Overheard In The Lab

I work in IT. Generally I work in a cube farm with click clack on keyboards and talking as the background noise. Typical. Every once in a while however, I get to go to the Hospital that I ultimately work for and do installs or have meetings, etc.

Recently I had the pleasure of going to a laboratory at the hospital to do some manual installations of software.

Something like this, only not from years ago. Check out the PC’s. Wow.

Random Lab

Anyway, it’s kind of the last place I expected to hear any music, but to my surprise, amongst the stoic and purposeful staff, there was someone who was in charge of music playing over the small boom box size speakers on either side of the lab. The lab itself was essentially 3 rows of double-sided counters with PC’s and equipment. I had to go PC to PC up and down the rows. In the heat of the lab (my comfort zone is from 72 to 75 degrees)and the agony of waiting for PC reboots and installs I noticed the music. First there was some thumping dance number, horrible and forgettable, probably something recent that I wouldn’t recognize. Then however I heard Pat Benetar. Interesting juxtaposition.

I moved from a PC that I had finished and politely asked the user at the next PC to take a break so I could do the install. As I sat and waited for the workstation to reboot another song came on that made it clear that we were on some kind of iheartradio or internet radio of some sort. I had been there long enough I would have heard an announcer if it was regular radio, and the way the songs were mixed, with no specific genre was indicative of a mix tape (unlikely) or someone’s 8-Track mix or Pandora?

Then the next song was Sublime’s “What I Got”. To boot it was the unedited version! As Bradley swore I sneaked a peek at the staff there. No reaction. It was a weird experience. The clean professional lab, with Sublime playing. I noted it in my “this is cool” mental file.

The next PC I went to was the one that was piping in the music. As I rebooted it and the music in the lab stopped, I was sad. The lab was transformed into a sterile quiet box except for an occasional exchange of talk and the whir of centrifuges and hum of the freezer nearby. It was too quiet.

Interesting how music can give a place a commonality that is palpable. Given no music or music that was only 25% of the time stuff I really liked… I would always pick music.

Evidently, the people in the lab had come to terms with a playlist or station that was mutually enjoyable at least most of the time and gave the place its soul back.

Bravo Lab staff.

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