Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Faces Come Out Of The Rain

I thought I was writing in a void.

Well, not so much a void – more of an airport waiting room where only people from other towns and other countries ever passed through. The people in my blog list for example. Maybe a few pieces of stray luggage passing by as they desperately try to locate their owners. My wife on occasion when I nag her to read through what I’ve composed...

But nobody else.

But it seems I was wrong.

It seems that some of the people that I work with are reading this here very blog. They are taking my hastily scrawled words or irreverence and discussing them over their sandwiches in the staffroom.

And how do I know this?

My boss told me this morning.

You know that crash you heard? That was the sound of my jaw smashing clean through my mug of hot chocolate and an MDF table top. I now have blood, chocolate and teeth on my shoes.

I confess I didn’t quite know what to say. What went through my mind was: “How dare people I know read my blog – it’s only meant for friends that I haven’t actually met.”

The other thought was: “Shit, what the hell have I written about my boss?”

I’m a lot calmer now though. As the day has progressed my keel has gradually evened itself. C’est la vie.

And as the sun sets on this (in)auspicious day, the questions now are slightly different:

Am I the unofficial spokesperson for a disenfranchised and World Wide Web friendly workforce? Am I the übermensch and spiritual leader of a new breed of chat-room based cyber terrorists? Or am I merely a source of local misinformation for my work colleagues and fellow council officers?

I suspect – alas – the latter.

Ho hum. Infamy, infamy, they’ve got it in for me... what is an erstwhile propagandist to do (except keep tapping away)?

One last question though before I sign off:

Can I now continue to write in as free and easy a manner (hey, I might make it look easy but...) as I have done these last three wonderfully unrestrained years now knowing that people I have daily contact with are possibly reading my cyber meanderings and offering up opinions on them as they go about their normal work duties?

It’s a toughie.

I hope the answer will be yes. I hope I will adhere to the writer’s motto of: “I write what I like”. I’ve always been (I hope) circumspect and careful. So really it should be business as usual.

But, I admit, I do feel rather...

Strange.

21 comments:

Inchy said...

I think everyone's blog has a finite life span. There'll surely come a time when we all just think "what's the point?" but I suppose it all depends on what you get out of it. I know that I'll probably never meet any of the travellers who rest their weary feet at Casa Inchy, but their opinions on my diatribe are never unwelcome, and a view into the lives of others, like your good self my padawan, keep me entertained for....minutes!

You could always go underground? (not literally)

PS - I know that blogging about blogging is frowned upon, but I've never really been one for convention.

Steve said...

Inchy if I've filled your unforgiving minutes with 60 seconds full of fun then I consider it a job well done. I did briefly consider going "private / subscription only" but... to be honest... I quite like the flotsam and jetsam that find their way to dear ol' Bloggertropolis... and that would never happen if I employed bouncers of the cyber variety. I've mulled it over and at the end of the day blogging keeps me sane - as does any kind of writing so I have no intention of hanging up my keyboard just yet...!

Tristan said...

My old friend, one bit of advice: you've got to stop calling your boss a tosser in your blog. If he goes through your posts carefully, he'll find you've done it several times... ;-)

Steve said...

Ha ha!

Tris, my old friend, I trust you can find me a full-time job in the City - preferably one that starts on Monday, is a permanent contract and earns enough moolah to feed a burgeoning family of four...

I'm possibly being serious.

P.S. I don't think I've ever called anyone a tosser on my blog. With the possible exception maybe of Gary Rhodes... but that surely is acceptable, even laudable?

The Sagittarian said...

Oh Steve, what a pain in the southern most oriface!! I don't know how I would feel if colleagues read what I wrote (probably bore them to death first mind you!); there are at least a couple of people who I know in person who do read it and thats fine but I have to confess that the fact that I know that does temper my comments somewhat and has limited certain issues to not being blogged about at all. Good luck. You could always emigrate?

Steve said...

I know what you mean, Amanda, and can I just take this opportunity to say what a wonderful team of people I work with? Professional, empathetic, caring and always on hand to lend useful help and advice and inesteemably led from from the top... there is no better place to be employed in my humble opinion.

(I've booked the tickets for Monday - what's the weather like in NZ and can you put me up until I find my feet?)

