I just walked into the kitchen in our office building to prepare some tea and grab my cup of yogurt from the fridge.

What I saw: the large table in the middle of the room is full to bursting with all of the 20-40 year-old women in the office, gossiping and gnoshing off of shared dishes. My assistant, a 30 year-old guy trying to take a break from coding with a turkey sandwich and a battered sci-fi novel, is perched in the corner. Knowing J, he sat down to enjoy 20 minutes of peace uninterrupted by a ringing telephone and his boss (me) bringing him “one more thing, right this minute, please”, and was unable to stand up before being encircled by the gaggle of geese when they alit. He looked utterly miserable.

Not that I can blame him. Call me old-fashioned, call me a prude, call me a withered stick who never makes time for fun (or lunch), but there are some topics that are just inappropriate for professional company. A group of women commiserating over the ways in which their toddlers and teenage daughters never give them a moment’s peace is certainly understandable. That same group of women guffawing at the top of their voices, outdoing one another with tales of “I haven’t been able to go to the bathroom by myself for 20-years — the kids just walk right in!” is just… Please don’t go there. Not in the break room, anyway. It’s not a mental picture I need following me around.

Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more …