Thursday, March 16, 2006

Buzz Off.

I work in an office where nobody has any hands. That must be the case, because all of the phones here are equipped with speakerphone. And, since they have speakerphone, everyone feels compelled to use that particular feature.

The use of the speakerphone is bad enough. It results in an office full of people yelling at their phones, which are located exactly three feet from their heads. That makes it hard to get any work done, unless you consider commenting via e-mail to other employees about your next cube neighbor's conversation, work. But add to that the completely wretched "buzz-in" feature that allows anyone in the company to suddenly hear everything that's going on in your office without any warning, and you've got yourself a genuine telecommunicative pain in the butt.

Earlier this week, my boss (who I like; don't get me wrong, but he has an unhealthy appreciation for/dependence on speakerphone and the buzz-in feature) buzzed me (of course) and asked me to come back into his office. He had some additions to a document revision we had been working on. I stood in front of his desk for a minute or so while he tried to find the page he was looking for. Then, someone buzzed him.

"Hey. Hello?" (This is how all buzz-in/speakerphone conversations start.)
My boss stopped looking at the papers in front of him, and turned to the phone, three feet from his head. "Yeah! Hello?" (This is the standard reply to all buzz-ins on speaker phone.)

The buzz-er continued to set up a semi-complicated scenario that he wanted my boss to comment on.

About half a minute later I realized, suddenly, that I was no longer in the room as far as my boss knew.

I walked back to my desk, muttering under my breath about the damned
and buzz-in system. If a standard phone call (you know, with the ring?) is like a solicitor ringing your doorbell while you're having a conversation in your house, then a buzz-in speaker phone call is like a solicitor walking into your living room and pushing your guest off the couch.

I was thinking about this for a while at my desk, when my boss buzzed my phone. I picked up the receiver and he told me he was ready to go over that document now.


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