I am not ordinarily a man given to rave-outs and rants. I'm about the most mellow sum-bitch you're going to meet. But something happened today, (actually it happens periodically, but I've decided to vent my spleen today) and maybe I'm overreacting, but it pissed me right off.

(Note to non-USAans: By pissed off, I mean angry - not drunk. Thank you.)

First of all, let me explain this office. It is full of engineers and programmers. To the layman, it looks like our job is to sit in front of a computer screen and squinch our faces into varying degrees of contortion without using our hands. The trained observer, however, sees that our job requires a lot of thinking and concentration.

The perfect environment for this job, we've discovered, is quiet.

Qui! Yet!

We've worked very hard over the past year/year and a half to create a serene working environment, where the loudest noise that can be heard is the tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard and the rare .wav blast when someone accidentally fires off a sound without their headphones on. Other than that you have the soothing background sounds of muffled music escaping the confines of the headphones and the occasional slurp of coffee or Jolt Cola.

Well, there was that time when that engineer just totally lost it for reasons which we have yet to discern. But for the vast majority of the time, we live in a relatively torpid stupor of tranquility.

Until today

At first it sounded like it was a sqeaky door. But it just kept getting louder and louder. We couldn't figure out what it was, but eventually we realized it wasn't an inanimate object. It would not stop. It was relentless. For some reason it reminded me of The Langoliers, where the people at the airport were hearing the little spheres of total destruction just over the horizon.

Finally I decided to investigate the noise and destroy the source. Unfortunately, I was unable to destroy the source, because the source was an infant, roughly 3 weeks old. Let me rephrase that. I was not unable to destroy the infant. However, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so I let it be.

'Sides he was a cute little baby. My only beef with him was that he was just too damn loud. It was his mother that pissed me off.

Would someone tell me why a person would feel the need to bring a newborn infant into an office whose primary function is to serve as a place where people think? If this was a unique occurance, I wouldn't be writing this, but it happens from time to time and it seems like it's been happening a lot more lately, and it's a trend that I do not like.

It is no secret that we require peace and quiet. It is a fact worthy of note that babies do not like quiet, and will do anything in their power to eliminate it when they find it. In this area their power is surprising and unsurpassed.

Now don't get me wrong, I love children. I have my own and I'm damn proud of them. I have pictures of them on my desk, and I tell anyone who cares to listen everything they ever wanted to know about my little sproggin. I love playing with them, I love hearing them laugh, and I love letting them run up and down the hallways of our home screaming like all the demons of hell are right on their heels.

But Jesus H. Christ, why don't these people use their fucking heads before they come to a quiet office with their children. I would never bring my kids to work (not during work hours anyway) because my kids are LOUD. That's fine at home, but in an environment where people are thinking, you can almost physically see their trains of thought being derailed.

Shattered concentration leads to pissed off engineers. Q.E. Fuckin' D.

This is not a construction site, or a machine shop, or a sports arena. It is not a day care center or a Chuck E. Cheese.

I come to a quiet office at work to get away from screaming children, not to be subjected to someone else's.