Talking of Room 3B (The IT Office): long-term readers (who remember the air-conditioning fight) might be wondering what Big Dave has been up to for the past few months, since he left, and what he’s been up to.
Well, the answer is, I don’t really know. He’s popped into the office, once or twice, since then. He’s kept in touch with a few people round the building. But I don’t really know what he’s been up to. The only news I have is: Big Dave’s broken his jaw. How he broke his jaw is a mystery. It’s very possible that he doesn’t know himself, of course. So, unfortunately, no tales of entertaining-but-horrific fights outside bars. No tales of unlikely-but-possible accidents involving server racks or poorly-secured hard disks. You’ll just have to use your imagination.
A quiet afternoon at the office yesterday. Everyone sitting around waiting for the bank holiday weekend to start. And then, the bell rings.
It’s Big Dave.
He wandered round the office, saying hello to everyone, complaining about how noone would let him get away, looking slightly dazed as everyone stopped work and gathered around him.
He was only visiting, which sadly means I still won’t be able to fill this blog up with vicarious stories about the women he’s slept with and the men he’s beaten up. In fact, he didn’t seem to have many things to tell us at all, aside from: his new job is great, he gets on with everyone, and he’s really enjoyed the past three months since he left. It was strange to see him back here, especially next too Wee Dave. In many ways, Wee Dave is the Anti-Big-Dave, so I was kind of expecting an explosion and puff of smoke if they ever did meet, the two mutually vanishing in some quantum space-time event.
One of the friendlier managers at the office was down in London at the weekend, and so met up with Big Dave for a drink, to see how he’s been getting on for the past couple of weeks.
“So how is he?” I asked.
The manager’s face creased into a broad smile. “UNSTOPPABLE!” he roared.
Back at the office.
We never had time to clear Big Dave’s desk. I swiped a nice two-foot ruler, but that was all, before Wee Dave replaced him.
He seems a nice-enough man. It’s hard to tell what he’s really going to be like, when the pressure is on and we really have work to do. At the moment he’s uncomfortable, like he’s walking in a new pair of shoes, slightly awkwardly, trying to break himself in. I was in a terrible mood all day, so I feel slightly bad that I wasn’t more welcoming.
So, Big Dave has left, in a cloud of adulation and office stationery, getting ready to move house over the break. Everything is booked, and everything is ready to go, and when I get back after Christmas I will have someone new to share the office with.
Things have been a little strange lately, and not just because of Dave. Work has been very stressful, and other things have been very stressful too. I see someone and I want to try to help them, to save them from themself and from dangerous people, but I know they would not accept my help. The stress of all this, and all the work that has been piling on me at the office, makes me want to curl up for a thousand years, not sleeping, just dormant. A bit like King Arthur, maybe.
Talking of King Arthur, here’s more Susan Cooper:
For Drake is no longer sleeping in his hammock, children, nor is Arthur somewhere sleeping, and you may
not lie idly expecting the second coming of anybody now, because the world is yours and it is up to you.
Now especially since man has the strength to destroy this world, it is the responsibility of man to keep
it alive, it all its beauty and marvellous joy.
Maybe that should be my epigram for the coming year. In the meantime, I’m going to occupy myself with the King William’s College General Knowledge Paper. I might only get a handful of answers,* but it will keep me busy for a while.
* which may or may not include “Copernicus”, “Theodore Roosevelt”, and “The Waterloo and City Line”. That’s how random they are. Feel free to guess what questions I think those are the answers to.
Well, I’ve passed a milestone, or so I’ve been told. This site has finally been banned somewhere! If you’re an employee of a certain large courier company, you won’t be reading this, at least not at work. It’s not China, but it’s a start. I was chatting to someone about it in the pub last night; they were mildly disappointed not to have all this rubbish to read when they’re stuck at their desk. Poor thing.
Big Dave’s still here, for another week at least, but his replacement has been announced. He’s also called Dave, of course, and he’s starting in January. I have no idea how large or small he is, but I’m going to have to call him Wee Dave just for symmetry. I’m not really looking forward to it.
Today, the boss spent the afternoon over at our warehouse. It’s fifty miles away, so it does at least keep him well out of our hair, with no risk of him suddenly popping down to find me and Big Dave playing poker,* or The Good-Looking One From Accounts skiving behind my desk.**
Right after he left to come back over to Head Office, one of the warehouse staff phoned:
“Your boss was on my computer for ages fiddling about with stuff. And now it doesn’t work.”
Oh, hurrah. That was the rest of the afternoon gone, then – working out just what he’d done. I realised what he’d been trying to do; and had to work back from there to sort out what he actually did.
* for our collection of spare computer case screws. I reckon I’m about 15% up on him at the moment.
** if she kneels next to my chair, and the door is shut, you can’t see her through the window.
First Christmas present bought already, but I’m still going to have to devote the weekend to running around the county hoping desperately to find something inspirational. I’m not saying what I’ve already bought. It’s for my dad, and I don’t think he reads this place, but you never know.
When I get up in the morning, I have Radio 4 on in the background. I like Radio 4, but I normally try very hard to avoid listening to Thought For The Day, in case of the very real risk that it will make me want to throw the radio through the kitchen window.* Today though, I caught a quick flash of it. I can’t remember the exact phrase I heard, but it was something along the lines of “lots of Christians use phrases like ‘God willing’ and ‘if God wishes it’ all the time”. Which left me rather puzzled, because even though I’ve known a large number of devout Christians over the years, none of them have ever said any such thing in normal conversation. Maybe one of the good aspects of Thought For The Day is that it makes you realise there are people out there whose view of the world is so partial and skewed, that they really do believe they are standard conversational phrases, just because that’s what all their friends say.
I was talking to someone last night about the next Book I Haven’t Read that I’m going to write about: House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. “Oh, I don’t think anyone’s read that all the way through,” she said. “I don’t think you can.” So maybe I should invite additional contributions to the next Book I Haven’t Read post – if you have read House Of Leaves all the way through without cheating, let me know.
Big Dave says he’s found a flat now. A “one-bed studio flat”, or what people Up North** still call a bedsit. At least this means he has the weekend to do his Christmas shopping in, rather than worrying about property-hunting trips down to Barking and Beckton.
* especially if Anne Atkins is the writer/presenter.
** apart from if you’re a property developer, of course. Or you live in Leeds, probably.
Big Dave is busy at the moment. Not with work, but with finding somewhere to live. As he’s moving down to London at the end of the year, he’s spending nearly all his office time scouring the internet for affordable flats; mouse in one hand, A-Z in the other.
I’ve become his guide to London, it seems. “What’s Bermondsey like?” “What about Beckton?” “Silvertown? Where the hell’s Silvertown?” Work, so far as he’s concerned, has gone out of the window. Which, in a way, is a good thing. In a few weeks time, I’ll have to do all the work myself anyway. So, I may as well start doing nearly all of it now, whilst Dave is still around to bug if I get stuck.
The other main job for the moment: thinking up jokes about Windows Vista ready for its years-late release tomorrow.* There’s no chance at all we’ll be buying the thing at work, because none of the company’s PCs will actually run the behemoth at all well. PCs we bought a fortnight ago fail the Microsoft upgrade check. Hmm, maybe there was a reason they were so cheap.
* To get some idea why it’s so delayed, and why it’s such a behemoth, read about the byzantine management arrangements responsible for the shutdown options on the Start menu.
Well, I’ve found out what he’s been up to recently.
Big Dave has resigned. After Christmas, until they find somebody else, I’m going to be working on my own.
He’s moving to London, too. This morning he handed in his resignation; this afternoon he went out to buy an A-Z.