Thursday, January 27, 2005


Last thing at night now, and first thing this morning is the one thing on my mind:

“George here, Adam,” said the voice of my superior on the end of the phone. “Working from home this morning and can’t find my notebook, the grey one. Think I left it in C69. Important stuff. Have a look for it please and phone me back in five.”

“Seen a grey notebook in here?” I soon asked the temp, having her coffee alone in the room. “Ahh there it is!”

“Good morning, Adam!” she said.

“Hello! Sorry to dehumanize you like that, first thing in the morning!”

She smiled a fragment of her beautiful smile and said: “Actually, do you mind if I ask you a question? I have to take something to the post-room and can’t work out where it is!”

O, how angelic, how polite, how swift I am, as I tell her: “bottom of building over the road. I can show you if you’re not sure.”

But she is sure. It was a different story when bursting into my office like the door is just a tube station gate, some French woman blurted out: “C69! Where is that?”

“69? Rings a bell – yes. yes,” I replied idly. “Now… You know the double doors you’ve just come through?”

“Yes, yes!”

“Well you took the wrong turn there. See, rooms one to fifty are always on this side of the building – the rest the other. Now, 69. Go back through them. Remember the photocopying room opposite the lifts?”

“Yes – I think so – I –”

“Go around that. You’ll come to the stairs again. Now, C69. You did say C, didn’t you?”

“Yes, yes –”

“Not B?”


“Yes you said B?”

“No – yes – C – B –”

“Not B? Not D? Because they’re different –”


“Right, C69. C69. What you want to do is – ahh, that’s right, there’s another set of double doors just after the stairs. Probably you missed them. They have a sign saying rooms 50 to 80 above them, and – well, go through them. Follow the corridor around. It branches off into a little kitchen area on the right. Don’t take that. You don’t want to go into that kitchen! Anyway. Carry on a little bit. Not too far, just past the post-box for internal mail. The blue thing. Then there’s a lift. Take it down one level, and –”

“And it’s there?”

“Sort of. It’s –”

“Right I’ll find it.” And out she stormed, forever hopefully, as if storming away from a malfunctioning ticket machine in a tube station.

“You’re smiling like a little devil,” said a little voice from an obscure corner of the office.