This is hard to write, but I’m thinking my troop of baboon friends can help me out.

I am not a Christian, but I love Christmas. I can massage almost every Christmas tradition into something meaningful for my Yuletide/Solstice beliefs.  I love the feeling of hope and redemption that comes with the season.  I love having a tree filled with lights and ornaments, I love making gifts for my friends and loved ones.  I love baking holiday cookies, I love cookie exchanges.  I love getting cards and reading people’s newsletters.  I love holiday movies (although I will admit I like older stuff better than current films) and I love holiday music.

For decades I have listened to my holiday CDs at the office during December. For many years I played them using my computer but these days I have a little teeny radio/CD player.  I tend to the more traditional music; Mommy Kissing Santa Clause and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer aren’t in my collection.

This past week I began to bring in my CDs and (as always) I said to all the folks who sit around me that if the music bothered them to let me know. In fact, just this morning, two of the folks who sit on either side of me chimed in on what to play next.  So it was shocking to me when my boss emailed me in the early afternoon that someone had come to her and complained about the music.

I’m broken hearted. Not because I have to use headphones or ear buds to listen to my music.  I’m broken hearted because someone who sits nears me, someone who has worked besides me for YEARS (we haven’t changed seating arrangements in about 4 years) thought it was better to complain to our boss than to stop by my cube and say “Hey, I’m having a bunch of calls today, can you turn your Christmas stuff down?” or “I’m having a really stressful day and your music is distracting – do you have ear buds?”  It’s completely disheartening to think that anybody who knows me even remotely would be able to imagine me getting pissed off about something like that.

I feel like a balloon that’s been stuck with a sharp pin – deflated and completely spiritless. I know it’s just one person, but I’m having trouble shaking my doldrums.  Nonny is coming next week and I have a serious list but right now I don’t feel like doing anything but sitting here feeling sorry for myself. I’m not even in the mood to go downstairs and make hot chocolate.

How would you cheer up an unwilling Scrooge?

44 thoughts on “Bah…..”

  1. Bah! Humbug.

    I don’t know what you can do about someone who just wants no responsibility for their own life and who expects someone else to speak for hm/her. I would say let go of this one. The problem does not belong to you.

    I just read yesterday’s replies about fiction and poetry from Wednesday. Nice. Thanks Baboons.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. don’t try to cheer them up
    flush them out
    put a sign on top of your cubicle saying
    “i need to know who contacted the boss instead of coming to me directly about my holiday music”

    let everyone who sits by you become aware of the benedict arnold in your midst and you will find out in due time

    they will be embarrassed and realize a team needs transparency

    then again those christians do tend to stick together

    are there any muslims or devil worshipers you could reach out to for comfort and assistance?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love the sentiment but being raised by the queen of passive aggressive, I’m not sure I have that in me. I do think that the liberal application of hot cocoa and RumChata tonight with my best girlfriend is probably going to help a lot. In the meantime head down, earbuds in.


      1. However I’m thinking that maybe if I sing out loud while I’m listening to my music on my earbuds that would be recompense for somebody. Nobody wants to hear this.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. …or maybe you could put up a sign, preferably in an Old English typeface and decorated with holly and other seasonal ornamentation:

      “Snitches Get Stitches”


  3. This isn’t really about you. It’s about a certain passive-aggressive person in your office. You can’t choose your workmates but you can choose to let it go.

    When I need to clear my head and start over, I like to follow the advice of Tobias Venner (1623):

    “The excrements of the braine must daily bee avoyded through the mouth by spetting and excreation, through the nose by exsufflation, and also sometimes by sternutation, especially in the mornings and those of the breast by coughing expectorated. And thus much for excretions.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is it possible the person is not someone from your inner circle? Sound travels farther than you think. From my experience (of not wanting to tell someone anything that’s the slightest bit “negative”), I worry that I will hurt the feelings of the person I’m telling. It is probably a person who doesn’t know you well?

