Miserable weather. Magnificently matching my mood…cold and grey.
The gloom of January. The general post festive scenario following the joyous month of Christmas where thirsts were slaked in the name of capitalism. I felt I was ready for the onslaught where I manage to drink with everyone I love. It is my failing and my strength. Without my liver idiocy friendships would wane. Jen reckons I’m a mug, perhaps I am but I tell her;
“It’s not about me…. it’s about ‘them’….’the others’…”.
I’m all about the charity… and the laugh. So remember mates, If you didn’t see me during Christmas it’s because you couldn’t make it.. I’m was blameless. I was out there in the Guinness and Rouge. The magnitude of this selfless act resulted in three days of paranoia where I found myself believing I was being followed. I’m too old for it…It needs to be controlled…
…0757 hours…. The Freak Box…
The tube is unforgiving in cold weather. Brutal heat meets heavy coats creating a damp, pungency. We trundle along and I’m wearing a fleece and a gilet (body warmer to anyone brought up in the ’70’s)… I’m sweating like a pregnant nun but I’m maintaining a steady calm as ever…
Up trots a massive bloke to head towards a seat next to me. He’s a right old lump. A good two metres tall and in a polyester puffer jacket. He sits quicker than I anticipate and so my arm is crushed by his truly epic arse. We exchange a manly nod as neither of us want the other to think that this interaction may have been deliberate. He’s a big bloke and I feel myself crunching inwards like a page three girl showing off the goods…
A small girl with a nice smell to my left (almonds if you were wondering) who has sat next to me since the off alights. At the doors bustling on I see the troll from the toilets in Hogwarts. It’s heading my way. I have no wand.
He’s wearing the classic Clarkson costume of tweed jacket, open neck shirt, jeans and loafers. He’s not worried about the cold as he’s UKIP rich, proudly ‘British’ and into ‘Torque’, ‘fuel capacity’ and bitter in a jug… he’s a top level chinless, mouth breather and is probably only on public transport due to a night on the Bolly at a fundraiser for the ‘little people’…
He hits the seat in a “Boom!!” kind of way at which point I realise I’m trapped between a puffer jacket and heavy, itchy tweed when I’m kitted out for a nuclear winter. This could be bad…his arm is touching mine, it’s hotter than the sun and I have 25 minutes of this to endure. It must look hilarious from the opposite seats. I must look like the ‘fresh meat’ in the Wormwood Scrubs Shower block, all small and scared being escorted by monsters to a crippling fate before being hurled in the corner like a discarded pair of pants. I accept my fate…death by hot arm and leg.
I reach my stop and I’m able to squeeze out from between these two behemoths like an over large baby bursting out of a damp tweed and polyester womb… I feel dirty. I wind my way up to the street where en route I see two women have a verbal fight on an escalator. A good Samaritan intervenes and becomes the focus of both women’s hate. Mug. Let them fight, we all want to see it…blood, snot, teeth, hair, bloodied lips… he deserves the hate.
I reach the lobby of the station and walk past the in-house dry cleaners with the sign that says ‘Shirt service’ where some wag has removed the ‘r’ in ‘shirt’… always makes me smile.
Outside is the soft shoed God Squaddette. She’s from the same tribe troupe as the one at my home station and is holding a paper with the headline ‘Is Satan Real?’…Hmmm…. it’s a tough one. I take the paper and head to the office where I’ll add it to the pile of similar periodicals rotting under my desk.
I take the lift up the tower block to my floor. At the entrance to the office I pause… I always pause as I can’t believe I have to walk in again. As life requires money I open the door and head to my desk.
I work in a specialist environment. I’m not going to be specific as that would be unprofessional. I was called unprofessional once by the worlds most stupid employee. I was so angry at the accusation that I just went home on the spot. If I didn’t leave at that moment I may have been sacked as I was a second away from dropping the C Bomb. I’ve been angry a lot in my life but that was the apex of rage.. …Anyway I digress.
The staff where I work as almost exclusively split down the middle in ability and likability.
On one side you have the workers. Solid, dependable, funny and a joy to work with. On the other you have the management who appear to be there as part of some kind of ‘woke up in an office’ experiment. They tend to be the old guard and the type of people who get to this level through time rather than capability. They talk with a certainty of stupidity.
We’ve all had bosses like them. The bosses that listen to your ideas, think about what you’ve said and then come up with your idea as if it’s their own. They are the type of people that, when corrected on an issue say ‘That’s what I meant’ or even better ‘That’s what I said’ which are the ultimate, cornered, out of your depth bluffs. Of course it never used to be like this.
When I started here there were proper leaders, people you would aspire to be and follow to the end. Now I look at the management with a level of contempt which screams P45. They don’t lead and they don’t manage. They merely exist in a world of paralysing, decision making fear.
There are only two ways to do things, The right way and the wrong way. If you make the wrong decision you simply change that decision to make it right… it’s easy. Modern management won’t make the decision in the first place. They hesitate and delay in the hope that the problem will go away rather than address it head on. My work heroes have always acted swiftly and correctly. They also knew more than I did. You can’t lead, in my view, if you are lacking wisdom. Too many bosses in my place ‘wing it’ which is always a recipe for disaster in the long term.
Modern management is hopeless, a lost cause, broken and the main reason why I need to go as I feel that I’d like to be inspired by someone rather being left constantly disappointed.
The other factor that I have noticed in very poor management is Coffee. For some reason the general, useless manager seems to feel the need to leave the building on a regular basis to ingest large amounts of overpriced coffee in a cup with their name on, in order to not make a decision. It is the fuel of the bullshitter.
I do my bit, I humour the useless, do the requisite hourage and leave. I head to the station and the joy of the journey back to my lovely tribe.
The journey home is always a pleasure. The train is generally quiet and I usually choose to stand as I’ve been sitting all day at a desk. I’m standing in the middle section by the doors when a man in his fifties gets on. He looks tired. He’s wearing clothes which are too young for him… clearly he’s a morning Vampire with no mirrors in his house. Tatty edged hems, skater shoes, some form of military jacket, a Watford scarf and the crowning turd in the waterpipe, a Marvel superheroes messenger bag which is very low slung… Is he cool? is he?….IS HE?? No…. no he’s not…
I close my eyes and hang on to the upright rail. After about 5 minutes I notice my gripping hand and more specifically my knuckles appear to be in contact with some flesh. No one likes to touch a stranger on a train for fear of a Frottage arrest so I slightly panic. I open my eyes and a young girl (19 or 20) is standing quite close to me, leaning up against the hand rail I’m gripping. Her bare midriff is pushed against my gripping fist…This is awkward.
I close my eyes in ostrich fashion while I come up with a plan. What do you do? open your hand and poke her in the stomach? move your hand up or down? not advisable. I figure that the stomach is the lesser of three evils so I leave it there momentarily while I deal with the image in my head of the interview with British Transport Police and the subsequent disciplinary proceedings.
I need to do something sharpish before my hand is there too long for it to be an accident. I know, I’ll roll my knuckles as if I’m steadying my grip. She jumps back like a startled squirrel. I open my eyes in fake shock and she looks at me apologetically. We are both relieved…
A close shave which means tomorrow I will once more stand at the door to the office taking a deep breath having avoided getting, ‘Arrestified’, ‘Handcuffdicated’ and chucked in the dingly for the mattress treatment.
…Maybe I need a Coffee….hmmm…. I can’t decide….