Monday, 22 December 2008

Secret Santa

It's funny these people you work with, you spend 8 hours (or more in some cases) a day with them and in most cases you don't know them as well as you should, in some cases you know them as much as you have to, and in some cases you know them a little too well. In spite of this they can still surprise you with something as simple as Secret Santa.

You can picture the scene; we were all crowded round one pod of desks with presents being tossed to their recipients, paper flying. There is the usual banter with one or two present causing amusement, and yes one person has made that trip to the novelty aisle in Anne Summers. We have swearing books, Simpson slippers and mini condoms, all being enjoyed (or hidden) by their grateful new owners; and then there's mine. A present not only on the mark, but scarily close to something I actually would have bought myself - a book. Not just any book, a book about creative writing!

Now being the introverted, antisocial person that I am, I am fairly sure that I have never mentioned that fact that I like to write things to anyone. I don't think I have ever talked about my blog, or about my poems or anything, this is just not a side to me I share at work. My colleagues only get part of me, they don't get my personal life, or my love life and they certainly don't get details of my hobbies and aspirations. So how did they know?

I'm telling you, it's killing me! I am utterly baffled that this person should know me so well, who are they? How did they figure it out? I can only assume that alcohol was involved somewhere as that is the only way they could have got through the chinks in my armour. Hmmm, don't worry. I have a lead! I was told this morning that the receptionist had already let someone use her wrapping paper, and my present came wrapped in that paper! Hecule Poirot eat your heart out! all I have to do is ask her tomorrow who borrowed the paper! Elementary my dear Watson! Yikes, now I'm mixing Sleuths, but you get the point.

So I guess my point is that you should never underestimate people, they may know you better than you think. A lesson learnt here today it seems - and to think I even moaned about organising the damn thing!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

London Pace - Cont

I was having a conversation with my mother (yes her again) and she brought a few things to my attention with regards to the so called London Pace. First off, if London has a Pace, then Suburbia has a Saunter. By this I mean, the leisurely walk that people adopt when the hit cow country. The walk that says 'I have all the time in the world' the sort of walk that people adopt when they want people to know that if they wanted to they could stop and chat, if they wanted to. They could pop in for a coffee, they are in no rush to cross the road, there's no hurry, they have all the time in the world.

The London Pace is more of a half-skip-half-jog across the road and coffee to go sort of speed. It's most evident when I watch people in the morning, the commuters will rush to their car, open the door, throw their bag/purse into the passenger set, chip a small hole in which to see through and speed off with tyre squealing and a cloud of dust.

The Suburban Saunterer will exit the house, and ever so coolly meander up the drive to the car. They may examine the car, check for scratches, maybe rub off a smudge, they may even walk round to the passenger side in order to gently place their things onto the passenger seat. Then upon entering their car, which is preheated having been idling for five minutes, they will check all mirrors are just right before gently rolling out of the drive. The entire process is like a gigantic up yours to the people who have places to be, every movement is specially choreographed to say 'Hey, I'm in no hurry', and especially if they happen to be in the way of those who do have train to catch etc.

That's when they really come into their own, that person at the junction, waiting to pull into traffic, while you silently seething. YOU COULD HAVE FIT PARLIAMENT IN THAT GAP IT WAS SO BIG, but no, they are going to wait, wasn't quite big enough for them to get out, wouldn't' want to hold up traffic would we? No, we'll just create a queue of angry drivers all questioning how an idiot like yourself could have passed the driving test when you can't even get into traffic.

The second thing she mentioned was escalators, If you work in London you know what I am thinking; stand on the right, walk on the left - ignore this at your own peril! I Suburbia, people stand all over the place! They'll walk, lean, stand, wherever they damn well choose! So if you are in a hurry you can't walk up them without attempting an elaborate obstacle course! You see no one is in a hurry, they stand, and let the escalators transport them, and even they are slower! I'm sure of it! The escalators in my local shopping centres move at a glacial pace! So SLOW!!! Compared to the escalators in the tube station which are conveyor belts of doom, shipping you off at the end at such a speed that if you are not paying attention you could end up head first into the wall!

You see, It's not me! IT'S NOT ME! I'm telling you, it's a conspiracy, the world actually revolves slower outside of the city.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Fridge

My Dad, the Messiah of the Easy Life, was faced with the decision about our new fridge. Our current fridge has broken but luckily it was still under warranty, they have provided us with a voucher to buy a new one.

The model we currently have is no longer produced.

Options are explained to him:

A) Get new fridge, it will not match the freezer.
B) Get new fridge and freezer, at an extra cost of £100, with the additional option of selling our current freezer.

His response:

Well, why can't we just get the same fridge?

Options are explained to him, again

I just don't understand this - followed by a huge sigh and eye rolling.

What is there not to understand? The thing is 5 years old, I don't have socks that old, let alone technology.

