Today was a slightly odd day at work. For one thing it turned into Banana Day. This is because last Thursday, as I went through reception, Tigger handed me a bag of fruit. Yum, yum, I like fruit. Maybe I should have been a monkey rather than a tiger? There were apples, a pear and a bunch of bananas.
When you do a job as boring as the one I am doing at the moment, you will do almost anything to ward off the boredom, just for a moment. There is the tea machine, continually winking at you, the toilet at the top of a flight of leg-stretching stairs, a moment or two of conversation with one’s colleagues… and fruit.
First, get a cup of tea from the machine and drink it. You now have an empty throwaway cup. This is suitable for storing banana skins in until your next trip to the tea machine when cup and banana skin can be dropped in the bin next to it. The method works just as well for pear and apple cores but I expect you already guessed that.
When I came home for the weekend – oh, the glorious weekend when no boring work takes place! – I brought the fruit with me. Naturally. Much as I like mice, I didn’t want the company mouse nibbling my fruit during the weekend. Because we were out and about on Saturday and Sunday, the bag of fruit languished unattended and when I looked at them this morning, while the pear and the apples were still crisp and shiny, the bananas were looking rather speckled.
I don’t know about you but I like my bananas fresh. I prefer them almost green rather than mushy and brown. They obviously had to be eaten up and quickly. Thus Tuesday became Banana Day when I ate a banana every hour, on the hour.
Mercenaries were rather thin on the ground today. I was the first to arrive and was on my own for a while. One of the lads appeared and, in the afternoon, a second one. That was all. Even they knocked off at 4:30 leaving me as the sole representative.
It was this moment that one of the full-time members of staff chose to pay me a back-handed compliment. I don’t remember what she said exactly but it was along the lines of “These youngsters can’t stand the pace. It’s our age group that has the stamina.” That labels me, then. I now belong to an “age group”, apparently. Maybe I had better start queueing for my hip replacement straightaway, you know, to save time later. And perhaps Loot has a special section for second-hand Zimmer frames.
Because of a little problem with my pay, Payroll said I had to phone the tax office. I have been trying for two days. The lines are jammed. The clue is the voice that says “If you are calling about a Penalty Notice, press 1”. So that’s it, then: You lazy so-and-so’s kept putting off doing your tax returns and on receiving a Penalty Notice, you’ve gone into panic mode, causing the rest of us to spend money queueing. Tut, tut.
I finally got through this evening. They work late, those poor tax advisers, don’t they? And the sweet lilting Welsh voice informed me I didn’t need the tax office at all but the National Insurance Office. “But they’ll be closed now,” she added wistfully.
That’ll be a job for tomorrow, then. I just hope you penalty-notice laggards haven’t screwed up your NIC as well, forcing me to queue yet again.