diamond geezer

 Tuesday, March 18, 2014


She laughs like a machine gun. A rattle of hilarity across the office, from her desk to mine, every day without fail.


She laughs like a drain. Everything and anything seems to make her cackle. From first thing in the morning when she gets in, to last thing in the afternoon before she leaves, a volley of chortling erupts from her mouth. I hear you, I hear you.


She laughs like a hyena. And I don't even know her name. She sits four desks away in some completely different team, so should be a total irrelevance in my life. But instead her over-jolly nature intrudes at distance on my ability to concentrate, day in, day out. Shut up dear, please shut up.


She laughs like a woodpecker, rat-a-tat-tat. It's like a reflex action. Rather than talk like you or me she giggles, repeatedly, at the slightest sign of hilarity. It's not forced like the woman opposite whose entire conversation is laughter, most probably as some kind of defence mechanism. No this is genuine happiness but loud, relentless, and entirely unavoidable.


She laughs like a broken record. Over and over, a pause, and then she's off again. I don't know what it is that sets her off. It can't be her work, surely, because nobody's work is that much fun. I often wonder if it might be something she can see on her computer. She sits at one of those oh-so-lucky desks where the screen's not overlooked, so she could be spending all day looking at YouTube for all I know, whereas my screen shines out across the office like a lighthouse.


She laughs like a witch. There are three of them in her little team, all sat at adjacent desks, and most of the laughter ensues when they huddle together to talk. I don't know how they have time to talk so much, it feels like every few minutes or so, and the three of them only ever encourage each other. I can't hear their words, only vague animated chatter, punctuated all too regularly by a peal of loud laughter. All three of them laugh but two know how to tone it down, so they barely register. Only the third breaks out into over-audible snickering at every possible opportunity, and it's her I hear.


She laughs like it's going out of fashion. A brief conversation, she laughs. A bit of gossip, she laughs. An off-hand comment building to an anecdote building to a comedy of manners, did she really, she never did, no really, she laughs. If she sat with duller colleagues we'd be spared. But instead they egg each other on, treating the office like some kind of school playground, pushing the conversation just one more hilarious step further. And so it continues.


She laughs like a banshee. And then just when you think she might have stopped, and are knuckling back down to concentrate on your work, something triggers her and off she goes again. I shouldn't let it get to me, indeed I try very hard not to. But then I hear her laughter again from the other side of the room, and I think "for goodness sake, do you have no idea how annoying you are?"


She laughs like crazy. And occasionally I remember that everyone else in the office can also hear me when I'm talking. Most people's work involves tapping mutely into a computer, but mine involves a lot of talking, and sorry, it must sometimes drive the rest of you mad. Occasionally I remember. But more often I simply despise her for laughing.


She laughs like a maniac. And there's absolutely no need. By all means smile, by all means grin, by all means even chuckle if it's what you do. Just keep it down, if you wouldn't mind.


She laughs like a donkey. And I wish she'd stop.

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