    The other day I mentioned the lighted Christmas trees WITH MUSIC from my neighbor’s across the street. Jingle Bells et al. 8 times an hour, from 6 – 11 p.m. — I really don’t think I’d mind it if it wasn’t for the repetition! I have done nothing as yet (it’s been a week of busy evenings). I doubt if he realizes how the sound carries even through closed windows. But I have a draft of a note written… Why not go directly? I’ve only met him once, don’t know how he’ll react, and don’t want to hurt feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is the story that I’m going with that somebody thought they would hurt my feelings. But it’s still a surprise how well people don’t know me if that’s the case. Everyone who sits even remotely close to me (I’m talking pretty much this whole half of the building) I’ve worked with for decades.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I had a religious neighbor once who put up a massive Christmas display on the roof of their front porch. With music. This was directly across the street from me, so the speakers were aimed right at my house. There’s not much that will turn a person off to Christmas music quicker than being forced to listen to it on repeat for hours at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry, but I have no wisdom to offer about your Christmas problem. All I can do is offer sympathy by sharing a story about an experience much like yours.

    When rheumatoid arthritis and heart problems struck me, I lost the ability to do routine maintenance on my home. Nor could I afford to pay professionals to do it.

    One of my next-door neighbors took it upon himself to shovel my walks and mow my lawn. Jeff has a big heart. He said he didn’t mind doing those chores, as they were preferable to looking out the window seeing my die in the act of mowing.

    One day I got a letter from the Saint Paul police telling me someone had filed a complaint about my failure to maintain my lawn. If I didn’t mow it, the city would do it and then charge me for that.

    My front lawn was always impeccably maintained. My back lawn was messy and overgrown, but it was shielded from public view by fences. It was hard for my neighbor to get his mower into my backyard, and I didn’t feel I had the right to complain about that.

    Like you, vs, the real pain in this was losing my sense of unity with my neighbors. Nobody could see my unkempt back lawn unless they erected a ladder in the alley and looked over it into my yard. On top of the shame I felt about hauling not matching community standards for upkeep I had to deal with the fact someone chose to turn me into the police rather than dropping by to ask me to do better.

    I hope things turn out better for you and your work partners. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The opposite: used to have a neighbor who had an elaborate and very well nurtured back yard surrounded by a tall fence which hid it except for one crack in the fence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My situation was kinda funny. The neighbor to the east was fanatical about his lawn. It was central to his sense of who he was. The guy to the west, the one who mowed my lawn, had a mediocre front lawn and a backyard that was just awful. Half of it was bare dirt. He was always apologizing for his terrible lawn. I couldn’t say this out loud, but I LOVED that nasty lawn because it made mine look so good.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I am a great believer in the power of guilt. I suppose you could sigh mournfully while putting in your ear buds, pretend to weep occasionally, sniff, dab at your eyes and, if anyone asks, you could say how bad you feel for making someone upset with your music. It might out whoever complained, garner great sympathy for you, and, perhaps, they will feel so guilty they encourage you to play the music again.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. VS – It could be as simple as someone having a bad day, or season. Maybe they lost a loved one this year and the Christmas songs are painful to hear. The last time I saw my brother was the Christmas before he died in February. I could not listen to I’ll Be Home for Christmas for years, and it can still bring a tear to my eye (like now, as I’m writing this). The complainer may not feel up to explaining their problem and found it easier to do just as much as they could handle without breaking down. That may not be the exact scenario, but there are variations that could explain what happened. My advice, be compassionate to your anonymous coworker as well as yourself, and let it go.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. HI–

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that people will go out of their way to avoid confrontation. Even in your situation, where it should all be amiable and friendly, if person A is going to tell person B something is bad, person A often will not be comfortable doing it.
    It’s a tough job to have that discussion.

    If I were in the situation, and after a few days if it was still bothering me, I’d ask people in a 1:1 situation if they had an issue with the music. Its important to play it cool; it doesn’t work to come across grump about it or the person won’t admit.
    I’ve found, if I smile, I can say almost anything. Works 99% of the time!

    Try these examples, but say them with a smile:
    “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
    “Why are you being such a jerk about this?”
    “It’s good experience to work for a**holes.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Today I’m having trouble with anonymous whistle blowers. Of course, I know how harshly the world treats people who complain openly about being mistreated by powerful people. The women who complained about the behavior of Roy Moore are just the most egregious recent example. And yet I can’t be easy with people having the power to destroy reputations from behind a screen of anonymity. I’m not comfortable with a society where accused people are denied a chance to tell their side of the story.


