Sunday, October 26, 2008

Talk talk

I did a marathon library-working session on Friday - four hours in my usual branch followed by five hours in a smaller one, and it struck me afterwards how different the staff conversations were in each.

In library A there're a lot of us - ages ranging from twenty-two upwards (I'm the twenty-two year old in case you were wondering.) A couple of sample conversations from Friday:

1) "If we still lived in Victorian times, I wonder what we'd all be doing?"
"You'd have several children by now."
"I'd have died in childbirth."
"We'd be upper-class, so I wouldn't be working. I'd have servants."
"I'm going to marry a rich man."
"Why not?"

2) "I've got this great recipe - melt a 400g chocolate bar, put it in a baking tin crumble four chocolate digestives in, no more than four or it goes wrong, add two bags of white chocolate buttons and two bags of maltesers - or you could make it healthier with nuts and cherries but I perfer chocolate - and leave it in the fridge to cool. It's gorgeous, I could live on it. I've got another one as well...."
"I'm having a heart attack just listening. But, go on."

In Library B, there were just the two of us - ladies of a similar age (twenty-two obviously) :

1) "Ooh, that's a nice cardi!"
"Oh thanks! M&S. They're good aren't they?"
"I don't know. I tried some jumpers on recently, but the sizing's all wrong."
"There's home-made cake by the way, so help yourself when you go down for your tea-break.
"Ooh, lovely!"

2) "Can't believe the clocks go back tomorrow."
"I know. It'll soon be Christmas."
"I'm just popping down to make some tea."
"Why don't you bring the cake back up with you?"

I enjoy working in both branches for different reasons, but did you, per-chance, spot the common thread running through both conversations??? And it's by no means unusual. (What do you mean NO?)

I wonder what men talk about at work?


Debs said...

So funny, I loved reading that.

Am I correct in thinking that the common thread is food? I'm loving the recipe for the chocolate cake, sounds heavenly.

HelenMH said...

I'm fairly sure they don't talk about M&S cardis - but I'd love to be proved wrong!



Cardi? Clarkey I despair! Tommox

Paul Capewell said...

Haha, awesome. For some reason, I *loved* working in a predominantly female environment. Not sure why that is, just brings out my effeminate side I guess!

God forbid the day I came in with a slight hickey on my neck, Sandy wouldn't leave me alone for a week!

SpiralSkies said...

They talk about women's chests and motorbikes and other things they don't understand. Bless 'em.

Cardis and cake sound far more reliable.

Fiona said...

Cars, car engines, cricket/football/rugby, how well they're doing at work, chainsaws.

Lane said...

I kind of like the sound of that heart attack cake. And M&S sizing is all wrong:-)

JJ said...


That's what we called 'fridge cake' at nursery school. Yummy.

bfs said...

They talk (men) about sports (all kinds), hunting and fishing, politics, and of course, women!

Anna said...

I'd like to work at either of those libraries...

Tam said...

The chocolate to biscuit ratio sounds exactly right :-)

In hubby's office they don't talk at all but this is because he works with a bunch of unpleasant morons. I work next door and have to keep him supplied with inane chatter, which luckily I have a talent for :-)

Pat Posner said...

Great post, Karen, and the comments are good, too.

Fionnuala said...

I just love reading your blog! It never fails to make me laugh. x

Alis said...

That 'chocolate cake' should come with a severe health warning!

womagwriter said...


I used to work in a team where if someone made a mistake or did something silly or even left their mobile on their desk and it rang while they were away, they'd have to bring in cake for the entire team to make amends.

We ate a lot of cake in those days and it was bliss.

Amanda said...

How do you manage to make me laugh before 7am? It can't be right!

Cait O'Connor said...

That was lovely and I could identify with it of course.

I work on my own now, absolutely lovely....plenty of borrowers to talk to so I don't get lonely.

Have you tried the recipe yet?

Mickmouse said...

Choccy cake recipe sounds yummy - like to expand waistline out of all proportion though!!
Men at work..talking...don't think they talk much. My hubby is a plumber working on a building site where some of the guys could give Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand a run for their money. 'Clean' conversations seem to be about things you play, things you work with and things with engines!

FPDuck said...

Where I work, the male:female ratio is about 2:3.

Three are car obsessed, and two are sex obsessed. The rest of us talk politics and general chat. So, a little over half of us don't fall into the stereotype...

But when stereotypes are only supposed to be true for about 1 out of 5 of the people they cover, a 1 in 2 rate doesn't look promising...


P.S. Nearly every one of us plays pratical jokes... So the adage about 'never growing up'? Probably very true.

KAREN said...

deb - The common thread is always food - and the chocolate thingy is yummy :o)

helenmh - I did ask my husband if he'd ever talked about cardis at work and he looked quite puzzled!

tommo - I take it that stands for Sport, Exercise and X-boxes ?? And don't diss the cardi :o)

paul - Sandy was always quick to hone in on things like that :o) I used to work in a predominantly male environment years ago, but didn't discover a masculine side!

spiralskies - Absolutely. Can't go wrong with cake and cardis - unless you're a messy eater :o)

fiona - Chainsaws! You're so right. My husband likes talking tanks and axes as well.

lane - I put on a couple of pounds every time I read that recipe - even M&S won't have cardis in my size at this rate :o)

jj - Fridge cake, that's it! Far too easy to make for my health :o)

bfs - I have asked my husband about this and you're right. They NEVER discuss relationships. His best friend recently got divorced and didn't tell anyone 'til it was all over!!

anna - There are definitely worse places to work :o)

tam - Working with unpleasant morons is never a good thing. Try plying them with heart attack cake!

patp - They say truth is stranger than fiction, and it certainly seems that way sometimes!

fionnuala - Thank you - likewise :o)

alis - It should. My daughter made it and I could only cope with a small mouthful. I could feel my arteries protesting!

womagwriter - Ooh, that sounds like such a sensible idea! I might introduce that...

amanda - Well it's better than making people cry!

cait o'connor - Yes, there're always customers to talk to, which is nice. I have tried the cake and it's...dangerous :o)

mickmouse - Well as long as they don't get sacked for it, I suppose it's alright!

fpduck - Interesting stats. One thing women don't seem to do is play practical jokes on each other. Maybe it's time to start...

Jan Jones said...

Hmph. I did a talk in a library today and I didn't get offered cake.

Mind you, being as how I had a SEVERE SHOCK when attempting to zip up my nice writer's skirt for the occasion, that's probably just as well.

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