As I was putting my coat on and leaving work today, I left the office door gaping open because I couldn’t be bothered. Suddenly, a figure materialised in the door frame Star Trek transporter style. I first thought it would be the cleaner, however, I know the cleaner and it neither looked nor acted like her.
The cleaning woman in the building is a lovely warm lady with whom I exchange greetings and small talk across the length of the corridor because her cordiality carries across huge distances. She calls me, and probably everyone else, sweetheart. Alternately, she calls me teacher. I don’t have the heart to tell her that unless she wants to address me Ms, she should call me doctor. Whatever. (Not Doctor Whatever.)
The eerie figure on the doorstep was female and dressed as though she had arrived on bike. Considering the freezing temperatures, I considered that unlikely. She was wearing a curious combination of sports boots, biking leggings and fishnet shirt. By the way of greeting, she said she just popped in to see if our colleague Jimmy was in. Well, he was out, I replied the obvious. She proceeded to inquire how I was doing with my teaching.
Because the rule of the thumb at workplace is to never tell the truth, I retorted I was doing excellent, while still coping to place her. Among the obvious options, after the cleaner was excluded, was a travelling saleswoman of bike wear, a tricky Jehovah’s Witness or a trade union leader (probably because of the fishnet top, which I associate with someone keen on hooking and catching unsuspecting victims).
After several minutes of a painful conversation (all conversation is painful when I have to participate in it), it transpired that she was the department head. I did see her once before (I’m temping, hence I can’t be reasonably expected to know my boss) but she clearly didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. It could be because she spoke Slovak (and I can’t be reasonably expected to understand Slovak thirteen years after the split of Czechoslovakia).
I’m glad I didn’t point out to her that the bin needs to be taken out. If I had, she would have had her questionable attire to blame. Why do I bother wearing smart casual for work when the department head wears a biking fisherwoman style? For her own good, I hope she was in disguise for some undercover operation that I’m unaware of. Other than that, I can’t think of a sensible excuse why wear that for work. Maybe next time I see her, she’ll be wearing a cleaning duster in lieu of a hat, like the carousel horse in my picture.