I'm going to call them.

I don't understand what good that will do but if you must.

An hour later, in outraged tone - They don't make the model anymore!

I'm fairly sure we already told you that. Did you think we were lying? An underhand scheme to obtain fridge domination, perhaps?

I can't believe they have stopped making that model!

Believe it. It's true. Move on.

So what do we do now?!

Options are explained to him again.

They told me before we could get the same model!

I'm sure they did and it had nothing to do with you misunderstanding. Move on.

What do you think we should do?

We have it narrowed down to two options. Options are explained to him again.

I can't believe we can't get the same fridge!

Your right, clearly this is some sort of fridge conspiracy.

So we have to get a different fridge?

That's right, we're making progress. Options are explained to him again.

Large Sigh, long suffering shrug and eye rolling. Shuffles out of room.


4 Hours later - Just do what you think is best.

Not quite a decision but at least he was involved in the decision making process. A process that he managed to slow down by an entire week.

FYI Fridge still leaking...

London Pace

It's a little know fact that in London there is actually only 45 seconds per minute, this basically means that in London we have to get done in 45 minutes what in other parts of the country would be done in an hour. This results in what I have come to call the London Pace. This is most obvious to tourists and all non-londonised people, it occurs mostly in highly populated areas where they will struggle to keep up. You see, in London travelling, talking and tempers are faster. As a result of this we often see tiny Japanese tourist being swept along by the sea of very busy people, all you can make out is a yellow, plastic covered arm bobbing along and a piping voice struggling to be heard "British Museum?!" Or if they have come over in a pack there will be a group of yellow covered, waterproof tourists gabbling away with upside maps, and the angry Londoners will be swarming round them casting dirty looks in anger at the precious second they have lost having to go around the group. Surely they should apply some common sense? If you were in a Spanish street and you know the bulls were coming you wouldn't stand in the middle clucking away, trying to figure out where you were going. If you did you would probably get run over! Why they don't apply the same logic here? They stop in the middle of the pavement, blocking the whole thing, forcing those of us who know where we are going to go round them!

We are a city of Tesco Express, and self service tills. Even the till operators will huff at you if you take too long to pay; Time is Money lady, they are silently thinking at you, get a move on I have a queue round the shop! We do it as well, when you are next in line and you see that old dear counting out the right change, or that woman who has the ridiculously small purse so they can only get out one coin at a time, and we rage. I will stand there, even if I have loads of time, thinking for f**ks sake! We have a PrĂȘt on every corner because we don't want to walk that extra 100m!

We are a city of Now. Your hungry, your want a sandwich now. Not in ten minutes because the shop is all the way down the road, oh no the shop is there, you go in you get your sandwich, you pay quickly and efficiently and then your out. No browsing, no lets see, what shall I have. In, Out, Done. Your Boss wants a spreadsheet populated with data, when does he want it? Now. Not time for, oh I'll just make a coffee first, no way! Now. This email need to go out Today. Theses invoices have to be approved by this afternoon. That purchase order needs verifying in an hour. This decision needs to be made now. Now, Now, Now, Now, Now, Now!! As a result when you allow yourself ten minutes to get from A to B and a lost American Family hinder that by walking out in front of you, then stopping, we snap.

Firstly, I nearly tripped over your poorly disciplined son as he ran away from you. Secondly you and your wife do not need to spin around looking for street names nearly knocking people flying with your map holding elbows. And finally on what planet did you decide that walking backwards on a busy London Street was a good idea! So we do what any British person would do, we tut, roll our eyes and sneer at the offending person.

The funny part is us commuters are stuck between worlds, and only another commuter will understand. We work in London, so we work to the London Pace, but we don't live there. So when we come home we try to continue our London Pace. We'll be there speeding along the road, silently cursing the slow cars who get in our way, we dodge and weave through crowd when we walk places and for what? We get there bang on time or worse, early and have to wait. People look at us as if to say what's the hurry? I was talking to someone last night, and I presented an idea to them. ‘Ok great, we'll discuss it later, we have plenty of time.’ Noooooo! I wanted to scream! Why can't you make the decision now, then I could action my plan and mentally tick it off. I want to stamp a big ol' DONE across it in my mental To Do list. In suburb-land you can ask people question and it can take up to 5 minutes to get an answer. It’s like they have taken lessons from the Ents in the Lord of the Rings films. “Anything worth saying is worth taking a long time to say it.” I’m like, yes, but if it was worthwhile to say it and you said it fast you could say something else worthwhile and then you would be doubly productive in your worthwhile sayings! Cue blank faces and amused expressions. Sigh.

They never understand. Maybe one day when I have slowed down I can hire myself out as an interpreter between the two worlds. Bridge the gap between the London pace and everyone else. Till then I will just have to learn to take a big breath and be patient, it can’t be that hard.

Yeah, Right.