What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Footboard. I’m officially not a fan of beds with footboards. Maybe it’s the kind of thing you don’t notice until you’ve already got a sore foot. I’ve always been a bit of a roller and thrasher while asleep, so as a result of my transition to the guest bedroom, I’ve been bashing my feet into the footboard for three and a half weeks now. How was this ever a popular bed design? It certainly couldn’t have taken into account anyone who might accidentally exceed six feet in height. Having a footboard was a non-issue when the bed in question was almost purely decorative. The number of guests I’d encourage to stay overnight is, obviously, incredibly limited, but let me just say that I’m officially apologizing in advance to anyone who might happen to visit in the future.

2. Busybodies. Have we always been a nation of busybodies? I don’t really do “social history,” so the question is a bit out of scope for me. Starting off early with the whole witch trial in Salem, though, kind of points towards yes. I don’t know how people have the mental energy required to care what other people are up to. As long as it’s not taking food out of my mouth or money out of my pocket, I have no idea why I’d care how people want to live their personal lives, who they want to fuck, what god they want to praise, or any of the other things that so many people seem to be so up in arms over. I can only assume that their lives are so boring they have no choice but to try living everyone else’s for them.

3. Failure to communicate. I’ve been playing a lot of telephone this week. I call the prime contractor, they call the sub, the sub calls the county, and then the chain may or may not ring in reverse. All I’m trying to do is get a straight answer on why getting reinspected is taking more than a week after the incredibly minor fix was made. Add in the fact that my prime changed field supervisors mid-project and it hasn’t been the recipe for clear and effective communication during this interminable two week stretch. I acknowledge that it’s possible that my background as a project manager and planner makes me a bit to sensitive to things like this, but it’ll absolutely be making the list as a “needs improved” on the after action report.


I’m very careful to keep a mighty firewall between my professional self and every other aspect of my life. Having either one bleeding over into the other is just not something I even want to contemplate dealing with. Today I’m reminded why. It seems one of my colleagues is having a baby… and that has led to an unending round of sonogram showing and appreciative cooing from the female members of the staff. It’s also let to merciless ribbing that it wasn’t the sought after son he had predicted. When I say unending, I mean that. It’s been going on now for three hours more or less non-stop. Fortunately, this poor soul apparently has a longer fuse than I do. Maybe it’s just me, but the squealing, shrieking girl thing just doesn’t play when it’s coming from a room of 30 and 40-somethings. Once is endearing. Doing it each time anyone who hasn’t yet been informed comes into the office makes you seem slightly insane.

It’s possible that I’m the oddball here, but most of my coworkers really know next to nothing about me other than that I come in on time, leave on time, get my work done, and generally keep a neat and tidy desk. That’s really all they need to know. They don’t really know if I’m married. Don’t know if I have kids. I don’t give away weekend or holiday plans other than letting one or two people know that I’ll be out of town or otherwise unreachable. For the most part the reverse is also true. I make every effort not to drag work issues home with me. No one at home needs to know the details of what’s going on at the office any more than the guy at the desk next to me needs to know if I enjoy collecting wedding cake toppers and visiting small New England bed and breakfasts.

Call me crazy, but there are aspects (i.e. most parts) of my life I just don’t feel compelled to share… and yes, the irony of saying that on a blog is not completely lost on me.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.