Friday, February 25, 2005

Here’s a little etiquette puzzler for all you other cubicle-farm groundhogs out there…

It’s regarding farts. We’ve all done it. We all do it. But in the doorless cubicle environment of the modern business, we can’t simply shut the door and let the air conditioning system take care of it. Nor can we assume that four-foot-high cloth walls will somehow contain the gastrointestinal mushroom cloud we just released.

Do we:
1. Run to the bathroom every time we feel that bubbling sensation in our intestines?
2. Squeeze it out as discreetly as possible and hope nobody decides to visit your cubicle for the next half hour?
3. Walk through the office, puffing out little wisps of odor, like some sort of mobile Glade Plug-in?
4. Go down to the warehouse or the smoker’s area and fire it out where the smell will be masked?
5. Just rip one as loud as possible, serving notice that the beast has been unleashed and it’s everyone else’s responsibility to avoid contact?
6. Hold it until you’re reasonably sure you won’t be disturbed, like in your car?

Each option has its advantages. I probably use #2 more than any other. I’m too lazy to actually get up from my desk for something as insignificant as a fart. Option #1 works only if your bathroom is reasonably isolated and/or soundproof, or else you might as well just go for #5. Seriously, how many of you have heard massive eruptions (whether gaseous or semi-solid) from a bathroom, and hung around watching the door to see the culprit? Uh-huh, thought so. Option #3 takes a lot of sphincter control, probably more than I have. I’ve tried this in my house, and damned if I don’t squeak like a slowly leaking balloon. Option #4 is effective, but you return to your desk smelling like an ashtray, not much better. Option #6 leads to health risks including spontaneous combustion, inadvertent release (embarrassing), and a stinky car.

This is running through my mind because I just went to another guy’s cubicle to discuss some training program I’m designing for his product group. His office smelled like Coalinga, which probably doesn’t mean much to most of you. If you’re from California, you know Coalinga is the stretch of Highway 5 that has about a zillion cows and has a permanent haze of rectal methane. No window can block the fumes. My eyes were watering as I stood there. I was at a total loss for what to say or do.

My choices were:
1. Say “Jeezus H. Christ, who the hell shit in here?!”
2. Ignore it, breathe through my mouth
3. Ask him up front if he farted, and curse him for not warning me
4. Leave and conduct the meeting on the phone
5. Fart out loud and dare him to call me on it

WWJD?

1 Comments:

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Scott Chaffin said...

The answer is to make it into a contest, as we did in one of my cube-farm lives. The idea was to see how many rows it would carry, and how many rows we could clear out. I was the all-time champ, after making the receptionist in the front room wrinkle her nose. Like a 99-yard TD run, it was unbeatable.

We were young, and very proud of our farts.

 

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