The rain starts gently at first. People arrive in the office and dump their bags and hellos. It’s big drops, but slow; almost pleasant, with the promise of petrichor. I hear Gina tell Mary that she’s “Fine, thanks”. No biggie.
But as more and more people arrive, I hear the wind picking up in the trees. Telephones ring, bags are unzipped, people ask others if they “Have a minute”. Conversations start. There’s a delay on some project, and it’s someone else’s fault. Dave’s daughter calls to say she’s forgotten her school lunch; he tells her to call mum & that he loves her. James arrives at the desk next to mine to say “hi” to Julie, who’s had a “Good one, thanks” at least after her parents left & she did a little bit of decorating, and then they have a loud discussion about a spreadsheet they’ve both been working on. Five percent of my brain solves the problem they’re facing with about ten lines of Visual Basic, but I tell myself not to get involved.
What was I doing? My mind goes blank. I look at my “to do” list; none of it rings a bell as anything I was meant to be focussing on this morning. Sheila’s dental appointment has been cancelled. The cleaners are having a good go at getting twenty years of dust from the carpet in the next bay with an EU compliant hoover with a clogged bag.
The rain has picked up and rivers of water are flowing, picking up dead leaves and lollypop sticks and cigarette ends, as the words of the entire office tumble into my ears like the water flowing down a storm drain with a missing grate. Every “hi” scrapes my ears like the dead holly leaves tumbling into the drain. I want to yell at everyone to shut up. My ears are full, and my brain is empty of everything but rage.
I put in my earbuds, turn on the noise cancelling and put on some music. The voices are gone. The cleaners work with a silent hoover. The rain and dead leaves are replaced by extra virgin olive oil. At least my ears feel smooth.
I wanted to listen to the wind outside, but at least now there is order instead of chaos. The music is a little distracting, and I’m getting a little tired of this playlist, but the rain has stopped and the rivers of detritus have become a slowing trickle. In the spaces between the music, my concentration reappears. I find something to focus on, and the rage is subsiding.
I’ll check in a minute if that thing was on my “to do” list.
I’m not surprised that you had trouble concentrating with all that noise going on! At least you had your ear buds with you