Thursday, March 31, 2005

Suspicious Minds 

This afternoon I met up with Diana, Head of Marketing for coffee and conspirational.
We were trying to decide if there was anything to be read into Bill Surname’s latest lunatic missive.
His messages have always been splendidly out of touch - “Shoe inspection on the parade ground at twelve hundred hours” - that sort of thing, but there was something different about this one.
There was none of his usual “Chin up, Soldier” bravado. It had a whiff of defeat about it, of white flags being raised.
Earlier, Diana had been cornered by creepy Keith from accounts, not someone you’d normally consider especially perceptive. Pot? Kettle? Black? He says some of our bigger customers aren’t signing new support contracts, they’re taking their business elsewhere. It’s like they’re acting in unison. Something is up, and yesterday’s email did nothing to dispel that.

Outside the window we watched Neil, my former team leader, dead-heading daffodils while blue tits pecked at his nuts. Two plastic bags danced in the sunshine. The distant sound of salesmen fighting in the car park played on the breeze.

“So what does Keith think?”
“He thinks we’re all fucked.”
“Do you believe him?”
“Not for a nano-second. The man’s as jumpy as a hairdresser on a trampoline.”
I thought about scissors and shuddered.

“So I’m meeting up with Mike and Sue Cosgrove later,” she said. “They’ll know. And they owe me one.”
“The directors?” I laughed. “You’re having a meeting with Herr und Frau Whiplash? The oldest swingers in Whittle-le-Woods?
“Yes I am.”
“Do you know what you’re letting yourself in for?” I asked, realising she was serious.
“Dinner at eight.”
We sat there in silence, looking out at the cherry tree coming into bud. It looks so beautiful at this time of year. Neil ran around it a few times, like he was being chased by the rabbits in his head.

Back in the office Mike and Terry were eating crisps and looking at job websites, Ash and Zippee were building an email server, and Stella was murmuring vague obscenities into her headset and flicking through a copy of Cosmopolitan.

I thought about my friend Diana having dinner with those lecherous old pillocks - they owe you one what? And how come? What have you been doing? I don’t want you to go - then had to stop myself because it didn’t bare thinking about.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

99 Red Balloons 

Veteran readers of this blog will recall with great fondness how I spent last summer digging holes in the garden.
This year I have a new hobby which I’m calling “sitting in the mud pulling up weeds.” If you’d like to join along with me at home, you simply need to find a muddy space and spend a few hours digging up the wrong things. I think it could be something nice we could enjoy together.
To get the ball rolling: I forgot what Girlfriend’s forget-me-nots looked like, and paid a bitter price. Now it’s your turn.

Also, and rather excitingly, after months of searching I’ve finally discovered somewhere local where you can help yourself to free horse manure. There are loads of stables not that far from us, yet somehow horse manure is as scarce as werewolf shit. My poor little Toyota Nosebleed won’t know what’s hit it in the coming weeks.

In other non-mudsitting news, I’ve made tentative arrangements to fly someone special up to the middle of Lake Windermere and back in the summer, in a plane not much bigger than a fridge, but sssh please, it’s meant to be a surprise.

And me, Girlfriend and luscious Leanne - Bolton’s premiere former trapeze artist, tiger tamer and Nena fan, lest you forget - made an important scientific discovery. Namely, that if you drink Corona lager - no, not the pop that comes from the Corona man, you twerp - and Tequila from afternoon through to the early hours on the night the clocks go forward, you don’t get a hangover.
“Incredible!” as they say in Mexico.

This morning we found this in our inboxes from Bill Surname, Chief Executive Officer:
“Welcome back.
We should be treating this as an exciting and positive time. I know this news may be a cause of considerable concern among many of you, but this is only normal at this juncture.
Do not allow yourself to be overly preoccupied with thoughts of negativity or continue to deliver the high quality service our customers expect.”

Nobody has got a clue what he’s on about.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sunshine Superman 

The post-coital glow radiating from Terry and Tabs is strong enough to make the colours on your monitor go wonky, and if you were thinking of printing a document and wanted something other than hieroglyphics, then you’ll need to ask them to leave the building first otherwise you can forget it Sunshine.

They are sickeningly happy. I’ve never seen a man so transformed as a result of regular shagging. Where previously he’d spend all his spare time in a darkened room with only a Java++ manual and a pile of half empty pizza boxes for company, he’s suddenly become Mr. Healthily Well Rounded.

Now he accompanies Tabs to the gym after work, and I even overheard him booking tickets to the theatre this morning. Not very Terry at all.
I instant messaged him saying “WTF?” but he just smiled at me like he was starring in a toothpaste commercial and my name was Halitosis.
I don’t doubt him for a moment when he says he enjoys his five daily portions, and he seems to be eating much better now as well.

Wasn’t it a beautiful weekend? On Sunday, me and Girlfriend walked amid limestone.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Rattle And Hum 

Drop your trousers for a moment and tell me about your knees.
Or if you’re wearing a skirt, just hitch it up for a second.
Oh come on, don’t be such a prude. It’s not as if anybody will be watching. Obviously, I’ll be watching, through my magical web cam that allows me to look at all of my readers, but nobody else will see you.
Trust me. Honestly, you can be so up yourself sometimes.

