I’m sure it’s not deliberate but this has happened with galling regularity during my time “here” as corporate slave. And it makes me hit boiling point every time because, in all honesty, I’m never quite sure how to handle it.
An engineer turns up in a company car. Or his own car. Whatever. The car is not important. But he needs to get parked and doesn’t want to use the Pay & Display spaces in town. This is fine. I lower the bollards and allow him to drive into the fiercely guarded enclave of the building’s footprint. I direct him to the staff parking bays down the back of the building. Off he drives with a cheery wave.
Pleasure, mate. I’m here to be helpful.
And then I wait by the entrance doors so I can chaperone the poor bewildered engineer to wherever he needs to be in the building. Usually a urinal which is behaving like the gateway to Hell.
And I wait.
And I wait.
And he stays in his bloody car. He doesn’t move. He just sits there in the warm, sealed cockpit of his worksmobile.
And I stand there by the front doors feeling like a jilted groom.
What do I do? ‘Cos I’m getting narked. I’m getting annoyed. I’m stood there like the proverbial last sausage and he’s rubbing himself off against his walnut dash.
Logic and the laws of dynamic motivation (is there even such a thing) dictate that I go up to the car and knock officiously on the windscreen and ask very loudly if he’s going to be joining me anytime soon because the vicar is getting impatient and the reception is booked.
But I worry that this might precipitate a faux pas of monumental proportions.
You see, he could be delayed for a very legitimate reason...
He’s taking an emergency phone call from his wife: “Darling, little Terry has found your stash of crystal meth and he’s bouncing off the walls with grandpappy’s pump-action assault rifle – the nanny is pulling her hair out and the nursery looks like a bomb site! What shall I do? What shall I do?”
Or – and this is the scenario that I fear the most – I storm up to the car, violently yank open the driver’s door and have a paraplegic engineer fall out onto the pavement like a newborn lamb from its mother’s womb.
Oh God. I am so sorry. Do you need a hand? Oh shit. I didn’t mean that the way it came out, honestly.
You get the idea.
So I wait.
And I wait.
And eventually the engineer shuffles out of his vehicle – not panicked in any way, with a full complement of limbs, wiping the foam of a take-out cappuccino from his top lip.