Monday, 16 June 2008

Poker Face

Yesterday I received a letter from New Guy.

Last week I had a bad case of a cold. The type that hits you gradually. It starts with feeling cold. The type of cold where you have to continuously rub you hands together and curl up in a tight ball to stay warm. You feel like you have a razor blade lodged in your throat. You can't focus on anything. Even the simple task of going to the bathroom seems like an impossible mission. You're head feels sore and heavy...

Obviously I couldn't drive to work like that. I'd be a hazard. So I took time off.

When I arrived on Monday morning New Guy happily handed me an official letter. Disciplinary Action in accordance with Statutory Disciplinary Procedures...

I choked.

I had to read it again. I apparently failed to provide a "reasonable explanation for my absence". Now I'm no expert on the matter, but I'm pretty sure that having a cold is a fucking reasonable explanation for absence.

I went for a walk to clear my head. And to calm down. I didn't want to get arrested for assault.

I pulled out my phone and text Gay Boss. (I should really change his name but I can't be bothered)

He called me.



He paused.

"So... um... how's it going?"


Gay Boss paused. A wave of hysteria took over and I started laughing. I laughed until I cried.

I hadn't spoken to Gay Boss since he left. I missed him terribly. His dry remarks always used to crack me up. He could make me laugh in almost any situation.

"I've got a disciplinary"

"Oh its your turn now."


"A Pleasure."

I loved the way it sounded so casual. Suddenly the situation didn't seem so bad. We spoke for almost an hour. I told him that New Guy is a sexist prick. He told me that he's been to China.

Of course, the conversation quickly turned back to my Disciplinary. Gay Boss is well aware, from experience, of the steps that will follow. I'm about to be managed out.

"You know, its only when you step back and leave that you realise how fucked up that company really is."

"I can see how fucked up it is. God, I need a holiday."

"Well its been a few months and I still haven't recovered. I'm nearly normal but not quite there yet."

It's my turn now. I have a target circle tattooed on me.

I'm not worried about the Disciplinary Action. I haven't done anything wrong. It's the drama that will follow the meeting that concerns me. I've seen how the game is played here. Lucky for me I think I've been dealt a good hand.

Now all I need to do is put on my Poker Face.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

"Oh, and she showed me her boobs..."

Yesterday was beautiful day. A complete contrast to Tuesday.

Stoner and I had Lunch outside on a park bench.

"Oh I found a replacement."

"For who?"

"For you. Someone else I'd rather have lunch with."

Stoner was only teasing but I couldn't help feeling jealous.

"Yeah? Who is she?"

"She petite, like you. Dark hair, like you. Beautiful eyes, like you. Oh, and she showed me her boobs."

Stoner casually took a bite into his sandwich. I looked at him and rolled my eyes.

"Were you dreaming?" I asked sweetly. Stoner laughed and told me the story.

On Tuesday Stoner went to Costa for lunch. He managed to find himself a corner table. As he sat down a sweet voice caused him to look up.

"Can I join you? The tables are full."

Stoner nodded and she sat down. She ripped open two packets of brown sugar and stirred them into her latte. Stoner couldn't help noticing how soft her hands looked. He cleared his throat and tried to think of something to say.

"So.. um.. you work around here?"

The girl smiled and nodded. She pointed at the bank across the road.

"First day."

"And how are you finding it?"


"How come?"

"No cute guys."

Stoner laughed. He couldn't resist the urge to flirt.

"Oh! Now I see why you came and sat with me."

She laughed and flicked her hair over her shoulder.

"What makes you think that I think your cute?"

"I didn't say that. But now that you mention it..."

The conversation went on. Each person playfully teasing the other. They were comfortable with each other. She was easy to talk to. Easy to laugh with.

"You think my boobs are too big?"

It came out of nowhere. Stoner tried hard not to look. But she invited him to look didn't she?

Her coat was slightly open. The top few buttons on her black shirt were undone. He could see her cleavage. She leaned over. Shit! What was he supposed to do? She was showing him! Would it be rude to look? Would it be rude not to look?

He looked. He couldn't help it. He has no idea why guys love boobs so much but they do. When a pretty young woman decides to lean over and reveal all its a guys duty to look.

He looked back up at her. She smiled and pulled her coat shut.

"It was nice having lunch with you. Maybe another time?"

"Um... yeah."

"See you around."

She picked up her bag and walked out.

"So are you going to see her again?"

"I have no idea. I don't even know her name."

"Wow what a skank."

Stoner smiled.

"Yeah. So I'm replacing you."

"You can't replace me with a nameless ho."

"Look Elise, you have to step up in the game. Make it worth my while."

He looked at my chest pointedly and winked. I kicked him under the table.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Sticky Pink Stuff and Squelching Shoes

My car broke down this morning.

I'm not a snob. I take public transport all the time. I would be lost without the tubes and buses. How would I get to clubs and bars without them?

However, it's been years since I took public transport during rush hour. Buses and trains crowded with swearing school children. Swarms of people walking at 80 miles an hour with the Metro Newspaper folded under one arm and a Costa Coffee cup in their other hand.

British people are so miserable!

Nobody smiles at anyone. They keep they're eyes averted and stare into space until they reach their stop. Nobody talks to anyone. Apart from the occasional pissed off "tut" nobody utters a word.

It brings back memories. I remember now why I was thrilled when I passed my driving test and bought myself a car. I remember why I'd rather pay the Congestion Charge and drive to work, even if it means that I have to sit in traffic for an extra half an hour.

When I finally arrived at my stop I walked out into a puddle. Stupid, uneven pavement! My stylish compact umbrella was no match for the heavy rain. How the hell could somebody design an umbrella that doesn't shield you from the rain?! Isn't that the whole point?

By the time I arrived to work I was miserable, snappy and drenched from head to toe.

As I squelched up the stairs to my office I preparing myself for a bad day my phone began ringing. Aimee??


"Hi Elise."

"Um... how are you?"

"Good. You?"

"Yeah I'm great."

I stood outside my office door digging into my bag for my key. Shit, where did I put it? Eww whats that sticky stuff? Oh shit! My lipstick. Where's the lid?

I tried hard to concentrate on what she was saying.

"Uh huh.... uh huh...."

"... so I was thinking maybe Earls Court? There's this restaurant that I love. Seven o'clock Friday okay?"

"Uh huh... Great."

Wait. What?

"You'll love him! Honestly he's dying to meet you guys. I'll speak to you soon and tell you everything okay?"

Wait. What? Yuck! There's all pink stuff on my keys.

"Love you lots Elise. Bye honey!"

Okay. I think, I'm not entirely sure, but I think that I've agreed to dinner with Aimee and whoever "he" may be.

Solicitor is going to kill me! The last time we saw Aimee he specifically told her (and me) that she shouldn't contact either of us and that he wanted her completely out of our lives.

It's not a problem I'll just call her back and...

Oh Shit! Phone.

"Hey babe. You okay?"

"Did you speak to Aimee?"

"Yeah she just called. Something about Earls Court."

"Elise, we are not meeting up with her."

"Yeah I know I was just going to cancel.."

"So tell me, how long have you and my ex wife been talking?"

"We're not... I haven't.."

"Fuck it. We'll talk about this later."

Solicitor can be such an idiot sometimes. I actually felt like I did something wrong. She called me! I didn't call her. I didn't even know what I agreed to.

If the stupid keys weren't at the bottom of my bag... You know something, I knew I shouldn't have taken the lipstick with me... Blood wet shoes... Stupid train...It's the stupid cars fault. It had to break down didn't it....

Okay. It's okay. It's not that bad. There are starving people in the world.

Oh great. My printer's not working.