asked out loud (loudly) if the people in the office had a miserable Irish woman and if so could she stop being miserable.
I then said she should probably not go for a job working in jewel mines with dwarves – though added she would fit in height-wise I did say this last bit in a quieter voice. People think I am insensitive but I am actually quite skilled at saying things loudly enough to appear to be loud but not actually loud enough to be heard by people who seemingly might be able to hear it. Never the less I had ruined quite a nice little joke about whistling and the soundtrack to Disney’s Snow White and The Seven Dwarves into a mean comment about someone’s height.
But she did ask people to stop whistling in a forthright-but-ultimately-not-that-unpolite way. So…she kind of got off lightly if you ask me. She could have asked in a bit of a better way, though, couldn’t she? I mean we were whistling – and it really wasn’t that much. I can’t remember exactly what I was whistling. It was probably the Antiques Roadshow theme. Once. Maybe twice. No more than five times in a 30-minute period. And I’d not even noticed Jim whistling – this was uncoordinated and unrelentless our whistling assault was.
It is really annoying when someone whistles near you when you’re trying to work though isn’t it? Whistling is really twattish. She really did have a point. I agree with her. There are just two things – I don’t like the way she did it & I can’t help but slip a whistle out me lips every now and again.
ADVENT Picture No 5
Christmas fucking tree from last year in London innit? If you don’t like it – whatevz on.