Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Is suicide preferable to Lite FM?

I'm currently temping at a company until I can find something more permanent. Lots of temp positions are awful, so I feel pretty happy about my current situation. It's at a good company, the work isn't stressful, and the people are really nice. Well, most of them.

I share a cubicle with a 60-year-old woman. She lives alone except for the company of five cats, and I can only assume that she sees me as her main source of human interaction. At first, I felt bad for her, and tried to be friendly. Sometime between my first day and the day she forwarded me a racist email, I became less sympathetic. In that brief period of time, I was regaled with hundreds of stories, all told in mind-numbing detail, with absolutely no prompting from me. I know everything about her, her two daughters, and especially her five cats. I probably know more about her grandparents' lives than my own.

Dealing with people who cannot (or simply refuse to) recognize social cues from others is frustrating. I've become adept at not giving her any opportunities to start conversing at me, and being only minimally responsive when she starts anyway. I know I sound like a jerk, but I challenge anyone to spend five minutes with this woman and retain any charity towards her. Jesus himself would be tapping his watch, saying "I've really got to go."

Anyway, one of my many problems is that she listens to Lite FM radio. We share a large cubicle, so whatever she is listening to, I am listening to.

If I were Satan, and I was trying to settle on the soundtrack for hell, I would hesitate between Country Western and Lite FM. However, considering a large percentage of hell's population (possibly even a majority) will consist of country music fans, I would have to settle on Lite FM. That's nobody's favorite. It's the lowest common denominator of music.

If that isn't bad enough, the local Lite FM station has an extremely narrow playlist. I hear the same songs every day, only shuffled up into a different order. I'm sure some people are saying to themselves, "Surely, Ned is exaggerating. A radio station wouldn't play the exact same songs five days a week."

Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating. There is some rotation in and out of the playlist, it's true, but there is a hard core of songs that are played without exception, every day.

They are:

"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
"Hotel California" by the Eagles
"Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw
"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes
"Someday" by Sugar Ray
"Rocket Man" by Elton John
"The First Cut is the Deepest" by Sheryl Crow
"The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley
"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne
"Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins (yes! two by Phil!)
"Leader of the Band" by Dan Fogelberg
"Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett
and last but not least, "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys.

Mix liberally with Air Supply, Seels and Croft, and Rod Stewart and you have my day. (And no, I can't listen to my iPod at work.)

I think the worst part is that my cubicle-mate (I'll call her Angela) doesn't even like the music. She only listens because it's the only station she can pick up on her radio in the building. I'm convinced she only listens because they periodically give things away to callers.

I could really use a vacation to Aruba, or Jamaica...


Enochville said...

Unfortunately, people like this with an inability to read or disregard for other's social cues unwittingly sabotage relationships by annoying potential friends. Eventually people grow resentful for having their wishes ignored and start becoming more obvious and sometimes downright cruel to enforce boundaries.

Hopefully, you can avoid being cruel. Perhaps a frank discussion might help. You are not being unreasonable in asking her to respect your boundaries.

mike said...

the only thing worse than fm lite is easy listening, where they do cheesy instrumental versions of the kinds of songs you hear on fm lite.

my dad always listened to that kind of station. i'd be sitting there thinking "wtf, did they really need to do an instrumental version of 'like a virgin?!'"

Ann said...

Earplugs? They're more subtle than an ipod.

a spectator said...

FMlite is bady, but not as bad as easy listening instrumentals. I wonder if you might introduce her to the wonders of online radio stations? Start with one YOU like.

Heather P. said...

Have you seen Dead Like Me? When I was reading this post, I pictured the temp agency in that show.

NFlanders said...

Enochville-- Very interesting. That's exactly how she is. Unfortunately, everyone else can just go back to their desk, while I'm stuck in close contact. I hope I haven't been cruel, just non-responsive.

Mike-- I forgot about easy listening! Definitely worse than Lite FM. I should count my blessings.

Ann-- I don't know, I think earplugs are much less subtle than an iPod. At least with an iPod, you can pretend you really want to listen to music, instead of "I really can't stand the sound of your voice."

Spectator-- I'd have to bring in computer speakers from home. I've always been uncomfortable playing music in the office, mainly because I think it can be rude to others around you who don't share your preferences.

Heather P.-- I'll have to put Dead Like Me on my Netflix queue.

Beijing said...

Do they make earplugs that look like in-ear hearing aids? You might need them to "help" with a case of sudden-onset deafness.

Anonymous said...

I just saw an episode of Dead Like Me last week. Not a bad show.

The reason I never listen to FM anything (except public radio) is because it takes perfectly good bands like "The Eagles" and makes you hate their guts.

I'm surprised there hasn't been an instance of a BYU cafeteria worker going postal yet with that stuff playing 24-7.

Seth R.

NFlanders said...

Sounds risky, Beijing. Kind of like that Seinfeld where Elaine pretended to be deaf so she would have to talk to the livery cab driver.

Seth-- I dunno, I've always kind of hated the Eagles.

Heather P. said...

Dead Like Me is pretty good. I've seen about half of the first season and am interested in seeing the rest. The temp agency is called "Happy Time." :)

I hope your situation at work becomes more bearable.

Heather P. said...

Seth R. - I know! FM100 is the worst!

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