Archive for ‘conversations’

June 29, 2016

conversations with my coworkers – part 9

by ada

coworker: – Phew, it’s hot today! Are you gonna jump into your pool after work?

me: – Such a nice idea! Unfortunately I don’t have a pool, but good for you!

(five minutes later):

coworker: – Oh, it’s soooo hot today! You too should jump into your pool at home!

me: – Well, I actually do not have a pool at home.

(an hour later):

coworker: – I can’t bear with this heat anymore! I can’t wait to jump into the pool after work. You should totally do the same!

me: – I am a white trash immigrant. I grew up in poverty in Eastern Europe. I am now living in the house of horror the deepest hole of Austro-Balkan hell a service apartment of exactly 20 quadratmetres. I do NOT have a pool.

(at the end of our shift):

coworker: – And now we can finally go home and jump into the pool! Aren’t you happy to have a pool on a day like this? Go and jump into it as soon as you’re at home!

me:  – Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

(I spent my whole life, which is longer than I’d care to admit, in the belief that in order to take part in a conversation, it is necessary to listen to the others. Turns out I was completely wrong.)

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May 20, 2016

conversations with my coworkers – part 8

by ada

At my current workplace I don’t really get a lot of opportunities to make mindful conversations with my coworkers (they prefer not to talk to me), but on the rare occasions they forget about the main policy* of the Austrian working and lower middle class**, there are chances our small talk session turns out to be quite memorable.

* Don’t Talk To Strangers! They Are Evil, Stupid And Dangerous!

**and, most likely, the aristocracy. (Un)fortunately, I have exactly zero experience with Austrian nobility, so I can’t really tell about this one

1.)

coworker: – Are you the only child of your parents?

me: – I have a sister.

coworker: – Does she have children?

me: – She has two sons.

coworker: – Well, it’s your turn now!

me: – ???

coworker: – Go on! Start to have babies!

me: – ???!!!

coworker: – Your sister has already made it. Now it’s your turn.

me: – Why should I copy every decision of my sister? What if she jumps out of the window? Should I jump too?

2.)

coworker: (shows embarrassing lack of knowledge about world history)

me: – Don’t you learn this stuff in school?

coworker: – No, we only learn about Austrian history.

me (incredulously): – What’s about the Soviet Union? The American Civil War? The French Revolution?

coworker: – We only learn about Austria.

me:  – That can’t be true. Please tell me it isn’t.

coworker (trying hard to come up with something): – Hitler got mentioned though.

me: – That’s reassuring.

(Hitler was born in Austria. Maybe that’s how he made it into the curriculum.)

3.)

coworker: – There is a good ice cream parlour in Grein.

me: – Oh, Grein, isn’t it that place with that historical theatre?

coworker: – I don’t know. I only go to Grein to get ice cream.

me: – It’s the oldest theater in Austria still in use…

coworker: – You can also have schnitzel with fries…

me: – …it’s more than two hundred years old…

coworker: – …and tafelspitz…

me: – …and is completely preserved in its original state…

coworker: – …quite expensive though…

me: – …prisoners were also allowed to visit it…

coworker: – …but you get a lot of food for your money, so it’s a good deal.

me: – …and you could even watch the performance while sitting on the toilet!

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March 19, 2016

conversations with random people about being Hungarian

by ada

Part 1.

my family doctor: – Where are you from?

me: – Hungary.

mfd: – But you don’t look Hungarian at all!

(There is no such thing as “Hungarian looks”. We don’t have a national stereotype.)

(Okay, so maybe we do.)

Part 2.

my boss: – Do you know X.Y.?

me: – No.

my boss:  – That’s not possible! He is also from Budapest!

(Budapest’s population is over two million. Shame on me for not being acquainted with every single member of it.)

Part 3. 

my coworker: – Do all Hungarians have blue eyes?

me: – ???

coworker: – The Hungarian doctor has blue eyes.

me: – Oh yeah?

coworker: – You also have blue eyes. So all the Hungarians I know have blue eyes.

(Well, that’s exactly two Hungarians out of the ten million. And my eyes are green but whatever.)

Part 4. 

the same coworker: – You shouldn’t be in contact with other Hungarians.

me: – ???

coworker: – You should use your time while living in other countries to embrace other cultures.

(I’m living in other cultures since thirteen years. I have already embraced everything that is to embrace. At one point of my life I even owned a dirndl.)

Part 5.

Austrian doctor: – Where did you go to nursing school?

me: – I went to some school in Hungary.

Austrian doctor: – I thought you were from Austria!

patient 1: – I thought you were from Switzerland!

patient 2: – I thought you were Czech!

