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Hogging Public Services

Whenever the secretary of the very pompous boss in my friend’s workplace knocks at a door and gets in to an office, people automatically assume the worst.

For the past years, the secretary has been the bearer of very ugly and messy messages and an omen of a bad luck in the institution. So naturally when she let herself in to the office shared by my friend and others, everyone got the goose bumps as uneasiness filled the environment. Everyone tried to avoid an eye contact with the secretary.

“He wants to see you right away,” she told my friend who was also trying his best to avoid an eye contact with her.

As soon as she left the room, everyone gathered around my friend’s desk and started to bombard him with questions making him even more nervous. “What have you done? Did you do something wrong? What’s going on?” everyone forwarded a question of his/her own. My friend’s heart was in his mouth when he left his office and headed towards his boss’s office. But nothing could have prepared him for the way his boss went ballistic on him because my friend didn’t attach some files the boss asked to be emailed immediately. My friend was reprimanded and admonished by his boss and he accepted all of it gracefully knowing fully his fault but my friend was also in a bind here; it is not like he forgot his assignment or that disregarded his boss’s orders. He didn’t attach the files because a girl in his office was hogging the computer with internet connection service in the office. My friend was in a difficult situation because he kept telling the girl he has some work related assignments and that he needed to use the internet immediately but the girl kept asking for ‘five more minutes, please’ now and then.

If the girl didn’t have the decency or the conscience to draw the line between her personal life and her career and lacks the very ethics, competence and character of a career person, then no one can possibly insert those qualities into her right now or at this age no matter how long of a sermon my friend or others preach her. Some people tend to forget where they are or why or the very purpose they are in a certain place, they don’t consider the people and the work load around them. They have little or no regard to public services and utilities that are meant for the benefit of the general public. Just because they got the access to a certain public service free of any charges they can’t seem to get enough of it and thus misuse and abuse the opportunities that are being offered.

It is about time that some people realize and understand the meaning and uses of public services and opportunities. If it is a public property then it means the general public should have equal access to it. No one should hog or monopolize it either. You know what I am talking about because there is at least one person like that in your work place, neighborhood or school. There is always someone who thinks he or she is the primary and sole beneficiary of public services and opportunities. Have you seen how some people hog the main lane in the road blocking everyone who wants to pass by or speed by or how people hog the office internet as if they are the only ones with insatiable appetite for the internet or chat rooms? For example, the girl from my friend’s workplace spends the whole day in the office glued to the seat in front of that particular computer with the internet heedless of the other’s need or priority. Hogging public property or service is rude and says so much about one’s behavior.

Hogging public services more than it is polite or for a longer period than usual shows one’s lack of respect and poor manners. The girl in the above for instance sits for hours in front of the PC and chats with others disregarding the others in the office who also have the same and equal claim to the internet service in the office. My friend and the others in the office have held their peace by confining themselves from passing other observations and concerns about her obsession with the internet and particularly the Yahoo Messenger.

One too many times they have voiced their opinions and advised her how it is not wise to hog the use of the internet for other purposes since mainly the service was there for work related purposes but the girl has given them a deaf ear to their advices. My friend and the others in the office are no saints either; they have used the office internet for purposes other than their work too but whenever a work or a job is involved they at least give it a priority. So in the above case, just because someone in the office didn’t open his/her mouth to say something about her behavior doesn’t mean that they are not judging her otherwise. My friend for example wanted to attach and send those files according to his boss’s request but because the girl was sitting there for hours using the internet for her personal use, he couldn’t send it and because of that he had to endure a rather nasty verbal abuse. But the girl didn’t seem to flinch even for a second even after knowing that someone else in the office had to get the blow and scapegoated for her mistakes. With some people you can never tell whether it is stupidity or sheer ignorance that makes them so indifference to other’s feelings and needs.

