There’s a fad that’s been around for a while; wristbands, watchstraps … various accessories adorned with the acronym WWJD.  This, I have discovered, stands for ‘what would Jesus do?’ and is a guideline for daily living.

My own guideline, my yardstick for behaviour, is WHAT WOULD MISTER CRISP DO?

Quentin Crisp was, to me, the perfect embodiment of dignity and impeccable manners, even under the greatest duress. In case you didn’t know, Sting’s song Englishman in New York was written about the great Crisp.

Modesty, propriety can lead to notoriety
You could end up as the only one
Gentleness, sobriety are rare in this society
At night a candle’s brighter than the sun

During the past two weeks I have had to pretend – often – that Mister Crisp was standing beside me, and to temper my manners accordingly.  Flung into close proximity with complete strangers, in an open-plan office, one is exposed to the unconscious tics and habits of one’s co-workers. On my left is a girl who constantly clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. It makes a hollow, popping sound. It’s sort of like listening to a game of table tennis. Another clears her throat all the time … errem errem errem … like a small car idling at a kerb.

There’s a bloke across from me who voices everything he reads off his computer …

Mister Crisp cautions me to refrain from flinging my stapler and other office stationery at these folk.

On the telephone last night, Liz Windsor was sympathetic; “One can recommend a little hip flask of gin, Dear. Takes the edge off things.”

I don’t think gin is the answer. But my lunch today is a rather smelly pilchard salad … perhaps I’ll have the office all too myself for the afternoon.


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  1. I find eggie-mayo sarmies will vacate a room quite fast. 🙂
    Good luck with the strange sounds – I don’t think I could deal with that after so many years of having mornings to myself.

    • I also have tic’s due to suffering mildly of Tourette’s Syndrome. I often twitch my shoulders – it is involuntary. I can also not keep my hands still, I often clasp them together to try to prevent it. Working with my hands also helps of course. Stress makes it worse.Please bear with us and our tics!

      I love your lunch box!

  2. The joys of moving into new workspaces huh. I’m 6 weeks into a new workplace…… OH MY GOSH…, people are so “different” (she says trying really hard not to be discriminatory)…. feelin’ for you Sista 🙂
    PS: I have contemplated my own ‘tic’, haven’t decided how it’ll manifest yet though 😉

  3. I am a little like you in that regard- and therefore enjoy my OWN space.
    I have a couple of people who eat CRAP all day. Doesn’t bother me so much that they eat rubbish, but that they eat crisps directly from the packets…. and you hear that bag over and over. The big bags.
    Then there is a girl who just has to be the cow of the office. A very loud cow.
    There is another girl who constantly screams out the letters OMG! In her squeky voice.
    And of course there is the girl who’s laugh turns into a snort.

  4. I see the difference between Jesus and Mr. Crisp. Mr. Crisp will tolerate them; Jesus would love them. Tolerating isn’t easy, is it? It’s too bad you don’t have space of your own. It is hard to concentrate when everyone is together with all our little personal habits bumping into one another. Blessings to you, Cindy…

  5. Ah, fun fun fun sharing an open plan office! I worked in one last year … the smell of others’ food, and the sound of people crunching on crisps were the things I struggled with the most! Oh, and the guy opposite me who kept, almost obsessively, tucking his shirt into his pants … eeeuuuw.
    Sunshine xx

  6. What a fine way to start my day…I needed the smiles and calm that you’ve already introduced into my day…always good to reset the perspective before venturing out into the world. 😉

  7. I love the post, and the lunch – I like Pilchards 🙂 I can identify with you; Personally I very much dislike open plan 😦 One spend so much time there though. A mental discipline to keep enjoying the job – main focus! – and to laugh often. Think ‘blog moment’, ‘blog moment’ and put a funny spin on it. The last two offices I worked in was open plan. The first one was a display room… everyone totally exposed to everyone and facing each other from all across the room – I hated it. It was also here where I was victimized with an audience. The last one was only 3 or 4 people (myself included) and listening to the boss’ fiance pour out her heart to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the phone for hours; then inviting them for a lunchtime visit, i.e. she continues to work while they hang out their dirty laundry at her desk. The lack of privacy didn’t occur to her while the rest of us burned triple the calories pretending to tolerate it – pretending not to hear a word. Also, her and her fiance were not shy about their showing of affection, not even mentioning her tattle tailing to the boss at the supper table at night, whilst pretending to be my friend at day. That one didn’t last too long. I used to be more curious. Open plan has cured me of that. Somethings are better not knowing 🙂

  8. Argh! I have a woman sitting in the next office who continually hawks as though she’s going to spit, and it drives me up the wall not to mention feeling quite ill. So far I’ve managed to restrain myself, but for how long…?

  9. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenges (The Daily Post) « Spirit Lights The Way

  10. WWJD – who would’ve guessed? I’m sorry to say a swear escaped my lips when I read that (it may have started with j…) Luckily, I had myself better in hand when I came to the part about your coworkers and their annoying habits. Good thinking, about the salad – did it work?

  11. Love it ~ I’d no idea about the song, thanks for history
    As for the annoying company, props to you for remaining proper. I used to offer my little “cougher” a lozenge and became quite snarky when she refused.
    Lovely blog, glad I stumbled here!

  12. As i hoped, a crisp statement or two.

    I understand why some people plug in the earphones all day in open plan. I just find it a problem after a few hours, my head and ears go funny on me.

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