A day at the office

I don’t write about work very often, other than vague allusions to “the man” – and I guess there are a number of reasons for this.  Primarily, I am yet to be independently wealthy and so should probably try (at least to a modest degree) to avoid getting myself fired.  However, I also feel that it would be quite the challenge to make sitting in front of a laptop playing with models (of the mathematical/software variety) entertaining (yes, I know that such concerns have rarely stopped me before).  Those who worry about my posture, given the nature of my working life, will be pleased to know that I have invested in a 23″ FHD screen and decent keyboard-and-mouse combo – so that in conjunction with my vertebrae-friendly chair this particular workman can no longer blame his tools for any back problems in later life.

Anyway, yesterday I had to make my way to the intermittently sunny environs of Woking where the office resides.  A few mildly diverting incidents occurred during the day, just sufficient unto a post – and so here it is.

Inspired by Neal Caffery, I have taken to sporting the jauntiest of my hats on recent days, and yesterday took it with me to the office.  The hat offers several advantages to its wearer: it protects my head from both light rain and light of the ultraviolet persuasion.  It also, I think, makes me a little more acceptable to the gods of several major world religions (as previously discussed) – though, frankly, any god worth his salary should still be able to see the top of my head despite its stylish millinery.  Finally, and most importantly, I believe it makes me look somewhat raffish – a constant objective in my life.  In addition to my hat, and offering further UV protection (and disguise potential), I wore a pair of shades.  These items were still being worn as I approached my desk – too few hands to disrobe whilst also fumbling for my pass and working various doors.  Apparently, I was the very spit of a character in Breaking Bad – which may be true, but as I have resisted the lure of BB (despite being both middle-class and possessed of Netflix) I couldn’t possibly comment (I can only assume that the part in question is of a chap with raffish – or perhaps merely Slavic – good looks).  I shall try and resist the urge to start putting my chemistry A-level to less than legal utility.

My office is on the ground floor, but the building does possess a lift.  By the ground-floor doors to this contrivance it stresses the fact that it should not be used in case of fire.  Since the exits are also on the ground floor, I am unclear as to why I would want to use the lift as the building burns around me.  Is there a belief in Woking that, like the daleks of old, fire cannot climb stairs and so one should seek higher “ground” for safety?  If so, people are in for a very nasty surprise and there should perhaps be an additional warning posted on the staircase to prevent tragedy.

The office lies next to a canal and yesterday I noticed a narrow boat moored right outside.  Very handy for work, thought I, but probably not a very practical choice for yours truly.  The combination of low ceilings and a narrow space would not sit well with my height, long limbs and severe lack of physical grace.  Even operating in far more generous spaces I carry a permanent record (in the form of cuts and contusions) of my inability to safely navigate my body – I fear life on a narrow boat would need to be accompanied by a frequent flyer card for the local A&E department.  I often wonder what future archaeologists will make of my skeletal remains: given the number of blows to the head and limbs I have accumulated over the years (all self-inflicted), they may suspect I was some sort of 21st century gladiator.  Certainly one never hears the archaeologists of today positing that any of our distant ancestors were just seriously clumsy when explaining the remodelling and scarring on their ancient bones.

My final vignette from yesterday in the office will be one of delight.  Perhaps to maintain some thematic link to the canal, the office is entered by crossing a water feature – more a pond, if I’m honest, replete with goldfish.  Not sure if the entry bridge can be used to dump the unwary visitor into the pond – as is so popular with Bond villains – but I’m pretty sure they were just goldfish and nothing more toothsome.  The water feature also has some modest planting based on some pretty undistinguished plants – or at least I’ve never really noticed them.  Yesterday, the container was a riot of colour provided by a dozens of native orchids, probably the common spotted variety (though I am no expert).  Not sure if they were planted or had just seeded themselves, but what an unexpected joy at the end of my working day.  Well, almost the end, I did still have to trek back home from darkest Woking…

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