Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The bane of office existence

Speakerphones possess an unmistakable aura of arrogance.

That the user is someone of such high-powered importance, who is in such demand, that they need their hands free at all times while speaking, in case they have to perform some emergency medical procedure, sign a billion dollar cheque or finish typing some crucial report.

But there's an inherent contradiction to that -- if you're engaged in any of those activities, then why would you do such a weighty, important thing while distracted by the phone? Yes, you're desperately, invaluably important. Indispensable. Absolutely irreplaceable. But don't important tasks merit their own time?

And people with speakerphones don't write reports. They read the "executive summary" of reports, that's it.

Innate arrogance, aside, the practical aspects of the speakerphone are reprehensible: the noise, the disruption, the shrieking "Look at me! Look at me! Hear me conduct business! I'm conducting business!"

There is only one thing speakerphones actually accomplish -- they broadcast for all with ears to hear how stupid and banal and incompetent people are. Thing is, this need not be broadcast. Anyone who works in an office already knows this. So, there again, is more abuse perpetrated by the speakerphone. It's like a bully's hand grabbing one by the neck and shoving their face into the armpit of this knowledge: "Know it! Breathe it! Love it!"

Here's how speakerphones should be advertised: "Connecting idiots with assholes," or "Broadcasting banality since 1974."

And what is this 19th century speaker technology used in speakerphones? AM radio sounds like full, rich Bose technology in comparison. Sure, some people on the other end of speakerphone conversations are on shitty cell phones, or on great cell phones with shitty reception, or have great cell phones and coverage, but shitty voices.

That's yet another strike against speakerphones: they are painfully susceptible to the "shit" factor, where the shittiness of a given call is exponentially amplified and exacerbated by speakerphones.

Maybe it's just that people exist on different frequencies. I cannot stand telephones. The only valid use of a telephone is to call for an ambulance or to order a pizza. My frequency has never served me well. I'm sensitive to noise in a world that can't seem to hear itself scream. The human voice is a hammer and the air is a nail, and sometimes it feels like it's being driven right into my skull.

Just as the speakerphone would have it.

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