KAZ said...

Oh - this is my nightmare.
I disguise my pals(?) by pseudonym but they would definitely recognise themselves.
Don't stop - Bon courage.

kate5kiwis said...

ick
ack
eck
ock...
and all those *forgoodnesssake* expressions.
hate that peeps stalk bloggeurs.
come outta the woodwork, babes.
keep shakin' your groove thang, steve.
you're a good mate X

Brother Tobias said...

That's a jolt. As it happens I don't think you've ever written anything seditious.

Indeed I have acquired such an admiration for the exemplary conduct and management of your authority as depicted by you, that I would have applied for a job there...had it been that you have never revealed its name or location. (Does that help?)

I always found it strange that, working for a local authority, I was barred from standing for election in my own area - as were lunatics. Disenfranchisement like that doesn't seem very democratic. So I suppopse they can stop you doing whatever they like.

On the other hand, nothing you have said or might say is any different to the sort of humorous stuff that appears openly, and with a far wider circulation, in the average staff magazine or newsletter.

Steve said...

Hi Kaz, I must admit it is a situation that I've never really contemplated before - I don't know why - I just assumed my blog was safely enwrapped in its own bubble. Now it does feel like two worlds have collided... but maybe that's a good thing. A new dawn, a new era has arrived. A time to have one's mettle tested. I'm happy to say I'm up for it.

Kate, I will continue to shake my groove thang for as long as possible - probably in a way that resembles an embarrassing uncle - but it's the thought and your encouragement that counts. Thank you!

Cheers Brother T... as it happens a post may be available for you if you wish to apply for it. Mine. Only joking (I hope) - and thanks for the endorsement. On the whole I don't tend to use this blog for personal vitriolic rants and it's more likely to be far-removed TV celebs who get the sharp end of my questionable wit than the people on my own doorstep. But knowing of this "new" addition to my audience will undoubtedly influence my choice of subject matter and how I express my thoughts from now on. But I see that as a challenge to my writing skills. To be honest and tactful but not pointlessly oblique. To remain true to my beliefs without injuring or targetting individuals who can't answer back in this particular forum (though of course there is nothing to stop anybody leaving a comment should they wish to). I guess at the end of the day it means I have to be a little more accountable for what I write. But I would hope that I have always been that. Certainly I haven't written anything in the three years that I've been blogging that I haven't believed in or would feel ashamed of. At the end of the day: I'm right and the world is wrong. Or maybe a better way of expressing it is that anybody's blog (or any kind of personal writing) is a bit like Pandora's Box - take a peek if you want to but you only have yourself to blame if you find something that you don't like. There's plenty of other entertainment online these days - gaming, movies, porn - people don't have to come here unless they really want to.

Daisy said...

steve i completely understand and am sorry it has happened to you...that is why i had to privatize my blog...i could no longer do it, knowing that people had access to me, free access and were discussing me at work bothered me to my core and i could not deal with the effects it had on me personally...i do hope it doesn't do the same to you and that the people you work with are not the vicious beast i deal with daily...and if they are reading, i hope they understand just how special you have come to be to those of us who are regular visitors...

Reluctant Blogger said...

Well, I notice that none of them are brave enough to appear and leave a comment!

I felt "strange" when Al told me he had read my blog. I couldn't quite work out why it bothered me as there was nothing I had written that he did not already know and I don't think I had ever said anything bad about him. He wasn't particularly bothered by it but I was for a while. And like you I decided not to go private but I think it does temper what I write just a jot - only a very little jot (I guess all jots are little!)

You just need to be careful with the time facility on your blog - that you never appear to be writing a post or commenting in work time. I'm not sure how your moderation thingy works but is it possible that it could look that way?

How unsettling.

Rol said...

I like the idea that I'm just lost luggage looking for a home.

Oh, and if you're worried about writing something that will get you in trouble at work, do what I do - write that stuff in the comment boxes on other people's blogs. Like - "I do work with an absolute bunch of wankers."

Of course, that's not actually true. I love them all deeply.

Rol said...

I left quite a long comment (for me) about this, then I got a server error, so I don't know if you received it.

If you didn't... tough. ;-)

Steve said...

