Unpleasant Drinking Habits

He was our IT Manager and he was a bit dodgy. Working as a consultant meant he could walk into the office pretty much when he felt like it and leave when he didn’t want to do any more work for the day. He constantly took calls, private calls, of a business not personal nature, and it was clear that he was doing other consulting while he was in the office, other work on company time and with company resources, but that was what he was like and we all accepted it[1]. He was good at his job actually, after a fashion. Things got done, in a way that allowed you to get on with your work, but a coherence of method was lacking and although forward-looking his approach would not have been good in a long-term sense. Looking forward meant buying hugely powerful equipment, which the company wouldn’t be able to use for years, not laying a framework for the company’s future growth and development.

He was into V8 car racing, and had some kind of powerful car, and sometimes wore to work a pair of boots that drivers wear. He thought that things he was into were intrinsically cool, while some of them were interesting and some weren’t, and some were merely a curiosity.

He would sometimes ask someone to get him a drink and at other times, when there was a lot of work on and mumbling about staff staying back he would talk of getting in pizzas for us all as we did the extra work that would need doing after hours – as that’s what real companies did: have busy, overworked IT guys who were brought drinks, and staff working late and eating pizza from boxes on the floor (maybe that is what real companies do, but I wouldn’t know about that). And one day he asked someone to get him a Nudie. Part of the reason was to very slightly embarrass the young woman who would be getting his drink, but it was also, as was often the case, an opportunity to hold forth once someone inevitably said: “What’s a Nudie?” Talking while others listened was something he liked to do. Nudie was then an exalted fruit drink, it was new, and it still exists and they make a bigger range of drinks now.

This memory came to me the other day when someone at work returned from a brief trip to buy lunch and eat it at their desk. It provided the key to something that has nagged at me for such a long time and I think I’ve really cracked it now.

The office worker and his or her (but especially his) food and can of soft drink has been a source of confusion. One sees this soften enough. He and she are everywhere. What was it which almost angered me? The drink: that was it, the irritating element. But I didn’t know why. Firstly, water is a fine accompaniment to any meal and when you’re at work, and you can’t have a glass of wine, it just seemed unnecessary and an avoidable expense to have a can of something burp-inducing (and office workers who have their burp every lunchtime exhibit behaviour to be deplored). But it wasn’t just that. Builders and tradies always have a drink of something, usually Coke but sometimes flavoured milk, and there is nothing lame about what they do and how they drink their drink with lunch.

I thought about our current IT guy and the sight of him emerging from the lift in the morning, slurping on a thickshake of some sort in a tall cup with a lid on it, and him maybe talking to a colleague about some serious problem with computers or software and still sucking on this thing, and it stuck me: no, not that I don’t like IT people much (although the idea of them annoys me, the things they do and don’t do annoy me, how much they are paid annoys me) – what struck me is the straw.

The straw! That’s what has seemed so infantile or, at best, girly, and that’s what I don’t like.

Drinks with a straw in them should be consumed at the movies or at a café or a bar or a pub or a sporting event or maybe when you are out shopping with your boyfriend. To drink anything with a straw makes you seem like a small child or a woman, and that’s perfectly fine if you are a child or a woman, but if you aren’t and you regularly drink the kind of drink which has a straw in it you should have a think about the image you are projecting to the world.

O perhaps I exaggerate.

[1] Yes, I know. Which IT guys have never done some of these things? Good point.

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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