Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More terrifying than Daleks?

What is it about the civil service that attracts the sort of people you expect only to see as extras on Doctor Who, Torchwood or Psychoville?

Only today have I seen a colleague meander into the middle of the busy road outside the Department, willing the traffic to stop by sheer force of drool and thousand yard stare. I expected civil servant pizza (the dandruff in his hair lending a touch of Parmesan), given public sentiment about our chosen profession. Instead, a car screeched to a halt inches from the dribbling functionary, possibly out of fear, as who knows what was hidden inside the rolled-up copy of the Irish Times under his arm, a gun, perhaps ,or a steel-tipped prototype of the most horrible form ever to come out of a Government Department. The terror!

We also have the chap that seems to be entirely made out of jelly. Yes, his corpulence has no equal in any colleague, public or private sector who I have worked with before. Mr W. Onder (or Wibbly-Wobbly for short) has an arse to rival J. Lo’s, and boobs that would make the sort of girl who stuffs her bra with toilet paper/ chicken fillets/ old forms seethe with envy. Onder’s chair makes dreadful noises when he sits down - the sort of noises that prompt you to run if you are in a building that’s structurally unsound. The chair makes an equally dreadful noise when he stands up. I never thought I would hear an inanimate object emit a sigh of relief.

Many of my new colleagues are single men, possibly living on their own, or still with their mothers, in a sort of Norman Bates style arrangement. I’ve worked this out, despite their intense secretiveness, thanks to several visual cues, other than the non-presence of wedding rings.

For instance:

Mr K. D. Nostrildamus, a keen gardener, likes to commune with nature on a regular basis. This he does by inserting the index finger of his right hand inside his left nostril, leaving it there until the “weeds” have been removed. The time of day or place doesn’t matter. This has been observed in meetings, at the photocopier, and, most disturbingly, in the self-service area of the canteen. If he knew any, a woman would have beaten this out of him long ago.

Mr Tony Grossburger, another rather corpulent colleague, loves his shirt so much, he will wear it for an entire week. By Friday, it has developed an ecosystem all of its own, particularly in the underarm regions and down the front where various traces of Tuesday’s eggy breakfast, Wednesday’s liver and onions and Thursday night’s beans on toast are in evidence. The following Monday, the stains are gone, thanks to the liberal application of what smells like carbolic soap. Grossburger generally sits alone in the canteen.

And the staring. Dear Christ, the fucking staring. The HEO has only to ask me a question, and their heads are up... and the eyes remain on me for considerably longer than is necessary. ("Oh look....WO-MAN ... and not Mammy either!"). I'm fucking dreading the office Christmas party already, in case one of them comes in with a sprig of misteltoe. I will just have to carry a chainsaw with me at all times.

I really should get to work on my idea for a new TV series. Spluttering Shites, the working title, is all I've come up with so far.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Since when....

...has it been OK for staff in different, adjacent sections to ask me to pick up their phone because they want to nip out to their car for their fags?

I only glanced up as she was passing by and just happened to catch her eye.

Now, I might have to get up from my desk and wander across the corridor when I hear her fucking annoying ringtone, answer the fucking thing, and then take a message relating to some obscure conversation she had with her other half at the breakfast table this morning, find some paper, scribble a note on it.

I saw her ID badge. She's a CO. I'm an EO. She can fuck off.

Mind you, she hasn't seen my handwriting yet. My scrawl, which resembles the marks made by spiders with inky legs crawling across a sheet of paper left on a trampoline being bounced on by Mary Harney, will be punishment enough. Ha.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Location, Location, Location

You may be forgiven for thinking that I'd disappeared up my own hole for the past several weeks or so. And you'd be right. What an exciting place the lower functionary's ileosacral region can be.

Almost as exciting as the adrenalin rush I get from blowing things up, shooting things, kicking the shit out of random strangers and driving at breakneck speeds. Yes, I've discovered (rather late in the day) the delights of Grand Theft Auto 4, the best fucking outlet for pent up rage yet. It's bloody addictive. I knew I had a problem when I drove (a real car) to a friends' house and rammed their wheelie bin, not to mention the urges I got when I saw a Garda checkpoint. Urges I had to suppress, lest I became some tattooed lesbian bank robber's bitch in wimmin's prison.

Meanwhile, back at the Department of Pedantry, I have more or less settled into my fab new role. I've had plenty causes for rage though, as only I could.

My initial accomodation in my new Department consisted of a tiny desk squirrelled away in a dark corner of the Department. Great, eh? Nice little corner, away from the madding crowd? Just what Govstooge needed after being a slave to the leave forms and whims of several clerical officers? Was it bollocks. It backed onto an entrance door into an open plan area. Which meant every fucker who came in could see what was on my screen. Not only that, but I had an unofficial (i.e. not on my Role Profile Form) duty as a concierge for the area, being the first person people would see as they came through the door. My typically pleasant disposition meant speedy results.

"Excuse me, do you know where Hortensia Bucketflaps' desk is?"
"No, I'm new here."

"Can you tell Roger MeSideways that I was looking for him?"
"If I knew who he is, or indeed, who YOU are, I could tell him, but I'm new here."

"Hello, I'm making a collection for Rusty McMinge who is retiring next week, I'm looking for a fiver from everyone."
"FUUUU.... err, I'm all out, and besides, I'm new here."

After several complaints (possibly not ALL of them from me), I now find myself in a far more suitable location, in one of those omniscient positions where I can see everyone coming and still have sufficient time to hide if I don't want to talk to them. A big plant placed strategically helps me with this, and is also useful for hiding in when I fancy sniping at people with elastic bands because things are quiet and I'm bored. Which isn't often, if I'm honest, there's always plenty of stuff to do, but it's nice to have the option.

All I need now is a big enough wall to pin up a poster of my new inspiration, Nico Bellic, and life will be complete. Must remember to bring the plasterboard slabs in tomorrow.