That's a very lovely thing to say Daisy - thank you so much. I considered going private (as said above) only very briefly. It's just not me and I'm arrogant enough to want to grasp as many readers as possible if I'm honest. Going private would curtail that ambition somewhat. Maybe, despite my surface shyness, I also like courting controversy occasionally? On the whole though I don't think I'm a particularly contentious person at all... and I doubt what I write would be of any interest to the majority of my work mates. I'm sure most of my posts are either "minority interest" or "weirdly obessive" to any outside reader. Possibly even boring! ;-)

Hi Gina, yeah the timing thing is weird on my blog - this post was actually published from home well after I'd arrived back from work yesterday as I'd talked to Karen about it before I actually published it online, wanting her opinion; but it doesn't look that way from the time-stamp. I notice that I'm one of the few bloggers from our little group who actually publishes to his own private domain name server as opposed to using one of the Blogger's own addresses. Maybe this explains the frequent misreporting of publishing times? Some sort of technical incompatability? In the beginning I had to frequently go into the blog's settings and re-set it back to GMT time only to have it revert to Pacific Time or something else entirely by the end of the next day... in the end I gave up and now have no idea what time zone my blog operates in. And don't care! I'm just happy to see people commenting and never pay any attention to the times. However, I can hold my hand to my heart and say that I never publish during paid work time. Most of my stuff is done during breaks when we good local authority fellows are allowed to do personal stuff online (provided it isn't looking at porn or terrorist linked). I also tend to compose away from work as the environment in the office isn't particularly conducive to creativity - too many distractions, too many people looking over my shoulder and too many contractors turning up ad hoc and demanding my attention in other areas of the building. I'm amazed I get any Risk Assessments composed let alone creative stuff of superlative genius... But you're right. I must now appear to be accountable - though I refuse to get up and publish at 4 in the morning just to make it appear that I've published at tea time from the comfort of my own home! I will reset the blog to GMT time once again and see what happens. Current time in the real world is: 12.33pm precisely (lunch time)... ;-)

Rol, I've been doing that for years. My language has been so foul I've been banned from hundreds of blogs. Except yours funnily enough - but I'm working on that. And thank you for the longer than usual comment. I actually received it in triplicate which is very officious of you indeed!

Steve said...

*Sigh* It seems that even GMT time isn't as reliable as it used to be... ;-)

Inchy said...

All my friends know about my blog, my family know I blog and I regularly find the blokes I work with, one of whom also blogs, commenting to me about something I've posted. I've never hid the fact that I have a blog and in some ways this helps keep me grounded and honest, knowing that someone will know if I embelish the truth.

Your blog is a good one. It has plenty of regular readers and compared to some that I've stumbled upon it might be up for the Pulitzer Prize, so it would be a bit daft to delete it.
I think as long as you keep it honest and use a bit of common sense then you should stick with it.

EmmaK said...

I don't know mate, it seems like you've been rather creatively handcuffed. I guess you will just have to write a Chinese style propaganda style blog from now on: "I love to come to work every day, every second spent in work builds this great nation, every second spent away from work is agony."

Steve said...

Thanks Inchy. If I get a plus-one invite to the awards ceremony I'll take the wife. If I get a plus-one-plus-one invite I'll take you as well.

Emma, the thought of being hand-cuffed - if even only creatively - sent a pleasurable shiver down my spine. Not sure why. However, I have no intention of being constrained... for all the reasons given above. My blog shall continue in the same vein that has plagued countless readers for years. In all honesty I've written about 400 posts since I started the blog and of those I'd hazard a guess that no more than ten were work related, so what the hell!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Well you must admit, you didn't exactly try hard to conceal your identity Steve?

Not that I do either, but then I don't write about work, so I have no need to fear any coleagues reading what I might have to say about them (which is of course all getting sold to The Daily Mail the moment I leave!)

Wonderful posting Steve - one of your finest. And even though I'm a complete stranger I do consider you a friend. Indeed I think you were pretty well my first blogmate no less!

Steve said...

We've been blog-mates, Laura, since our blogs were toddling around in nappies and you are an honoured and trusted blog-pal. You're right. My name is on the blog right at the top. Anyone can find me anytime. I'm available 24/7. I'm an online convenience store for the terminably bored.

Hmm. My work here is done.