It’s too quiet
December 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
I have spent just about 30 years working in various offices. Over that 30 years, I have seen many changes—carbon copies evolved into fancy copiers. Fax machines became scanners, pink “while you were out” hand-written phone messages morphed into electronic voicemail. I am grateful for technology, but there’s something unfulfilling for me in today’s modern office setting and I finally realized what it is. It’s too quiet.
I want to hear telephones ringing, typewriters chunking out lines of carefully crafted words, people discussing things. I guess I associate noise with productivity and accomplishment. I walk through the office now and usually hear nothing. Employees stare into their computer screens. No one calls anybody anymore—it’s too convenient and maybe more “appropriate” to send an email or a text. Why is this? Because we don’t want to “bother” the other person with a call–we assume they are very busy staring into their computer screen as well.
I have a soft spot for vintage telephones and typewriters and have amassed a small collection of the heavy clunky devices. I imagine it’s my way of holding on to an era when office machines were intricate and beautiful and had a rather commanding presence at your workspace. It’s a remembrance of a time when offices were noisy and abuzz with metal hitting metal–whether it be a phone receiver slamming into its cradle or a small bell reminding you to hit the carriage return. Things were being done. You could hear it and feel it.
I start a new job in a new office next week. I am not sure if I will even have a desk phone, desk phones have become pretty scarce these days. I may just have to bring one of my rotary dials for decoration or maybe to use as a paperweight. Oh, wait a minute, paper? What paper?