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.

No comments: