Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Undeniable Difference Between an MP and the Samaritans. Oh, and a Bit of Glamour..

Oh my God. The Boss should never be allowed on a phone unsupervised. I pop out to buy a sandwich at lunchtime, and come back to find him cosily ensconced behind my desk, on the phone to someone. He's looking a bit flustered and red in the face, but when I raise my eyebrows in enquiry, he waves me away, and says, into the receiver,

"Well, I really don't know what to say."

This means that Andrew is way out of his depth - so I kick his feet off the desk and pass him a note saying, "Who is it?" He mouths back, "Mrs Saunders." God all-bloody-mighty. The last thing that poor woman needs is a conversation with The Boss, particularly when he's under the weather after an encounter with Igor. I watch, paralysed with indecision, as he says,

"So she didn't manage it this time, then?"

Oh dear. Emma Saunders must have made another suicide attempt. This must be the fourth this year. And she is not one of our numerous half-hearted attention-seekers. Emma is deadly serious. If that's not a terrible pun. We are not talking taking a few tablets and phoning for an ambulance - as happens regularly with quite a few of our usual suspects. In Emma's case, we're talking throwing herself off walkways, trying to set fire to herself, and other horrors. She's only twenty-one, and her poor parents are beside themselves with powerlessness and fear. The Boss is not the man for this job.

I try to pull the phone away from him, but he swings the chair round so that his back's to me, and then says, all too clearly:

"You do realise, don't you - that she's so determined that, ultimately, she will succeed?"

That is enough. I run into Greg's office, which is where the main "switchboard" phone is situated. I over-ride Andrew's call and cut it off. Then I crawl under Greg's desk and unplug the phone altogether.

"Hello. Hello? Molly - something's happened to the phone!" Andrew is shouting from my office.

"And to this one," I say. "I'll have to contact BT."

"But I was in the middle of an important conversation and -"

"I can handle that - on my mobile. Mrs Saunders, wasn't it? I'm calling her now. There's a sandwich for you in that carrier bag." It's my bloody sandwich, actually, but this seems a small price to pay. I sincerely hope he chokes on it.

"Take him the papers, and keep him talking," I hiss at Greg. "Emergency."

Honestly, it takes me ages to calm poor Mrs Saunders. How can someone as apparently well-meaning as The Boss be so incredibly crass? How the hell can he lack the imagination to understand what she must be going through? I can't even bear to contemplate how I would feel if it were Connie or Josh. God forbid, touch wood, and anything else that can be done to ward off such a terrible situation.

It turns out Emma's latest attempt took place while she was supposed to be being kept under special observation, so someone took their eye off the bloody ball, didn't they? For God's sake. I am furiously angry and depressed for the rest of the day. I sometimes wonder if my world view would be different if my job didn't involve regularly hearing about so much pain and misery.

Imagine being an event planner, or a play specialist - or doing any job that didn't involve dealing with people who are suffering and in distress. It would be even better if it could also avoid those who are just totally unreasonable, professional victims or neurotic whingers, come to think of it. Some days I can't envisage a wider world out there where people may actually be having a good time or are at least content with their lives. It's a good thing that neither Miss Chambers or Mr Beales phone today, as I might well have done a Steven Slater and deployed the emergency chute, after telling them what I really think of them. Though a dose of harsh reality would probably do those two a power of good - unlike Mrs Saunders.

Even when they're healthy, rich and successful, it doesn't seem to make people happy. Johnny's as miserable as sin since I said I wouldn't meet him at Heathrow. He sends me five emails today. In the fourth one, he says he feels like he did before we "met" again via Friends Reunited - old, jaded, and as if the spark is missing from his life. Ironic, seeing as he's in Moscow, where sparks are probably the last thing you'd want.

I do know what he means, though. I am feeling as if my fire has gone out again, since I decided not to meet him, and to try to damp the situation down. Life seems to have slid seamlessly back into its rut, where I wander through my life apparently unseen and unnoticed, while everyone else - including my bloody Dad - is living it up. Not that that makes any difference, as I still can't think of a good reason to go to London during Recess, so I tell Johnny that there's nothing I can do about it. His fifth email arrives just before I leave work. It says,

"Right, woman - I can't stand this any longer. If you can't get away, I shall come to you."

Good God. An International Director of a Global Oil Company, willing to cross half the world to the dot on the map that is Northwick, just to see me? Well, willing to cross most of Europe, anyway. That's still pretty impressive, given that I sometimes doubt whether Max would even bother to cross the road for the pleasure of my company.

I feel a bit dizzy and overwhelmed - though I suppose that might just be due to the chronic hyperventilation that having to cope with Andrew on a daily basis always induces. What the hell - I shall buy a copy of Glamour magazine on my way home. Sod Woman and Home. Maybe glamour's not as irrelevant to my life as I've always thought.

No comments:

Post a comment