My knees are developing strange little muscles on them, the only noticeable change to my otherwise droopy physique after squillions more hours panting frighteningly on the exercise bike. I’m sure they weren’t there before.
I was just wondering. Jesus, I’m sorry I asked.

Stella sent me to another major European capital this week. Oh alright then, it was London.
The job was pretty straightforward - although I’m not telling her that - and I finished in time to knock off early and buy an All Day Pissabout ticket for the Tube.
I spent a happy hour or so stocking up on bondage gear in Camden, then went to Badger Mansions for tea. We drank wine, ate alarmingly pungent cheese and talked about, you know, just stuff. It was really great.

Then Lisa Badger and TA escorted me back to the nearest Underground inlet and despatched me on my way.
I felt oddly proud of myself for negotiating tubes and buses in London at night without coming to Great Harm, such as haplessly becoming a prostitute, which I believe can happen all too easily to vulnerable lost souls like myself in the big city.

Back at the hotel I watched something startling on a TV channel I don’t think we get at home, then fell into a stuffy restless sleep.
The tinny rattle of aeroplanes and the low somnambulant hum of night porters wafted in through the air conditioning while I dreamed longingly of Girlfriend and exotic cheeses.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Pretty Good Year 

Email from Girlfriend:
10/03/2005 16:03

I can't see - I have got blurry eye.

But on the up side - everyone has now paid & the money is in the bank.

Reply to Girlfriend:
10/03/2005 16:11

Oh dear. Is it better yet? I'd say take the rest of the day off but its a
bit late for that now. Take tomorrow off instead.

I've had one of my all day headaches.
I just went out to buy sugar produce. Smarties - which I've shared out so
there's not actually many left, with a letter k on the lid - and fruit gums
by accident. I meant to buy fruit pastilles. I'm keeping them for myself.

Blimey. What good payer uppers.

Who’d have thought it? Not me. I’m still at it.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Back In Black 

He was remarkably nimble for a man with such large hands. He could reach an octave and two on his organ, and even let Stella have a play on it too, apparently.

The eighties-style yuppie witch is back from her travels, day-glo orange and all dressed in black, like a genetically messed up Jaffa Cake going to a funeral.

I thought she was going to have a dig at me for calling out for assistance - ie. bringing in Ash, Zippee and the third guy who’s been amalgamised - rather than managing with the given resources.
In return, I would then have to tell her what I thought of her organisational skills and get all huffy about the pile of crap she’d dumped on me, with all the attendant risks of sounding like a whinging unable-to-cope bloke.

Instead, her eyes lit up like Bunsen burners on the night the school science lab burned down - which had absolutely nothing to do with me, if you were wondering. For months she’d been trying to expand her empire, and I’d managed to pull it off in a week.

“Possession is nine tenths of the law,” she sang, breaking into a little witchy dance. “This is fantastic, Tim. Nicely done.”

The staff were loaned to me in good faith by Neil, who in spite of - or should that be because of ? - being insane, I retain a certain respect and fondness for. Now Ms. Jaffa Cake is going to try to go back on my word.

I’m not going to even mention the drink problem. I’m playing it cool on that one.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sugar High 

I forgot it was Mike’s birthday and that he was bringing in cakes as well.
There were cakes everywhere.

It induced a sugar high scootiness among the team, and we got loads of work done this morning.
This late flurry of activity means that I’ll just have some loose ends to tie up on Monday, and that’s my little project done and dusted and almost on schedule. Wer-hoo.

We all spent the afternoon rolling on the floor, making groaning noises and clutching our stomachs in pain.
Eating all those bloody cakes probably didn’t help, either.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I'm Growing Older, I'm Bored. I Remember When Misery Thrilled Me Much More 

“She doesn’t dust. She only half dusts.”

That’s Thora Hird, in one those Alan Bennett Talking Head monologues. It might as well have been Zippee, who fetches out his own cloth and can of Mr. Muscle after the grumpy cleaner has been round, and does the job properly himself. No soapy residue when he’s finished, and he doesn’t mind who knows it.

I’ve been a bit grumpy myself. The project’s not going to be finished by the end of the week like I‘d hoped, and I do and don’t care.
Modom will be back on Monday. I’ll get the cakes in tomorrow for my team, thank them for their efforts, sign off on a good note. They’ve been really good actually, even Mike and Terry who could have been uppity and awkward but weren’t, which I appreciate.

Maybe it’s a different Tim.

“Different Tim? Drink problem???”

Or perhaps it says Tina. Stella’s a girl - she’s bound to know a Tina with a drink problem.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Forest 

Ash caused something of a stir this morning amongst the gentleman administrators by suggesting our company starts having duvet days.

“You know - if you can’t be bothered to come into work, you’re allowed to phone in to say you’re stopping in bed. They were going to be the next big thing.”

The gentleman administrators let out a collective sigh, and shuffled in their seats to adjust their own next big things. She’s rather foxy.

Meanwhile, Zippee’s obsessive desk tidying - how can a scruffy skateboard punk rocker be so immaculately tidy? - has shamed me into tidying up my area a bit.
Lost in a forest of paperwork and other assorted crap that Stella cascaded down to me, I found a crumpled post it note, with her handwriting on it:

“Tim? Drink problem???”

I’m intrigued. I might be a pompous vegetarian prick, but I’m not aware of having a drink problem. Does she mean me?

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