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June 26, 2005

Free Beer or freedom?

So it had to happen at some point. I had to see the people I work with in a context other than the normal ten hour a day thing called work. Well it didn’t have to happen. I had a choice. Extend my working contact by another six hours or go home. Well, it would seem an easy choice. But then they throw in the deciding factor. Free Beer.

Now it’s not like I can’t afford eight pints of beer. I can. There is just something that makes you try and grab as much as you can when it comes to ‘free’ and the words ‘work’. That’s simply because, however wealthy the company you work for are, they will rarely give you something for nothing.

I had learnt this on my first day when I asked for some phone notes. Only to be told they stopped producing them due to cost cutting. Let’s rewind here. One minute I was reading the company had assets worth approximately $1.1 trillion. The next minute I was hearing they had phased out 12 pence sticky sided five inch by four inch pieces of paper. I didn’t know a lot about this industry. But I knew that the $1.1 trillion worth of assets didn’t include little bits of paper.

So free beer, free food with the big cheeses and people from work. Of course I was only going for a beer to be sociable. But I fell into that work social trap. Drink more to loosen up, after all, these are the people you would never choose to go out with. Ah. No food left. Maybe I should have had lunch after all. Actually maybe dinner would help as well.

Eight pints and a beer time warp later, it was time to go. It could have been worse. As I asked for my last beer, the barman said “The bar bill is now five hundred and twenty pounds, I will have to close the tab soon”. And with that I left with a wry smile. Okay, only fifteen pounds of that may have been mine, but it was some payback for the hours I had put in. Well, that and the smile of knowing what some people would look like in the morning. And the “No, I didn’t say that to him!”

June 20, 2005

The week gone by......

Highlights

- Rushing for a train in London. My bag split open, forcing five cans of Stella Artois beer to fall onto the platform. I missed my train by two minutes as a result. I also looked like a mental, sweating and alcoholic. Nothing different there then.

- Forgetting that it can be hot in England. Sporting a large slap like red mark on my head where I had failed to apply the sun cream properly. In fact I look like Gorbachev.

- Trying to turn on my electric toothbrush and failing. Being woken up at 4am by my electric toothbrush vibrating on the floor.


For the first time, in a long time, I’ve not even had five minutes to find the ‘on’ switch on my computer, let alone write anything. For someone who would wash my clothes on the internet if I could, that’s a pretty big ordeal.

And all it goes back to Tuesday.

Well Monday.

Just as it seemed my working life could not get even busier, it did. Well, unintentionally. I’ve been given two new members of staff, finally they have realised that maybe I can’t do everything from a hotel room in Canada next month. With a name reflecting a star sign, I finally had the empty chair next to me. So as well as doing my job and a few others, I was now official new starter person. Fine in normal circumstances. A little bit harder with ‘I’m going to question everything you do’ new person. It went like this.

Me: “Well, the toilets are first left out the door, down the corridor, first right”
Her : “What (With the look as if I had just murdered her dog), no, no, go down the corridor first, then take the first left. Why you do that? (with a strong Asian tang)

Which is fine, it’s just when it runs into your personal life…………

Me: “Yes, I’m getting the train up to London tomorrow”
Her: “No, no, Why you do that? You get it cheaper”. With a look of complete bemusement and slight anger, she preceded to tell me that if I had organised my life that little bit better, I could have bought an advanced bus ticket for precisely £6.25 cheaper.

Not only had we employed someone to help with my workload, we had also got a timetable calculator, mother and personal life planner as well. It was only Monday, but felt like Friday.

After refraining from physical violence, I made it up to London on my stupidly arranged expensive rail ticket with the ringing of “No, No. No in my ears”. I sat there and imagined her with me “No, no, no, that part of the train has been scientifically proven to be most fatal in a crash. Why you do that?”. Thankfully the memory faded, well it had to, London at rush hour concentrates the mind. The more pressing issue of trying to walk without colliding with anyone whilst reading my half crumpled. Fully torn, been in back pocket tube map prevailed.

The reason for the two day absence from the office was not the ‘No, no, no’ lady, but more pleasant factors. I was seeing for the first time in a year two girls that I had met in New Zealand the previous year. The no worries time of my life. I know I had changed. But had they? Well of course. They weren’t wearing bikinis and I wasn’t wearing shorts. It was in London after all, slightly different from the sand dunes of the North Island.

Then came the challenge. Two days, two jet lagged girls, and another Canadian girl who had come down from the North of England. Show them London. Which in theory should have been easy. I had grown up near there, I spent a lot of time in London. But then I soon realised. The tourist bits and my bits are slightly different.

