Office Coffee Slurpers

Ahh the time honored tradition of sucking down hot coffee every morning to start out the work day. It's a necessity for many workers who are practically still half asleep when they first arrive at the office.

The office I work in is fairly quiet much of the time. The lack of noise, causes a bit of a privacy deficit in the main cubicle area. One can hear every paper shuffle, repositioning in chairs, every conversation, every keystroke and mouse-click, every potato chip crunch, and to some extent: every coffee sip. Our office has what I call a loud-sipper.

What exactly is a loud-sipper? If you work in an office, especially a cubicle farm, you've probably heard loud-sippers before. They're not uncommon. I think it's safe to say that we've all unintentionally sipped our coffee loud some point. Some people do it more frequently, hence the term "loud-sipper".

Loud-sipping is different than sluping, although the latter is illustrated above. It occurs when one inhales far more air than liquid while ingesting hot coffee from the coffee mug. It's not really necessary to inhale so much air just to coax a little coffee out of the mug, but the loud-sipper is generally unaware of the noise created in the process. The seemingly excessive inhalation of air does serve a purpose however. It helps to cool the steaming hot black liquid as it enters the mouth, thus minimizing the chance of tongue-scald. The loud-sipping sound is usually only present during the first several sips. After the coffee has cooled a bit, the loud-sipper no longer finds it necessary to inhale more air than coffee and returns to a less audible method of sipation. New word, folks: "sipation" - the act of sipping without the word "sipping". Write that one down and impress your friends by using it in conversation the next time you're socializing with your fellow coffee enthusiasts.

Although not everyone in my office is a loud-sipper, I got the mental imagery of a cubicle farm full of loud-sippers. The sound of a loud sip being heard repeatedly from cubicle to cubicle cracked me up for some reason. Because I went with a simple animated GIF rather than a video file format (in which audio can be utilized), cartoon speech bubbles (or in this case, noise bubbles) were employed to illustrate the concept. "Loud sip" looked awkward in the speech bubbles, so it was changed it to "slurp". After all, there are plenty of coffee slurpers out there too. Luckily we don't currently have any in the main part of our office. I can deal with loud coffee sipping. Continuous coffee slurping might be a problem. Nothing a good sippy-cup couldn't remedy though.

That's not a recreation of the office I work in, by the way. Our cubicle farm is kind of an odd configuration. I went with the standard rows and rows of symmetrically positioned cubicles approach.

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James Cronin on September 27, 2008 7:28 PM

Hmm, that office looks strangely familiar... almost as if there should be some pop-corn munching as well as coffee-sipping!

It's hard not to sneak in a little homage to my favorite film in my creative work whenever possible. I initially pointed out the ENCOM reference (and cubicle inspiration) in my write-up, but took it out before publishing, hoping people would discover it on their own. Ahh - satisfaction! :-)

I was just going to say . . . that office looks suspiciously familar somehow.

All it's missing is the popcorn. ;)

I kind of hate to bring this up, but the sign should say "Gort Klaatu Barada Nikto" if you want to be totally accurate. Sorry if I'm being a pain in the ass.

Maybe you should make a comic strip out of this: with workers who work in an office that looks like one out of a favorite film, and have things happen to them that are somehow suspiciously tied to said film? :)

DOH! What kind of sci-fi nerd am I to make that mistake! :-O How embarrassing.

You're not being a pain in the ass - I'm glad you pointed that out. I'll get that fixed soon, before too many more people find it. At this moment (of commenting) Google has this particular post on my site blacklisted (or just unindexed). It was removed from their index two days after posting and has yet to return. Grrr.

I've used characters (just their names) from TRON in creative video productions before. I had Kevin, Laura, and Alan in "The Subwoofer Project" (working title) in the fall of 2005 - several weeks after wrapping on Cutting Room Floor. That production failed due to poor quality footage and conflicting schedules for re-shooting and then winter came (it was an outdoor thing). :-(

Umm, the sign does read Klaatu barada nikto.

Ed - I had it spelled incorrectly when I first posted the image, then went back and fixed it after Rod pointed out the error. Not a good speller... especially on the day the office coffee slurpers stood still... :-P

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This page contains a single entry by Todd published on September 21, 2008 4:11 PM.

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