Ah, the iridescent glow of sunburn on pasty Irish skin. And not just me, either. Most of my colleagues are back from their summer holidays now and red is the new trendy colour in the Department. Red with a nice peely texture. Yummy. Not for me the beach or the swimming pool, however, I spent my leisure time bouncing merrily on beer-fuelled hikes through non-touristy areas and gaining a nice bright farmer's tan to boot. Oo-arr!
So the silence I'd been suffering in before I left has ended. And there's been another EO thrown into the melange! Oh what fun, another person for me to glower at! So here I am, sandwiched between Mr Trappist EO, the untroublesome CO and this newbie EO who bounded over to me to introduce herself.
EO: "Hello, I'm Morticia! And how are you this fine morning?"
Govstooge: Uhurrrgg. It's my first day back. What do you think?
Morticia: And where were you?
Govstooge: I was hiking in the little-known principality of Fukofaganski.
Morticia: Well, what a co-incidence! My grandmother was born on Fukofaganski, and we still have a house there, don't you know.
Govstooge: Err, no. I've just met you.
(Much blather follows from Morticia about the wonderful baroque architecture of the Cathedral of Saint Stinkyfoot of Bollixybillski, the capital of Fukofaganski, and the glorious Roman Wazzatorium which is preserved nearby.)
All of this, of course, while Morticia is leaning over my desk, breathing this morning's rancid camomile tea breath all over me.
Suddenly, my phone rings! I heave a sigh of relief. But Morticia doesn't go away! She clings onto my desk attendant on the end of my phone conversation, ready to compare Fukofaganski with a myriad of other places around the world, just to illustrate how awfully well-travelled she is.
I don't fucking care if you think the temple of Wan Ker in Malaysia looks like a stone on the road outside the Pontifical University of Bollixybillski.
I hate you already.
Who will rid me of this turbulent EO?
There is a silver lining though. Morticia likes to talk an awful lot about herself and has already provided me with a happy ending. She may have just transferred into my area, but plans on taking a career break soon or maybe even retiring, as she is of that vintage (even in spite of the inane chatter akin to that of a very insecure teenager).
I could barely conceal my glee, and smiled across at the Trappist EO.
He was grinning too.