March 14, 2016

stranger in a strange land

by ada

People who talk to me at work:

  • the cleaning lady from Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • the cleaning lady from Macedonia
  • the kitchen helper from Tibet
  • the nursing assistant from Congo
  • the nursing assistant from Turkey (although she’s no longer there)
  • the nurse anaesthetist from the Czech Republic (she’s on a sick leave since months)
  • the OR nurse from the Czech Republic
  • the OR nurse from Romania
  • the Polish doctor

People who don’t talk to me at work:

  • the remaining 9 Austrian cleaning ladies
  • the remaining 53 Austrian nurses
  • the remaining 25 Austrian doctors

I might open a new subcategory betitled “conversations that never happened”.

July 10, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 7

by ada

(Because sometimes the one without brains is me).

We are sitting in the nurses’ room, suffering from the usual workday afternoon energy level crash after 8 hours of constant stress and running-around and still 5 hours to go.

coworker: Wow. We have ecological dishwasher.

me: What is a co-logical dishwasher?

coworker: Ecological.

me: Oncological?! Extra for the needs of cancer patients?

coworker: ECOLOGICAL!

me: Oh. Do we have some more coffee?

July 7, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 6

by ada

(Sunday morning at my previous workplace. We are having breakfast and doing small talk.)

coworker: I never work on Sundays.

me (perplexed): Well, it’s Sunday and you are here, working.

coworker: It doesn’t count. It’s for money. But I never do laundry or vacuuming on Sundays. It’s not allowed. If you work on Sundays, God will punish you. I knew a man, he worked on a Sunday and his pigs got sick, all of them. Then he worked again and his son had a car accident and died. God punished him.

me: Whom did He punish? The son or the father?

coworker: Both of them.

me: It doesn’t make much sense to me. Which religion do you actually have?

coworker: I’m Christian.

me: Oh. I thought Jesus has already dealt with these kind of problems, like working on Shabbat or punishing sons for the sins of their fathers…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about.

me: The Bible. The differences of religious attitude in the Old and the New Testament.

coworker: I haven’t read the Bible. I don’t like reading.

me: Well, you know, there is this story about the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus out and asking him about his healing actions on a Shabbat…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about. If you work on Sundays, God will punish you.

me: Like, kill your son?

coworker: That’s the laws.

me: Well, those laws you are referring to, were originally meant as a survival guide to a small desert nation in a hostile environment, formulated more than 3300 years ago, on the level of ethical and moral development of a society of those times. There is this hypothesis of comparing the evolution of the human society to the ontogenesis of personality…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about. Which nation?

me: The Jews, of course. I’m talking about the practical role of the Ten Commandments in the survival of Judaism under disadvantageous conditions. And about the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

coworker: I don’t understand why are you speaking about Jews. These are the laws of God. God made them, not the Jews. God has nothing to do with Jews.

me: You mean, except calling them His own, chosen people? Actually, the problematic of whether the one and only God made the Jewish people or the Jewish people made up the idea of the one and only God is certainly very interesting…

coworker: I don’t know what you are talking about.

me: You know what? This discussion doesn’t make any sense. People should not be allowed to discuss religion on an empty stomach. Let’s have our breakfasts and talk about the weather.

March 4, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 5

by ada

Neighbouring ward at 3.30 am. I’m helping out the night shift nurse, a tough German guy with a slight air of brutality around him.

me (trying to do some small talk): So, and how it is in Germany? Who does the washing, dayshift or nightshift?

coworker: You are not allowed to wash patients during the night! It’s against the laws!

me: What laws?

coworker: The sleeping laws! (Opens the door of a room with a crash and turns the lights on. All the three patients in the room wake up with startled expression on their face.)

me: (confused): Well, in Hungary we do wash them during the night, because during the day you really lack the time for it.

coworker (slams the door. All the doors on the ward resonate. The three patients look like they had received a shock): But you are in the EU! Report them!

me (amused): EU? Hahaha! It’s Hungary, man, it’s not the EU! Whom should I report anyway? The whole Hungarian Health Care System? To whom?

coworker (gets really excited): Patients have the right to sleep! (Hearing this, the three patients try to hide under their blankets.)

me (trying to get him calm down while hearing other patients wake up in the neighbouring rooms): Okay, okay, they do, they do.

coworker (starts to shout very loud while tearing brutally the blanket off one of the patients): THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO SLEEP! THEY CAN REPORT YOU IF YOU WAKE THEM UP!

me (cautiously): Well, you are waking them up right now.

coworker (yells at the totally terrified patient who tries to get his blanket back): DON’T MOVE! (turns to me) I NEVER WAKE ANYBODY UP!

me: What if we just do the job quickly and then I just go back to my own ward?

January 22, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 4

by ada

Three weeks ago:

coworker1 (calling me exactly 20 minutes before the beginning of her day shift): I’m sorry but I can’t work today, I feel so sick, I’m staying at home today.

me: Oh, you poor one! It’s okay, don’t worry, we will find somebody instead of you, just take care of yourself and get better!

Two weeks ago:

coworker2 (addresses me in the middle of his day shift): I’m going home now, I feel sick, I can’t work anymore today.

me: Oh, you poor one! It’s okay, don’t worry, we will find somebody instead of you, just take care of yourself and get better!

Yesterday:

me (calling the nurse on duty on the previous day of my day shift, giving exactly thirteen hours for her to find somebody to work instead of me): I’m sorry I’m sick so I can’t come tomorrow.

coworker3: Oh no! How will I find somebody else? Why do you call me so late? Why didn’t you told me that already yesterday?

me: Well, yesterday I still felt fine.

coworker3: Can’t you really come tomorrow?

me: I’m sorry but I’m throwing up all the time, I don’t think I’ll manage to work thirteen hours in this condition…

coworker3: How long will you be sick?

me: I really don’t know, sorry…

coworker3: But you sure come on Wednesday?

me: I don’t know…

coworker3: On Thursday? On Friday?

me: I will try to do my best not to throw up on Friday…

coworker3 (in a plaintive manner): What shall I do now? How shall I find someone instead of you? How long will you be sick? Why didn’t you call me earlier?

me (already pretty nervous and wondering about this interesting phenomenon of the complete lack of empathy in health care professionals): I’m soooo sorry for not getting sick one day earlier!

January 8, 2013

conversations with my coworkers – part 3

by ada

Scene: meeting for administrative education purposes (I don’t know how is it at your workplace but I spend more time with meetings, evaluations, charting, and counting narcotics than with patients).

coach (explaining how to interpret the small numbers written on the duty schedule): If you are assigned to work 165 hours but you actually work 167 hours, how many excess hours do you have?

coworker1: three!

coworker2: four!

coworker3: two and a half!

coworker4: zero!

coach: two. And if you are assigned to work 167 hours but you actually work only 165 hours, how many excess hours do you have?

coworker1+2+3: two!

coworker4: zero!

couch (with a hopeless sigh): negative two.

(I, the firstborn daughter of a mathematician father, the girl who spent her early childhood with reading books about the wonders of numbers, written by Soviet scientists for educational purposes; spent the two hours of the meeting wordless, dreaming about freedom and a nicer future.)

November 25, 2012

365/330

by ada

Socialising is no superhero skill of mine; it never was. Sometimes I do it rather fine, that means I laugh at the right moment and say yes or no adequate to the conversation; but today I felt that if I have to participate only one more minute longer in the breakfast discussion about the appropriate use of vaginal lubricants, the remaining five brain neurons of mine that survived both the depression and the workplace breakfasts of the last six months, will commit suicide together and I will end up in our own dementia ward very soon. I don’t really want to maintain long conversations about astrophysics*, postmodern literature*** or early Italian Baroque continuo rules****, but I got already somewhat tired of the topic of the detailed love life of my coworkers. Despise me if you dare.

* mostly because I have about zero knowledge of astrophysics**

** well, I read A Brief History of Time a few years ago but that’s really all I did for my better understanding of the Universe

*** there definitely were times when my readings couldn’t have been defined with the sole word: mysteries; but – alas! – those times are passed

**** I have a lot to say about early Italian Baroque continuo rules but I am also able to go quite happily without pushing the subject

November 7, 2012

conversations with my coworkers – part 2

by ada

coworker1: Why don’t you eat bread?

me: Because gluten erases intestinal villi made of epithelial cells and makes the gut wall permeable, causes a leaky gut syndrome and increases inflammation levels. All that leads to diseases based on the failure of the immune system and on an autoimmune response.

coworker1 (looks perplexed)

coworker2: Gluten is healthy.

me: No, it isn’t. As it was pointed out in several studies…

coworker2 (interrupting my words): Gluten is healthy. I saw a dietitian speaking about it on TV yesterday.

me: Oh well. You know how it is with dietitians…

coworker2: It is true, because it was on TV.

me (looking perplexed and having dark thoughts about the present state of education for health care professionals and the future of the human race): Oh well. Forget it. I don’t eat bread because I want to lose weight.

November 7, 2012

conversations with my coworkers – part 1

by ada

me: I wanted to visit Prague for a few days but our boss changed the schedule chart on a short notice so I can’t get away this weekend. Next time.

coworker: But… why?

me: What why?

coworker: Why did you want to go to Prague?

me: Because I haven’t been there yet and it is told to be a beautiful city.

coworker: But… why go there?

me: I like discovering new places.

coworker: But… why don’t you just stay at home?

me: Oh, well. Forget it.

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