Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hey Mr Tambourine Man...Fuck Off!

Much change has taken place in my small work unit in recent weeks. (Oh no! Change! The enemy of the cossetted civil servant!) Personally, I like a nice bit of change. Keeps me on my toes and offers me an opportunity to stimulate the dim recesses of the brain which the Electro-Convulsive Therapy rods can't reach.

My erstwhile colleague, Morticia, has left for pastures new. A career break of some sort I believe. I think there's a Mediterranean cruise in there somewhere, so that Morticia can avail of the opportunities to drop in on friends like Benny in Rome, Nicolas' and Carla's holiday home in the French Riviera, BenAli in Tunisia - oops, scratch that one. She took the Atropa belladonna I presented her with some months back, and a large tub of emollient. Good luck to her.

In her stead comes a whole nut EO... I mean, a whole NEW EO. He has been redeployed from some other area of the Department which was found to have surplus staff. I call him Mr Tambourine Man.

Why? Is it because he carries around a small percussion instrument which marks out the tempo of his stride as he arrives into work in his Birkenstocks and white socks? Is it because he is always whistling Bob Dylan tunes?

Nah. It would be OK if he did these things. I could even forgive the tambourine. Those things are easy to grab and throw at people if they piss me off.

Mr Tambourine Man is yet another of that strange band of brothers in my new Department, the unattached Oedipal male. The kind of chap whose only experience of women is (a) Mammy, (b) Sister Nunzilla, the principal of the primary school, (c) Bridie from the Post Office, (d) Yer wan off Winning Streak. But particularly Mammy, as she is still washing his clothes and cooking his dinner even though he is now turning grey at the temples, has a cholesterol problem and is developing a middle-age spread (although not quite yet a member of the Masonic Order of the Generous Waistband like Nosher). He has been a civil servant since time immemorial and got promoted to EO on seniority because he dribbled slightly less than the other COs in his unit.

As a woman who does not fall into (a-d) above, I'm something of a curiosity to him. He likes to sneak glances across the room whenever he gets a chance. I am not dressed provocatively; my low cut tops with neon flashing lights "Boobs in here!" are kept for the weekends.

He doesn't know the correct method of initiating a conversation with a member of the fairer sex. A simple "Did you get any bastards canvassing at your front door last night?" would work for me, as I could describe my "BIOHAZARD- PROPERTY QUARANTINED DUE TO EBOLA OUTBREAK" sign that I had made specially for the front door. And the Petri dishes with the actual virus in them that I've placed at regular intervals around the driveway (I'm not saying where I got those).

Nah, Mr Tambourine Man prefers to let the woman kick off the discussion. He returns from tea break and paces up and down in front of my desk for a few minutes, in the hope that I'll look up and say, "How were the scones today, Colin? How many teeth did you lose today?" A pointless gesture, because I don't look up and enquire about the fucking scones. This pacing is disturbing and is having the opposite effect to what was intended. His attention seeking does not stop there, however. He puts his hand in his pocket and proceeds to play with an unfeasibly large...


...NO! unfeasibly large amount of change. Jingle jangle. And more fucking jingle jangle. "Oh Colin, what an awful lot of money you must have," he seem to be willing me to say. Seriously. Is the sound of clinking monetary shrapnel the equivalent of the Sirens' song to Ulysses?

"In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you..."

I won't follow you, so fuck off, Tambourine Man, and put it in a pint glass on your bedside table like most normal people. I bet you pay for your scone in the canteen with 1c coins.

Earlier in this post I said I liked change.

Why do they punish me so?