Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 10

Today marked two complete work-weeks of working in Newark.

I've finally got my route to work down--and sadly am showing up WAY too early some days depending on the manic traffic patterns.


Ugh. This is the worst--when you can see the light half a mile ahead turn green but you don't move.

Even worse is getting stuck behind a bus that's stuck waiting for the Light Rail to pass.


I'm still trying to work out a lunchtime groove. I used to sit and knit in my car. I tried knitting in the lunchroom but a.) I got sick of everyone making a comment about it when they'd walk in to grab something from the kitchen and b.) I like getting out of the office even if it is just to my car. I like my alone time.

I have been out exploring (on foot) though.

On Thursday I brought my camera.

I love the juxtaposition of everything. On one side you have old abandoned buildings.


And up a block you've got church spires and the museum.


Of course you have to have your requisite "green space" too.


This is a nice park--but no benches. Probably to prevent loitering, which is a shame, I'd love to come out and knit here at lunch--maybe even in the winter. Why not?

Overall I really dig what I've seen of Newark. It's like being in New York City-Lite (from what I've seen of New York City!)

The new office itself is also pretty cushy. Much, much bigger than Livingston with lots of room to grow. They're still working on finishing some of the conference rooms and glamming up the lobby with overpriced fixins that you see at every attorney's office, but it will look good when it's done.

My cube has lots of under the desk box storage (hee hee which we're not supposed to do, but screw it!) and many other niceties.

The only thing that's driving me nuts is Chatty Cathy my cube mate. For some reason there are only four of us secretaries in the office that share cubes, and lucky me, I'm one of the four. The other two girls have a large gap between them so they've got nice personal bubbles.

But not my desk. It's not super-tight but she's right there next to me at all times.

And she's always talking.

She's a really nice lady, don't get me wrong, but in two weeks she has shared with me through her incessant chatter more personal details that I think I've even shared with my husband. The man I share carnal liaisons with!

For example:

* She's been married since 1976
* She was born in 1954
* She has two kids--one is a cop one is a teacher on a year-long maternity leave
* She goes grocery shopping every Friday night
* Cough syrup makes her super drowsy and I think she's developing an addiction--she's been joking about the past week using it to get to sleep. I haven't heard her cough once all week (after coming down with a cold over the last weekend)
* Her daughter weighed 211 pounds when she was pregnant
* Her daughter now wears a size 4
* Her daughter was born in February 1978
* Her husband pays $4 a week for his health insurance policy

Oh the list goes on and on. My boss even reported that he saw her pass by his office in the hall talking to herself.

Today it really got to me. Most days I let it roll off. I'm hoping I'll learn to adapt like I learned to adapt to the yelling and berating that I used to have to hear Attorney DK dole out sitting so close to his office in Livingston. The first two weeks I remember being stressed just listening to it. But then I learned to tune it out.

Here's hoping I can do the same with Chatty Cathy!

I'll give you a hint--I work VERY close to one of the buildings, but it's not pictured here!

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Blogger Rebel said...

Yeah, waiting for a train to pass sucks. I got stuck for about half an hour once - it was a cargo train and was going sooooo slooooowly.

Get yourself a little blanket and sit on the ground at the park. A little grass never hurt anyone!

8:27 PM  
Blogger weezalana said...

It's too bad you can't wear earplugs! Or, maybe you could start making up a bunch of hugely wild stories to tell to her, and hope she'll want to stop sharing with you? You know, like... "OMG, my cousin go run over by a wild boar last month and caught rabies, she came over last weekend and drooled on me a little, you don't think that rabies is contagious do you, because I have been feeling a little more aggressive than usual..."

8:31 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Is there any way you can get paid for the times you get there early? At my job its notmally not allowed, but my supervisor sent a memo to HR saying that if I came in early that I should get paid for it, even if its only 15 minutes. It sure adds up!

One of the people who sits in the aisle next to me talks so loudly that we all literally have a headache by 10am. I'm slowly learning to tune him out. When I can't, I plug in my MP3 player into one ear (so I can hear the phone with the other) to drown out the voice.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

HavChatty Cathy is one of the silver linings to having hearing aids. I can either turn them off and not have to listen to her, or keep saying "pardon" until they get tired of repeating themselves....

9:01 PM  
Anonymous NikBudnik said...

I am sick because the only fact that I absorbed was that "the lady's" daughter was 211 lbs while pregnant, but is now a size 4.
What the F?
Yeah, that lingered way too long this evening. I am now wondering what the hell is wrong with me, and the rest of America.
(this is all in jest because I am MEGA against dieting, and am supportive of all body types)

9:27 PM  
Blogger Magatha said...

Man that was so "New Jersey". I loved it. I especially love the concertina wire topped fences.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

My suggestion, if allowed, was the headphone/ear bud thing as well.

I share an office with my immediate supervisor and when I/he/we need to concentrate on our own thing we pull out the mp3 players...

10:12 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Even if you don't actually listen to anything, put some earbuds in your ears and pretend you are. She can talk all she wants but if she gets no reaction from you, maybe - just maybe - she'll shut the fuck UP once in a while.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Brena said...

Year long maternity leave? 211 lbs to a size 4 in less than a year? $4 a week for a health insurance policy? I think that cough syrup is going to Chatty Cathy's brain because I had no idea such things existed!

3:35 AM  
Blogger maryannlucy said...

So what have the others done to get their own space??? Might be worth finding out ;-)
If not turtlegirl said what I was do the others react to her?

5:00 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

O_o Hey, people driving on the right! That's messing with my brain a bit. I guess I'd really ought to take some pictures of the roads around here...

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

Chatty Cathy's never get the hint. At least mine's doesn't! Good luck with that!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Linnea said...

While I am sure that you will snort at me for saying as much, your office job looks glam. There. I said it. Don't hit me.

My office mates tell me about their bowel movements. In detail. "Like a rocket been through a cactus patch."

10:22 AM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

Since the office is still in set up mode, could you ask your boss about having your cube reconfigured to at least have a half wall?

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for earbuds and a MP3 player. You don't have to have it turned up real loud, but it just might get you the solice that you need to do your job.
So if her husbands job is sooooooo great why is she working?????
Nice pics of the area that you work. I was going to say they should make that building into a green space....but I guess I am a day late and a dollar short.
Love, Mom

1:41 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

I just drove to work with you :) Awesome post!! Wow...Chatty Cathy...goodness! Hope the tuning out starts sooner rather than later! Or do what weezie said :)

2:40 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hey, downtown Newark's not half bad looking! At least it has some green space - we have a lake and a river downtown, and they're both totally underutlitized - so little access and so little green space.

I found out that couple of the other temps at the board of elections also crochet and/or knit. One lady offered to teach me how to knit during our break. The casting on stumps me.

That sucks to be stuck next to someone who won't quit talking. I agree with Christina - bring in an MP3 player to drown her out. Maybe she'll get the hint and leave you alone.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh yeah, about the lack of benches in the park, I actually read an article for one of my grad school classes about how some cities deliberately plan park space, bus shelters, etc., to prevent loitering. We have these "park & ride" busses here in the Cleveland area, and the enclosed, heated/air conditioned shelters at the park & ride lots have really narrow wooden benches attached to the wall - just barely big enough to sit on, and too narrow for anyone to sleep on.

The great excitement of my day now is that I get to wait for a bus at a shelter in the middle of the street - the second bus I take to work has a bus-only lane, with special shelters in the middle of the street. This particular bus route runs through some seedy areas of downtown/inner city Cleveland, and it cracked me up to see that there's actually a panic button inside the shelter, ha, ha! You can press it and get help from the transit police. How funny is that?!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Good luck with the chatterbox!

They replaced all out public park benches here with ones that have arm rest dividers so there's no way to lay on them and sleep. AT least not comfortably

4:19 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Maybe you could take a blanket and sit in the grass and knit.
A guy at my old office had a cubemate like that. He bought the earmuff type headphones and listened to CDs all day. Worked for him. Sometimes he would just put them on and have no music to trick the guy into shutting up.
She told you how much her daughter weighed?? That's insane.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Ina said...

Thanks for the tour. I think Newark is fascinating. If you feel like exploring, the museum was redone by Michael Graves and some of those churches are very beautiful and have excellent weekday music programs.

7:22 AM  

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