Monday, September 15, 2008

The Eve of the Drawer

I derive a lot of amusement from my day-to-day work and interaction with my colleagues. It's hard not to, considering that there's fuck all on the telly and I've just finished reading the Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy and can't decide what to read next. (Maybe something by Terry Pratchett, or the biography of Mao by Jung Chang.)

For instance, playing pedantic civil service letter tennis is a particular joy of mine. I will happily return letters on lovely headed Department paper to anyone who cares enough to write to me in an official capacity. I especially like it when my civil service jargon is interpreted as "obfuscatory" (and no, I'm not in correspondence with any Ministers of State. At least, not that I know of).

Colleagues are great too. It takes all sorts to make up the Department and there's always something slightly mental going on. But sometimes thing can get too intense even for my liking. And that's saying a lot.

Sometimes I'm engaged on work that requires a fair bit of concentration (yes I do work! To tight deadlines no less!). I have to get my head down and hope I'm not disturbed. This isn't easy, given the shitty office layout we've been placed in. The last thing I need is being earwigged by the office bore, who works in my general vicinity, but who is not a member of the growing club that is known as Govstooge's Clerical Officers (catchy, eh?).

The office bore knows well enough to stay away from me. I will either ignore them or look up at them with murder in my eyes.

Recently, I have almost committed murder. Or, at least, a crude meniscectomy. Which isn't really the same thing, but I imagine it's painful. Our boring colleague decided to strike up a conversation with another colleague whose desk directly faces mine. Instead of walking around to their desk, the office bore decided to stand behind my desk, as I was sitting there, to conduct what could loosely be termed as "a conversation".

I, up to my elbows in forms, was not impressed. I reacted in the only way I knew how. I grabbed the handle of my top desk drawer and yanked it open with fury. Images of the bore limping back to their seat following a knee injury caused by high-velocity plywood filled my head.

I had underestimated my tedious colleague. I had expected them not to notice anything, immersed as they were in their own soliloquy of things that no-one else could possibly care about. I was wrong. The office bore lithely sidestepped my speeding drawer and skipped across to their audience to continue their droning monologue, as I sat there seething.

This is not the end. There will be other onslaughts. And I need to be prepared. My next DIY shopping trip will be for wires, pulleys, and maybe a little motor so I can operate the whole thing discreetly.

I could just be more assertive and say, "Sorry, ______ (insert colleague's name), I can't concentrate with you hovering over me, would you mind moving away from here please?" but that's just silly talk.

Assertiveness would just get in the way of my ambition to become the first non-surgeon to perform a delicate knee operation without anaesthetic in a non-sterile environment.

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