    1. This hysteria is beginning to feel like a bandwagon everyone wants to get on. Having worked with thousands of women in my 30 years as a therapist, I’m keen on how different kinds of harassment affect women. Clearly, aggressive groping and sexual acts are traumatizing. Having your butt touched while a photo’s being taken one time doesn’t qualify as being a victim, and certainly not warranting a lawsuit or going public to shame the accused and destroy his career, most especially anonymously. What man hasn’t crossed a line at a company Xmas party or squeezed a little too tight during a hug or made an off color sexual joke or complimented a woman for having attractive legs or went in for a kiss thinking it’d be reciprocal??? There are hundreds of examples of men unwittingly crossing lines; should they all have their careers ended??? I am not talking about rape, molestation, or holding power over women with intent of intimidating them into sexual favors.

      Sorry for the rant, but we’ve just lost one of the best senators in Minnesota history over a few patting of butts and a sloppy kiss. It just isn’t right. It’s worth noting, too, that he had no position of power over any of his accusers.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. I’m sorry that this has put a dent in your Christmas spirit, VS. Feelings are just not rational. I agree, this is not about you, and my best advise it to not take it personally.

    I’ve mentioned on the trail before that I’m a hummer. I’m completely oblivious to the fact that I do it, but from time to time someone will comment on it. Most people who do, assume that my humming is an indication that I’m happy or in a good mood, and no one seems to find it objectionable. No one, that is, except my very first office mate. Mrs Kiel and I had desks that faced each other, and apparently my humming drove her crazy. From time to time it would get the better of her, and she’d say sternly, “Miss Pedersen, SHUT UP!” I’d make a concerted effort to not hum for a while, but pretty soon, I was back at it. To her, my humming must have been like a bad earworm. Most days this wasn’t a source of conflict between us, but on days when my humming got under her skin, there was definite tension in the air.

    Perhaps your coworker doesn’t like background music. Perhaps they find it distracting. I know that I can’t concentrate if there’s music in the background, especially if it’s vocal music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a nice comment, PJ. Many of us have traits that annoy others, and it can come as a shock when someone calls us on them.

      What I find sad in the incident VS describes the way this anonymous complaint shows that her relations with her coworkers aren’t what she thought they were.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m in the camp of people who can’t think when other people’s music is playing (and sometimes my own music, but of course I can turn that off). However, it’s the way the message of Turn That Music Off came to you – through your boss rather than the co-worker – that is bothering you not the fact that someone doesn’t like the music. I have no idea why this person did that and can see why it irks you. But – take some deep breaths, think that maybe that person needs kindness (don’t we all) and give it a few days. The annoyance will fade eventually.

    That’s all I got.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I also considered it but for a very short time. The music in question was not very loud. And my boss is too far away from me to have been able to hear it. I tested this theory out this morning by coming in before everyone else, turning the music onto the level that I had it on yesterday when the complaint came in and then walking around to all the cubes near me. Only heard it in about six cubes and not my bosses.


  12. One of the worst emotions we can experience is betrayal. What I’m most focused on with your story is how the way you’ve framed it makes it as hurtful as it can be. Other baboons have offered alternative stories as well as empathy. It’s taken me many years to recognize that there isn’t one “true” story for bad things happening in human relationships; there’s just the one I make up in my own head narrating it. I’ve consciously worked at changing out the story for one which doesn’t hurt or anger me as much. With yours, I might make up that this person, who’s clearly passive aggressive, must be a pretty unhappy character whom, for whatever reason, doesn’t feel the lightness of the season. Perhaps I’d even feel sorry for him/her, then feel gratitude that I can feel the lightness. On a practical note, I might inquire privately with each long time co-worker as to if this annoyed her, and also informing her that someone complained about it and it hurt your feelings. I don’t know, but there are lots of options both with your internal narrative and asking co-workers. If the guilty party won’t fess up, then at least she’d know that it was a hurtful thing to do.


  13. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It really helped me, hearing your voices of reason and caring. I stayed on the trail all day then I printed out Bill’s quote on the “excrementes of the braine” and Clyde’s ” Illigetimus non carborundum” and put them up in my cube. Nobody here understands either of them, although they are used to this from me!

    Liked by 2 people

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