Wading through London on your own or with someone is easy. You go with the flow. If you get lost, you get lost. When there are four, well, it’s a little bit more difficult. My instinctive directional skills were lost, probably due to the fact that I was more worried about losing the other two than where I was going.

As it turned out, the other Canadian girl called Lia who had been to London earlier that year became the guide. I became the tourist. Being shown your own city by a foreigner was refreshing but slightly bewildering. Anyone would think I had the jet lag, not the girls.

Two days in a hotel room with three girls was surprisingly good, I did manage to get into the bathroom, I didn’t have to talk about makeup and they didn’t go bitching about blokes. But then again, that’s probably why I liked them in the first place, after all, I had kept in contact with these people for a reason.

Two days out of the office and back into the cauldron of work. More issues, more work, more complications, less time to my imminent three week trip to Canada. Whilst going into work at the weekend, it also happened to be the hottest one of the year so far. Getting up for work at 6am on a Saturday when nobody is making you just so you can work in silence is worrying. Nearly as worrying as the huge, sunburned head that I am sporting, the joys of living in the sun starved country otherwise known as England.

June 05, 2005

Worrying signs recently……………….

1) Listening to a song called Incomplete, really liking it, then finding out it was the Backstreet Boys.

2) Using my car horn on an old lady when she pulled out in front of me and scaring the shit of her. It takes a lot for me to use my horn, especially on poor old ladies.

3) Being chatted up by a middle aged woman whilst on the golf driving range. Not helping the situation when she asked me to help her with her game, to which I replied “I don’t think I can help you, have you seen my balls today, they are all over the place”. Still, this is one of a long lost of ‘older’ women that have tried it on in recent times.

4) Actually liking one of the new type Star War films.

5) Dreaming some really weird shit.

6) Sweating to new unprecedented levels. In the gym, of course.

7) Enjoying ironing. Unbelievable. Even more worryingly contemplating buying a new power iron for £230.

8) Reading a news article the day after looking for a new expensive iron telling me, blokes are looking for, new and expensive irons. http://www.guardian.co.uk/gender/story/0,11812,1498189,00.html

9) Actually planning a holiday properly and in detail. Like most things, I’ll do the complicated things well, but as I leave for Canada I’ll probably forget the most simple things, like my passport.

10) Going food shopping on a Sunday at 9am to beat the rush of people. Great in theory, but not only did I beat the rush of people, I also beat the people who work on the checkouts. They start at 10am apparently.

11) Finding that the most annoying advert featuring the most annoying ring tone EVER created called 'Crazy Frog', puts a ring tone at the top of the charts, beating 'Speed of Sound' by Coldplay.

June 01, 2005

Why does it always happen to me

Today....................

Location: At my desk

People : My manager, my team, a few visitors
Scenerio : Manager bends right over the table in front of us, reaching for a pen. At the same time someone shows me a new layout on thhe computer screen

Me : "Bloody Hell, I don't like the look of that!"

Manager : She turns around and looks at me

Everyone else : They turn round and look at me

What they thought I was referring to : Her bottom

What I wanted to say but knew they would'nt believe me : "I was talking about the screen!"

================================================================================== Location : Sports Centre

People : Me, thirty other people, instructor with microphone plugged into speakers.

Scenerio : As well as running, weights, press up's and alike there is skipping session. I have never, and will never do this, simply because of my incredibly poor coordination between my legs and my arms. Skippy I ain't.

Instructor Says : "Why aren't you skipping?"

Me (tongue firmly in cheek) : "I was bullied in the playground when I was younger when I tried to skip, I have never tried since

Instructor (in Loud speaker surround sound through her mic): "YOU WERE BULIED AT SCHOOL FOR SKIPPING?"

Everyone in the hall : Turns around and looks at me like someone with mental problems

==================================================================================
Location : Tesco Supermarket

People : Me and girl who work's in Supermarket

Scenerio : I've been in such a routine for the last year, I know exactly which food is in which isle. They recently had a change of isle location, obviously, fucking up my routine. So I can't find the fruit and veg. Where have they moved it to? I only came in for a bit of fruit.

Me : "Excuse me, can you tell me where you have moved your melons?"

Her : She gives me a double take.

Me : Maybe that did'nt sound right, I should have said "Where are the melons now please?"

Me : After observing her face I try and ease the situation...."Sorry, I'm going bananna's"

Her : "Ah, they are next to the oranges now"

Me : "Don't worry, thanks anyway"

Taxi to the express checkout please.







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