The girl in my friend’s workplace is online for most part of the day of the week with the exception of the weekends and the nighttime when the office is officially closed. Sometimes she will just sign in to Yahoo Messenger and asks to stay connected while others are using the internet so her message boxes would keep popping up now and then and I think it thrills her just to stay connected. She will then sit somewhere nearby and read the messages while someone else is using the computer. The person who is using the internet can never be at ease and as comfortable because the girl will always be there to read her messages now and then, breathing down their neck.

The current generation seems to be blind to the line that differentiates the personal life from professional one. Whoever we are and however we grew up, in the workplace we have equal access to the public utilities provided by the government or the institution you work for. We need to be professional in our workplaces and respect each other’s space and authority. This generation lacks professionalism more than anything else in their approach in life. In many cases I have witnessed someone not only hogging the office telephone but disturbing public peace while he or she is at it. Some people don’t only hog the office telephone but also are not discreet about their conversations on the phone. If someone is going to use the office telephone for hours and is talking out loud on the phone about his/ her personal life or love life publicly with the intention to let others know that he/ she is dating or publicly announce the contents of his or her life; this someone then definitely needs to know that this is not how you impress others. “Did you get home safe yesterday evening?” “Did your parents pitch a fit for getting home late?” “Did you sleep well?” did you dream about me?” “I already miss you.” … and other abysmally irritating sentences and conversations are private messages meant to be said in private and not to announce it as an orator out in the public. This just highlights the ignorance of the person who is saying them out loud in the public and invading the space of privacy of others not to mention hogging the office telephone. Sometimes I am made to witness and hear many issues while I am trying to concentrate on my workplace and these people would invade my personal space without my consent while I am trying to work. My mind on its own accord will observe what is being said or done out in the public because it is intentionally being performed to attract my attention. So during this trial that tests one’s patience one can’t perform work effectively but also can’t communicate with the outside world even for work purpose because the same person is guilty of hogging the public utility and invading one’s personal space.

Have you seen how some people cross their legs and act all cozy on the office phone while others are in immediate need of the line? Some people would go to the greater length of narrating their life story starting from their birth day and down through the story of their childhood, adulthood and their current situation while someone else is waiting for the line. The other time I was in a desperate situation and needed to call someone urgently but since my cell phone didn’t have any balance on it, I bought a telephone card to use a public telephone. And when I look around I spotted a telephone booth across from me. The phone booth was already occupied but since it was only one guy I decided to wait for him. Little did I know that was going to be the biggest mistake of my life.

The guy gave me this stony expression the moment he saw me crossing towards the booth and turned his back on me. As baffled as I was with his expression, I decided to wait and stand several steps away from him. Still baffled by his expression I took few more steps away from the phone booth and waited for a while but the guy seems to have another plan for the day- to spend the day talking to his friend over the phone- a public phone to be specific. Though several steps away from him, I could hear him loud and clear from where I stood since he was practically shouting to the mouthpiece. A minute, two, and three.then five and he still was talking as if he is in his own house and in his own couch with his own phone. By the seventh minute I couldn’t take it any longer so I got closer and mouthed ‘please I am in hurry’ but with that he turned his face to the wall and decided to ignore me. And all this time he was telling his friend about his first date with the girl he met the other day in the club and he seems to be intent on telling his friend the whole story in little details not missing any point of the event.

“I told her that she is the type of girl I would like to marry. And she said that she was happy that I approached her. She has been eying me too….” My hands were itching to slap him hard and good and I rued the day the girl in a club told him that she has been eying him too because clearly his stupidity and rude manners are mirrored in his actions and his manner of speaking. My mea culpa but how can anyone eye this kind of man? That day was the first day I wished I had listened my dad when he was telling me to take karate classes, I wished I had taken those karate classes and had earned my black belt, I could have used my high kicks and karate chops to teach him some lessons for hogging public services like that and looking down on a girl half his size.

With all due respect, let’s respect each other’s space and consider the situation, the environment and the people around us. Let’s understand and respect the use of public properties and opportunities so as to use them more effectively and wisely for a greater good. Hogging and selfishly hijacking public services for one’s own purpose shows one’s poor sense of ethics, conscience, competence and character as a person and moreover defies the very existence of these services to begin with.

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