Thursday, 24 February 2011

Janette FM

Since Other Half's words to me this month have consisted of treasured compliments, such as "you know, you look like the bastard offspring of Clea DuVall and Justin Bieber with that hair", and since my friends reading this blog commented on how much more they admire her for putting up with my obvious insanity (and really picking up the Bieber joke and running miles and miles with it), I am going to retreat to a corner, glare balefully at the world, and talk about something other than Other Half.

I work in an office. We have some rather good banter, even though everyone in my department is at least 20 years older than me and most of them have children my age. The lady who sits next to me is very nice. I refer to her as Janette FM, because she sings and hums constantly, in a warbling soprano. She recently got a new mp3 player so this habit has eased up in the past week or so, but it still remains a constant theme of my day.

I never know what exciting song choice she will entertain next. In a single day she could range into multiple genres, including both new and old classics. On Monday last week she treated us to a harmonious hymn mash-up medley followed swiftly by a delightful operatic rendition of We Don't Need Another Hero. You can put in requests, I have discovered, but she does not do Jay-Z or Tinchy Stryder. I consider this a great waste of her talents. You can also join in but since Janette FM is slightly deaf, chances are that she'll belt it out at her own pace, regardless of how you're interpreting the song, and you'll just have to keep up. Breathing exercises help. It's all in the diaphragm.

Janette FM's slight deafness lends itself well to unintentional comedy moments. Her boss Alice sits over a small dividing wall, and our poor, long-suffering colleague Pauline sits diagonally behind Janette FM. I have no idea why the laws of physics and acoustics do not work in this particular spot - Janette can't seem to hear a thing Alice says but can hear anyone else in the same small two metre radius. The conversations, therefore, go like this:

Alice: Janette, do you have the documents for [important sounding acronym for something businessy]?

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Alice: Janette.

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Alice: Janette!

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Pauline: Oh for god's sake. JANETTE!

Janette FM: What?

Pauline: Alice is talking to you.

Janette FM: (looking bemused) Is she? What's she saying?

Pauline: (sighs) Alice, what are you saying?

Alice: I'm asking if she's got the [important sounding acronym].

Pauline: She wants to know if you have the [important sounding acronym].

Janette: I'll have to check.

Pauline; She'll have to check.

Alice: I heard her, I'm not the deaf one!

Janette FM: What?

Pauline looks at me despairingly. People are always looking at me despairingly.

Me: Wouldn't it be much easier if you just emailed each other?

Janette FM: What?

Eventually, I put my headphones on. My ipod Hector - for some reason I really like to name inanimate objects - drowns out the first lines to Sweet Caroline with an awesome Crystal Castles song. Just in time, I think. Just in time.


  1. Does Janette FM play any Bieber songs?

  2. Hey dude! I will ask her on Monday :) If she does, it may merit a whole new post.

    Since the Biebs no longer has a gay bowlcut hairdo, I can only hope that the Bieberlicious jokes will end soon. This isn't going to happen, is it?