Today has been a strange day.
I was off sick Thursday and Friday and returned to work today, brave soldier that I am, only partially recovered but prepared to stand and face the bullets of the French or the Germans or whoever it is we don’t like as a nation anymore.
And instead found something worse than bullets.
My desk was full of notes and messages – hastily scrawled missives from colleagues and work-mates who in my absence did their best to stem the inevitable flow of entropy and dissolution which is my daily bread and butter.
(Should any of you find yourself in Hell in the afterlife I guarantee you’ll find the entire place plastered with post-it notes...)
Among the lists of malfunctioning equipment and diabolical break-downery that hurt my brain this morning was a plea to recover a ring from one of our sinks. It seems some poor woman – let’s call her Joanna Public – managed to dislodge a bit of bling while scrubbing her dannies yesterday and was most eager to have it recovered if at all possible.
Well, I am always eager to perform acts of possibility and so set to work with a screwdriver and little else (though possibly a modicum of goodwill) and managed to remove the trap from beneath the sink that catches all solid matter – or indeed any matter that just happens to be heavier than the water that has washed it down there in the first place.
It wasn’t a pleasant job. The water was black and thick. Mucoid, if there is such a word (my spellchecker is questioning it with an angry red underline). It looked like Sigourney Weaver’s stomach lining after she’d been impregnated with one of them Alien thingies.
And yes I made the age old mistake of pouring the contents down the very sink I’d just removed the trap from so that the water splashed straight down to the floor. Doh!
But I did recover the ring.
Which upon closer inspection was disappointing. I was expecting gold. I was expecting silver. I was expecting a sparkly stone the size of Jeremy Clarkson’s chin.
Instead I got a rather dowdy looking blackened band of indeterminate metal with a dull, very opaque green stone set into the middle of it.
My first thought was: Christ, I hope it wasn’t the water in the trap that did that. But, upon further examination, I suspect it may have been the ring that did that to the water. However, there is no accounting for taste and I am sure the sentimental value of the ring completely outweighs any snobbery I may harbour towards its true monetary value.
Well, it had better. I’d hate to think I’d swilled my fingers through watery vomit for something that fell out of a Christmas cracker alongside a plastic comb and a tiny plastic spinning top that refuses to spin.
Oh what do I care, really? The job was done and I was just glad to be able to ring (ha ha) Joanna Public up and say that I had saved her ring from a fate worse than missing. It isn’t something I get to say very often, after all, and I made sure I relished the opportunity.
A happy ending.
Unlike the hours I then spent reviewing our CCTV footage to catch two middle aged women setting fire to a bin bag dumped outside the building last night for no other reason that it appeared to amuse them.
The resultant fire wasn’t huge and thankfully a staff member happened to spot the blaze and douse it with a good old fashioned bucket of H2O.
I have then spent the rest of the day wading through conversations with police, staff and alarm engineers who have all given me the distinct impression that I am pouring black, vomity water down a sink without a trap onto my own feet once more...
With no ring this time – dud or precious – to make the activity seem at all worthwhile...
Where’s Frodo Baggins when you need him, eh?
What a yukky day Steve.
If anyone else loses some jewellery I'm sure you'll find many uses for that screwdriver ;)
On a positive happy note - there's the new series of Torchwood starting this evening! Will you be reviewing it? Did you catch the 3 episodes of TW on Radio 4 last week?
Annie: regarding the screwdriver - it depends where they lose their jewellery!
As for Captain Jack and his team, I will be watching Torchwood tonight but whether I review it or not depends on how good or bad it is!
I'm probably being temporarily thick but what does TW stand for?
...er Torchwood, but as it's only one word it was a mistake on my part - sorry!
Ah I see!
If you'd said "T" I'd have instantly known what you meant!
Well you are a brave little soldier to do such a disgusting job for a complete stranger, and you just off your death bed too. I hope you are feeling better now :)
Sometimes you wonder if taking a day off no matter how sick you are is really worth it when you get back to the horror that is your work space.
Did Joanna Public ever tell you the story behind such a nondescript ring?
Wow, I am surprised that your colleagues didn't ring you to get down there with a bucket of water to put that fire out! You better watch out, I reckon that guy could be after your job! :-) That would be ringing in a change eh? (hahahahahaha)
KayDee: it's the same whenever you have any time off - whether illness of holiday - you still come back to all the work that has backed up in your absence. You don't really get a break from it at all. As for the ring lady - I doubt I'll see her; her ring has been left at the reception desk for her to collect but she did sound very grateful when I spoke to her on the phone.
Amanda: wash your mouth out with carbolic - you'll be giving them ideas! ;-)
Now you understand why plumbers charge such outrageous fees for their services... Isn't it wonderful how thick and gooey all that "mucoid" slop gets in sink traps ? It becomes easier to comprehend how life may have started hundreds of millions of years ago in the primordial mucoid slime like that... in fact, if you were to connect an electrical extension cord and put the end in the slop, the ensuing flash and sparks of the short circuit could very well bring the vomit water to life ! Unleashing a new threat to the planet ! Some days it's better to stay in bed... hope it wasn't the flu you had, there seems to be alot going around these days... Anyway, thanks for that lovely story... to send me off to work with a smile...
Owen: it is always my goal to put a smile on a face or two as I go about my life... I am digging out some electrical cabling as I type and plan to power it up without recourse to rubber soled footwear... this new life might mesh with my DNA and give me superhero powers!
Er... on second thoughts, do I really want my genetic code spliced with black vomity water? Hold on... let me find my galoshes...
That is why I have never had a wedding ring! I would either lose it or let it drop down a drain ... poor you for having to do such disgusting work. I hope your wife gave you a full body massage with scented oils later.
Emma: I'm going to ask my wife to read your comment immediately. Bless you.
I knew that you'd be a hero one day, it was only a matter of time.
Inchy: I'm currently being fitted for a cape. Obviously it needs to be "easy-kleen"...
Steve, mate what is it you actually do?
The actual title is "building supervisor" but it covers a multitude of sins - maintenance issues, security / fire safety issues, risk assessments, health & safety, a bit of IT gubbins thrown in, helping mount exhibitions when neeeded and lots of grubby little jobs that nobody else wants. I can send you a copy of my CV if you like.
No thanks mate, I can't even spell CV.
That's the kind of boss I need to work for...
I would have vomited - I hate that mucoid muck stuff. Even the thought of it had me gagging. Urgh! Not that vomiting would have been useful - although stomach acid might have had a pleasing effect on the ring.
Hope your today was better?
Owen said to drop in on you because you were good and you are!!!
I shall be back
Gina: maybe we could start a jewellery cleaning business together? The next day was much better - I kept my hands relatively dry and clean...! ;-)
Selina: Owen's a darling - thank you so much for dropping by (I'm now going to head roud to yours); do hope I'll see you again! :-)
Like Gina I hate 'mucoid muck' stuff.
I've just got to walk past something horrible in the street and I start retching.
Aren't post-it notes old-hat?
Surely it should be emails?
Mind you, with a post-it note you can always say, 'What note? I never got that' about the ones you want to avoid. Can't with emails.
AWB: you can do the same with emails. Just delete them and deny all knowledge of having received them. Or act abashed and say you accidentally deleted it. Works for me on a daily basis.
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