Monday, March 10, 2008


Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, told us to fold our index and middle fingers toward the palms of our left hands.
“Then place your right thumb under your left nostril to block it up,” she said.
“Do we fucking have to?” asked Mike. “I've got stuff to be getting on with.”
“Inhale with your right nostril and count to four,” she said. “Then gently pinch your right nostril with your left index finger and count to sixteen.”

We think Mike has given up wanking for lent. He's been skipping his usual 10:30 and 3:30 rest breaks for a month now and the tension is getting to all of us.
If it's true, I suggest everybody carries an umbrella on Easter Sunday - when it blows, that thing's going to go off big style. In the meantime his belligerence-o-meter is ratcheting unprecedented highs, so Stella is trying to keep us calm with desk yoga.
“Release your thumb and exhale through your left nostril. Gently does it, guys.”

Mike spent “all fucking weekend” on server moves for Fat Bastards' Pizza Shack, who are moving to new offices in Bamber Bridge. The work consisted of piling loads of IT equipment into a van, tying it down to stop it rolling about, dropping it off at the new place, returning to the old premises, then repeating over and over. Load it up, tie it down, drive, bring it off again, and so on, and so on, “ad fucking nauseum.”
Today he just wanted to chill but Stella made him do yoga instead.

“Now inhale through your left and count to ten,” said Stella. “Hold it, then breathe out through your right.”
“Sorry please,” asked Ivan the Terribly Thorough. “Again. Where should I be breathing?”
Ivan often sits in during our team meetings. This morning, I'd asked if he'd mind leaving his bucket of bleach outside the office as it was making me sneeze. He obviously didn't hear me because the bucket stayed put by the door until Creepy Keith from Accounts charged into the room and knocked it flying.

“I've had the worst weekend in the history of weekends,” Keith complained. Mike looked like he could swing for him.
“BFH,” said Stella. Everybody sneezed.
“Shut the fuck up, Keith," said Mike. "We're trying to do yoga here.” I handed out kitchen towels.
Stella, determined to see her lesson through to the end, gritted her teeth to centre herself, then explained how this exercise balances the brain’s serotonin, the chemical that regulates happiness.
Keith grumbled that he'd been on a disastrous date on Saturday and hadn't experienced happiness in donkey's years.
“I bet it wasn't much fun for the donkey either,” said Ivan. “I'm with Stella on this. Boo fucking hoo.”

At this point Keith pushed Ivan, who landed in Mike's lap, sending toast in many directions at once.
“Air is pushed to the bottom of the lungs,” shouted Stella, “releasing harmful toxins when you breathe out.”
Mike caught Keith with a left hook, splitting his bottom lip.
Keith yelped as blood spurted down his shirt, and was about to strike back when he slipped in the pool of bleach and hit the ground with a heavy thud. He sat there for a few moments, incandescent with rage while everybody either smirked or sneezed or both, before storming out of the room, hollering about his delicate skin and expensive suit, and how somebody was going to pay for this.
“Man up, why don't you?” Ivan called after him, and Stella said, “You will feel relaxed after this exercise, particularly in the shoulder area.”
All over the floor soggy pieces of bleached toast lay scattered, some splattered with blood. Mugs lay resting where they had fallen.
“You may even experience a heightened feeling of perception,” said Stella who, perceiving there to be no further business, called the meeting to a close.

This evening, after the going home bell had rung and everyone had scarpered, I discussed recent events with Stella while she prepared her next session.
“Mike got all that kit to Fat Bastards' new gaff then,” I said.
“If you feel people’s negativity clinging to you, simply wipe it away,” she replied.
“Seems odd to think about him actually doing some work for a change.”
“Use energetic sweeping motions with your hands as if dusting yourself down.”
She swung her arms in wide, wild circles.
“As you wipe, tell yourself: ‘I am removing all traces of...'” and her arms sped up, as if she was a helicopter about to take off.

This went on for two or three minutes. It was like she'd fallen into some eighties style yuppie witch doctor trance.
Oh crap, what if she's having a seizure?
I was about to call for help when she eventually slumped into her chair and was suddenly super calm, beatific.

“He made a bloody big fuss about it though, didn't he?” I said. “I mean, it was only a few trips in a van.”
“Too right, Tim,” she agreed, her voice softened now, completely relaxed. “My friend Becky is always asking me to tie her up and bring her off ,” she sighed, “and you never hear me complaining.”
“Didn't Ivan do a great job tidying up in here?” I said. “Just smell it! Mmm, now that's alpine fresh.”

Outside my window the car park was almost empty.
Rex the Security Guard was on his rounds, tending to some storm battered daffodils. Geraldine the Company X goat followed close behind, chewing on his extension lead.
I checked that Stella was going to be okay – Blackberry? Check. Bottle of Evian? Check – then made my excuses and headed for home.

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