Saturday, June 25, 2011

a sMaLLiSh sToRy

An unfortunate occurrence to be sure, but I have lost the ability to keep track of dates. What we do here in the Company is to assign work weeks and then track them as wwXX.2 or wwYY.4 which means the nth day of that work week. Now R pinged me yesterday and reproached me for forgetting her b'day. "What?? What do you mean June __th??? Why didn't you tell me in plain English that ur b'day is ww25.3??? What date is it today btw?? All I know is that it's ww26.6…

Now I've been reading quite a bit since the last one week and something seems to have come over me. an idea, nay in fact a germ of an idea in my head. If you would give me , but one moment, just a smidgeon of a moment and allow me to clear the idea in my head and jot down a few thoughts... I would be very much obliged, to say the least.

Now the Company [ henceforth it will always be the Company ] was pretty hard headed. Indeed , if the company had been a person, then it would be a steely eyed, gum chewing, expensive suit wearing, new york broker who'd give you one look and tell you how much money you had in your bank right down to the shilling.
But that's besides the point.
What's the point?... I know your wondering... Well lets get right to it then. The Company, though pretty hard headed, didn't begrudge it's employees some of the perks that some others considered an extravagance, but instead a justified means to boost employee morale, though secretly everyone had already guessed at the ulterior motives of the Company in providing the above said perk.
Since an excess of 10,000 employees worked in close proximity to each other, [ closer than they wished ] sitting in dull grey cubes that remind them of the 5th moon of Jupiter [ and by that I mean barren, icy and hellish looking ] , and these faithful employees worked from dawn to dusk and sometimes more, always loyal and mindful of the remaining 9999, who were simply waiting to jump on the chance to stomp the one down, in case of a mistake. And since all these employees had something called a lunch break which was an only natural and humane break to have considering the number of hours stuck in the hellish cubicles... Now you could imagine the pandemonium that was the 'lunch break'. 10000 ppl stomping out of the building and getting into their cars and hunting for lunch.. And then all of them stomping back an hour later, to their dull , hellish cubicles. But on second thoughts perhaps you shouldn't imagine it.

So the Company of course offered this perk. This perk of an in-house café. Now imagine , you could get lunch right in the building! Wasn't it marvelous. Never mind that the food reminded one of the nether regions of pluto [ and by that I mean so bland and pale and insignificant that even the gods rejected it and threw it out of the categories. ] and never mind that strange straggly, bearded and tattooed men were regularly ejected out of the kitchens bearing 'lunch' to the mute uncomplaining eyes of the employees in their plain tshirts and plain looking jeans, who were clearly impressed by the array of tattoos and a little bit disconcerted that the man was smoking a cigarette and still never mind that the one hour lunch now turned into a 20 minute break to pick up the food and the rest was spent pouring over the quarterly reports while stuffing one's face with the special of the day. Now not one of the 10,000 uttered a word of complaint at this, after all the Company had provided a wonderful perk! In the august form of the in-house café!
And thus we finally come to Bertie. He was simply one of those thousands thankful for this wonderful perk that the Company had provided , just like the basketball court outside the building which ofcourse no one used because they just HAD to complete this report. Everyday bertie would do a quick dash to the café to grab a box of something, no not something… he would grab a sandwich and a soup. Day after day, Bertie faithfully went down, stood in line , got a sandwich and a soup, stood in line, paid for the aforementioned sandwich and soup and climbed back up to his cubicle.

Life was pretty good. Bertie COULD have bothered to make lunch and get a lunchbox to the office, but then Bertie was a terrible cook and it's saying something that Bertie preferred the tattooe'd man's soup over his own cooking. Also there was another reason why Bertie never got lunch from home. A very special reason. And her name was April.
If there was one highlight to Bertie's god awful day in his hellish and drab cubicle it was the 30 seconds he got with April. He would patiently wait in queue with his sandwich and soup till it was his turn and he would hear the clear ringing tones of "Do you need a receipt with that?". Bertie of course could only stammer bleakly indicating that he didn't want a receipt and walk away feeling slightly dazed by the sight his eyes had feasted on for 30 seconds. He would then spend at least half of his afternoon reflecting on the many extraordinary qualities of April , not the least of which was her clear glowing skin, her bright eyes and brilliant smile while she always asked him the same question, "Do you need a receipt with that?". Even her tone was so refined, and so her words were spoken so melodiously and…. aaah Bertie was indeed happy to avail of the perks, the Company had so graciously provided him in the form of April in the in-house café.
Of course Bertie was no fool, he knew that he was never going to actually speak real words to April. "no" was not a real word when answering the same question and he didn't have the slightest intention to go beyond this kind of worshipful adoration done from far far away. Sometimes, like today when he was forced to also have breakfast in the café, he would meditate on all the charms his April possessed, that made her stand out amongst the rest of the café employees; her trim and neat appearance with her hair all glossed back and her neat black uniform with not a wrinkle in sight, her clean neat hands and well polished nails, unlike that hideous tattooed soup maker! Now, look at that martinet!! With her close cropped severe hairstyle and dour demeanor and never asking if anyone wanted a receipt! No, Bertie would not go to her if his life depended on it!! Once when April was not around, he was forced to pay at the only open cashier and the old pigeon had fixed such a baleful eye on him while ringing up his order that he very nearly spilled his soup in her lap!

Or consider that scrawny looking thing with the messed up hair and the numerous ghastly pink beaded necklaces around her neck, gulping down her eggs. Her hair was a complete mess! [ Bertie worshipped neatness above everything ] what? She was wearing a tank top in the august offices of the Company and not a suit with a tie?? Bertie frowned unbelievingly that one of the Employees would be so impertinant and flippant as to disregard the dignity of the Company. [ Bertie was all about dignity ]. Surely she did not work here… Any by GOD was that a cigarette tucked between her B______!!! Scandalous. Look at those hideous pimples on her face. Poor thing !! How unlucky to not be blessed with April's clear creamy complexion… to not have her gift for tidiness and order. How unlucky to be so severely marred that it was literally painful to hold her countenance while it was just pure joy to behold his April. Surely she did not work here.. That top was just too scandalous, noted Bertie frowning and squinting to look more closely trying to see if he could recognize this person. Wait a minute.. Was that.. It couldn't be, Bertie almost choked and joined his venerable great grandfather. But .. But… how could…
And thus finally was Bertie introduced to the miracles of modern makeup.

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