Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Silence Is Not Golden. And Other F*ckwittery.

Aargh, men. Have had about enough of them today. First it is The Boss' turn to infuriate me. We have a stand-up row about his attitude to the Party staff, when I ask him if he is going to Joan's summer barbecue.

"No, I am bloody well not," he says. "And neither are you."

"What?" I say. "What on earth are you talking about?"

"They are all out to get me, and I've told you before, I do not like you socialising with them. If you knew where your loyalties lay, I wouldn't have to tell you in the first place."

I actually do a double-take to see if Andrew is joking. He doesn't seem to be, if his heightened colour is anything to go by.

"Oh, for goodness' sake, Andrew - get a grip," I say. "The Party staff are the people with a vested interest in supporting you. They are not spies, no matter how many John LeCarre novels you may have read."

He says nothing, just glares at me. So I continue. (I have always had a problem with knowing when to stop flogging a dead horse.)

"But, if you keep on like this, you'll make them your enemies. And I don't want to encourage your paranoia, or make my working life any more difficult than it has to be - so I am going to the barbecue. And if you had any sense, you'd come too - and thank everyone there for all their hard work on your behalf."

Nothing. No response. Or not to me, anyway. The Boss turns to Greg.

"I think I'll do the morning briefing with you today, Gregory," he says. "Even though it isn't your turn."

I find The Boss' disapproval funny for the first couple of hours, but it's wearing pretty thin now. He doesn't speak to me for the rest of the day. In fact, he doesn't even refer to me in that "tell Molly something" way that he usually falls back on when he's in a mood. He just behaves as if he can't even see me. To make matters even worse, when I take a call for him, and try to pass the phone over, he doesn't respond until Greg says,

"Andrew, Molly has a call for you."

Then he rips the phone out of my hand, so I have to sit looking at the back of his arse - which he parks on my desk - until he has finished blathering. I wish he'd go and sit in the Oprah Room instead of hanging around in the main office. At least then I could put his calls through to the extension, and could get on with something useful myself - not to mention that I wouldn't have to look at his backside. Even that has a sulky expression.

God knows how long he's going to keep it up this time. Last time I questioned one of his neuroses, he didn't speak to me for a week. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't bloody Recess. As it is, I can't get away from what feels like a very loud silence indeed for the rest of the afternoon.

I'm so pleased to get home that, once I arrive, I just want to stay there but, instead, we have to go for drinks at Max's boss' house. This is never the most exciting way to spend an evening, but it all goes fine, until the conversation turns to the subject of travel cock-ups.

Colin tells a couple of (rather tedious) stories about trains he's missed, and someone else bangs on about the "trauma" of being stuck in Spain on an extended holiday during the volcanic ash situation. Then Colin says,

"None of that's as bad as Max's classic in Germany, is it, Max?"

"Oh God, no-one wants to hear about that again," says Max.

I therefore assume that Colin's referring to Max's alleged inability to recall the name of his hotel - but he isn't. It turns out Max had another little problem while he was on his business trip. He and a colleague were apparently travelling back to their hotel from somewhere, late at night, and managed to miss their stop. The full story becomes clear only in stages.

"Fancy not only missing your stop and riding to the end of the line, but actually ending up parked somewhere overnight," says Colin, nearly wetting himself laughing. "What idiots!"

I look at Max, who avoids looking back, so I turn to Colin, one eyebrow raised.

"Parked somewhere overnight?" I say, very clearly and slowly.

"Well, no - they nearly were. If Kate hadn't managed to flirt with the driver, they would have been. As it was, good old Kate persuaded him to reverse the train all the way back to the last station, and to let them off there, so they could get a taxi."

"Good old Kate, indeed," I say. "And who is Kate, just out of interest?"

"Oh, she works at one of the other branches," says Colin.

"I see," I say. "She must have been very persuasive."

I think everyone's realised that this is not going well by now, so there is a mad flurry of trying-to-change-the-subject-itis. I pull myself together and think I do a pretty good job, for a while, at least. Even Max seems visibly more relaxed, until we get in the cab to go home. He gets pretty tense again during the journey - probably due to the atmosphere. I am obviously much less fun than good old Kate was on that bloody train.

"What the hell's the matter with you?" he says. Max always works on the principle of "attack is the best form of defence." It never succeeds, but then he also finds learning from experience rather challenging.

"What do you think?" I say.

"I don't know," he says. "Is it something to do with that Kate thing?"

"What - the Kate I have never heard of, and who apparently proved so distracting while you two were the only passengers on a late-night train, that you actually managed to miss the bloody terminus?" My voice is rising. "Why on earth would I be upset about that?"

"Oh, for goodness' sake," says Max. Then he stops speaking to me, and stomps off to bed as soon as we get home.

Two men in a mood with me in one day. Not even counting the usual suspects. Looks like the rest of the week is going to be pretty quiet in terms of conversation. If I keep this up, I'll be well on the way to achieving my ambition to become a hermit.


  1. Have you thought of changing your job? Surely you could find something more rewarding and better paid. Isn't there a Tory PPC in the wings looking for a competent assistant with good local knowledge?

  2. Good God, do PPCs pay more than actual MPs?! Seriously, if The Boss isn't speaking to me now, can you imagine what would happen if I did that? I shall just wait for him to calm down. As usual ;-)