Friday, February 19, 2010

Things I Must Never Forget # 2

Four-year old Favourite Son comes down the stairs.

He and his sister are staying with me for a few days and I am stupidly happy at having a sensible reason to live for a change.

He’s always been very good at dressing himself but this morning he looks exceptionally dapper.

Me: Wow! You look very smart.

(I would like to stress that I rarely use the word ‘wow’ in a non-ironic sense. This was an exception.)

He shrugs and busies himself with something that doesn’t involve him being made to feel self-conscious in front of his Father.

We’re off on an Outing, but as I have explained to both of them, I need to quickly drop into my office for half an hour to Do Some Things because I’m the sort of cretin who can’t organize some simple time off without leaving things to do.

Less than an hour later we’re in my place of work. Favourite Son charms all around him without even trying, Favourite Daughter busies herself with doing my job better than me despite not having the slightest idea what I do for a living.

Favourite Daughter: [Looking up from her ‘work’] What are those?

Um. Sweets.

FD: Who’s been eating them?

Me: Not me.

FD: Who then? Can I have one?

Me: No. You’ve not had lunch and you’ve had enough sugar. And I don’t know. Have a look around and see who you think looks like the sort of person that would steal my sweets.

Her eyes immediately flick at Blonde Colleague and dart away again. She shrugs.

Me: For what it’s worth I think you’re right.

I complete my ‘should have been done already’ tasks and we leave once I drag Favourite Son away from his new female admirers.

As we leave –

Favourite Son: Daddy?

Me: Yes?

FD: You have to be smart for work don’t you?

Me: ….. Oh. Yes.

As we head toward the local science center I now realize why he made such the effort - with his smartest pants, best shirt and co-ordinated ‘tank-top’ or whatever they’re called this year - earlier that morning.

His four-year old brain knew that we were ‘going to work’. I remember now that he said as much himself the night before as I outlined our activities for the day. I know now that he was probably more concerned about that than anything else.

And that he wanted to make the right impression. Perhaps for himself but maybe for his father as well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Thug Colleague is waxing lyrical on one of his favourite subjects.

Thug Colleague: …. And you’re sitting there in the bathroom with your troosers roond yur ankles and spunk all ower your hand thinking ‘this is proper sordid this like’….

We’re in a pub, it’s a lunchtime. Normally I would never drink during the day but the previous evening had been a ‘staff do’ and we are all cripplingly hungover to the extent that a couple of midday refreshments are the only way of getting through it. I’ve conducted a survey and none of us can clearly remember our journey into the office that morning -which is not a good sign.

Thug Colleague: ….and you’ve covered every mirror in the bathroom with towels so you don’t catch a glimpse of yoursell deein’ it……

I’m only half-listening but he seems to be having quite the trip down memory lane. Although, he still lives with his parents so maybe not. It could have been last night.

Thug Colleague: … and whenever yer Mam looks at the Littlewoods catalogue she cannit understand why it alweys oppins on the underwear pages …

Grant From Work: I was always more of a Freemans man myself.

TC: Aye, that was some quality grumble that like …

I’m thinking back over the previous evening. I remember dancing on smashed glass with a female colleague. There is something about red wine down the front of my trousers as well. Also helping myself to the ‘one complimentary glass of champagne upon arrival’ half a dozen times and getting into a foolish confrontation with a member of front-of-house staff on the subject. All in all, not too bad.

TC: … like, when you find an auld copy of Razzle in some bushes and you fuckin’ think it’s Christmas come soon …

Perhaps inappropriately I start thinking of my son. It’s probably Thug’s childlike delight and stupid toothy grin.

It occurs to me that Favourite Son will - once he becomes interested in such pastimes - probably not enjoy the illicit pleasures of the Playtex section of the Kays catalogue as virtually every young man in the United Kingdom of my generation has.

I’m sure that once he reaches that age of curiosity technology will have advanced to the extent that all he will have do is press the red button on his digital remote control and whoever is presenting CITV that day will appear in a pop-up window fellating an alsation.

Which simultaneously makes me feel both a bit sad, and also a bit worried about myself for even thinking like this.

Thug Colleague [clearly moving-on from his festival of Masturbation Nostalgia]: Tired? That lass ye were dancin’ with? Well, she was dancin’ anyways, Ah divn’t knaw what you would caaall what ye were dein’ – did ye shag her?

Me: No.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Gets Worse.


Blonde Colleague: Right. That’s it!

She’s just ended a telephone call with Insane Client and is glaring at me.

BC: You’re having her back!

Me: No, I don’t want-


Me: I know, that’s why-

BC: I’m not even listening.

Occasionally we have clients that are not fond of our credit-checking procedure and will pay for our services over the telephone by credit-card instead. Insane Client is one of these. Blonde Colleague has just phoned her to attempt taking payment:

Blonde Colleague: So if I can just take your card number…

Insane Client: Why? Don’t you know it?

BC: Um. Well, no.

IC: *sigh* Why not? I just gave it to you last week. You should know it. I don’t see why I should have to tell you every week.

BC: We don’t keep that sort of information. You know. For security?

IC: *sigh* Well I really don’t ….. this is all….

BC: If I could just take the number then I’ll get things moving ….

IC: *sigh* This is very …. 079-

BC: Hold on. That’s not the right number.

IC: What? How do you know? Of course it is.

BC: Credit card numbers never start with zero. You must have the wrong one.

IC: This is confusing me. Of course it’s right. This is very confusing.

BC: Look-

IC: 079-

BC: That really isn’t right.

IC: [volume and tone of hysteria increasing with each syllable] Of course it is! 079 [proceeds to loudly recite an eleven-digit number].

BC: [Quietly stunned for a moment or two] Insane? That’s your mobile phone number.


Blonde Colleague is having no more of this and is glaring at me as though I were personally responsible for this woman’s psychosis. Professional Wendy was meant to be handling this crackers account but gave it up because – well, because he’s a Wendy. It gets given to me. “You’re good with these people Tired,” I am informed. “All the crazies like you. It’s as though you speak their language or something.”

I give it a couple of hours. Then pick up the phone.

Me: Hello is that Insane?

Insane Client: [immediately suspicious and adversarial] WHO IS THIS?

Me: It’s Tired from the Department-


I shrug apologetically at Blonde Colleague. She rolls her eyes. I notice the Fucking New Kid hovering by my desk. He has a DVD in his hand.

Fucking New Kid: You were saying on Friday you wanted to see this? You can borrow it if you want.

Great. We’re ‘mates’ now, obviously.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Lunatic Asylum.

I have a job, and a tiresome by-product of this job is that I am required to speak to people. As some of these people are 'clients' it means I also have to speak to them pleasantly. This would not be a problem for most normal people, but unfortunatly for me I am a divining rod for mentalists.

I used to think that this only applied to my personal life, but it seems that it has extended itself to the workplace also. I do not know if this is good or bad. However, it does mean that I spend much of my working day speaking to the sort of people who occupy themselves of an evening by howling at the moon whilst masturbating over photographs of wellington boots. Or something.

With one exception.

I have been out of the office for a few days, and in my absense the following telephone conversation takes place:

Blonde Colleague [answering telephone]: Good afternoon, you're through to the Department.

Insane Client: Oh. Oh. Hello. Um. Could I speak to Tired please? I normally deal with him.

Insane Client has long been the bane of my life, and when not being irretrievably difficult, slamming the phone down for no good reason, informing me that alien visitors to our planet show no respect for God (a genuinely true conversation) and sagely informing me that we are, in fact, 'not robots' (yes, she did mean it in a literal sense) probably fills her days making papier mache cats to keep her imaginary ones company.

BC: I'm sorry, he's on holiday at the moment. Can I help?

IC: I'm sure you can. It's just .... how long has he been away?

BC: Oh, just a couple of days.

IC: Right. Right. Well. Anyway, could you .... do you know where he's gone?

BC: He didn't say. How can I help?

IC: He didn't? It's just .... well, there's been a couple of murders.

BC: ....What?

IC: In the papers. Did you not read? Not too far from here.

BC: Riiight...

IC: I'm just saying. You have to admit it's a bit odd. Him being off work at the same time.

BC: ..........Err.

IC: I'm not accusing him of anything, it's just ...... well, it seems strange is all.

BC: Ok then. Anyway, what can I-

IC: Actually is it alright if I just deal with you now? Like I say, I'm sure he had nothing to do with it, but .....

To this day the client in question has refused to speak to me. Her and the woman who won't deal with me because she doesn't think I'm suitably sympathetic when she tells me in detail about her hormone-replacement therapy makes two, now I think about it. The only thing I now have left to do is to push the sanity envelope of the rest of them and then I shan't have to speak to anyone at all.


Ghost of Christmas Past.

Five weeks ago.

I am walking up the stairs on a railway platform, preparing to cross the tracks. I am weary, unhappy, have traveled 1,200 miles in the past five days and am looking down the barrel of 400 more. Experience of my country’s excellent rail network tells me that I shall be alone with my own rather unpleasant thoughts for between four and seven hours. Excellent.

Still. At least I’ll be traveling alone. I don’t mind the anonymity.

A random man is coming down the same stairs toward me.

Random Man: Hello Tired!

What the fuck is this now? I’m several hundred miles away from home in a town I have not lived in for five or six bloody years. No-one knows me here.

Me: I don’t know who you are.

I don’t have the energy to be any less direct than that. I find it's often the best approach anyway.

Random Man: It’s Gareth!

Oh my sweet shitting Baby Jesus up in his heaven sitting on his cloud, it can’t be.

Please take a moment to check my post of June 6th 2006 to find out who ‘Gareth’ is. I’d do one of those ‘link’ things but can’t be arsed.

I blink at Gareth for a while. This really is too much.

Gareth: [Very excitable for some reason] Are you getting the 11.12?

Me: [Stupidly] Yes.

Great! Me too! Loads to catch up on! Just going to the cash-point! See you in a minute!

I stand stupidly blinking with my mouth open for a few minutes. This is terrible.

Of course, being a grown man I handle the potential awkwardness of sitting on a train for God knows how long with a person I really cannot bear in a perfectly adult, sensible manner.

By standing out of sight smoking a cigarette outside the station until the last possible second before the train departs and then jumping into the carriage furthest away from the one ‘Gareth’ has joined purely so I can avoid talking to the man, who is now on my very extensive list of people I have to avoid forever.
Go to newer posts