Massively Unproductive Telephone Conversations.
Receptionist: Oh I’m sorry she’s off until tomorrow. Who’s calling?
Me: It’s Tired at the Department.
Receptionist: Oh right, well Rachel will be able to help you. I’ll but you through? [You’re not Australian, I think. Don’t make a statement sound like a question]
Rachel: Hello, Rachel speaking.
Me: Hello, this is Tired at the Department.
Rachel: Oh Hi. Erm. Oh. Right. It’s Caroline you really need to speak to…
Me: Is it.
Rachel: Yeah… um. She’s in tomorrow? [Christ, you as well]
Me: Is she.
Me: Tomorrow it is.
I know I should appreciate the willingness to help, and welcome the delight of speaking to new people I would never normally encounter but really. Fuck. Off.
Two hours later.
Me: …and do you know why, ‘cos I’ll tell you. I have no interest in becoming one of those witless wonders who gaze into the neon oblong glare of their unbearable twat-machines, surrounded by friends in their favourite bar while someone normal like me sits thinking ‘Christ this is excellent, I’m so glad I came out to watch these fucknuts play Texas Hold ‘Em with a twelve-year old transvestite in Wisconsin’ and no, actually no I very much doubt that it ‘impresses the chicks’ as you suggest – I know you’re being ‘ironic’ but even so –
Female Client: You think smoking ‘impresses the chicks’.
Me: It does. It makes you look ‘cool’, ‘hard’ and ‘grown-up’. All fiddling with a fucking iPhone gets you is the utter contempt of anyone who sees you sitting on the tube swirling your fingers over the fucking thing like it was your girlfiend’s vagina which, incidently, if you gave the proper attention to you would find the desire for a smart-fucking-phone would never of crossed your mind in the first place-
FC: Tired? What did you call for?
Me: I honestly can’t remember now. You’ve made me all cross and I’ve lost my train of thought.
FC: We really should meet for a drink sometime.
Unproductive on a business front, but also an opportunity to have an ill-advised affair with a married client. So. Unproductive then.
Four hours later.
I’ve missed my normal bus home due to lengthy unproductive telephone calls, and retire to a bar across the street from the bus ‘rank’ or whatever you call them.
It’s an alright place. It’s not part of a chain, has the impression of being a bit of a labour of love and is filled with ageing indie-kids, various other ‘alternative’ types, people who refer to themselves as ‘creatives’ who are actually ‘Mac operators’ and men in suits who like to pretend they are still ‘with it’ and that the Chartered Accountancy thing is just a day job.
I sit with my drink. A song by a band I quite like comes over the speakers from what I am sure is a 'mix-tape' or whatever the current equivalent is that has been put together by a member of the bar staff. An ageing indie-kid takes the stool next to me and starts fiddling with his mobile phone. I instantly dislike him but can’t really justify it as I’m one of the suit-guys who are kidding themselves, and in my time off I’m also an ageing indie-kid. Dreadful. I need a proper reason to hate him that doesn’t reflect on myself.
He phones someone.
Ageing Indie-Kid: Steve? Steve-O! It’s Nathan! How you doin’ fella? Long time no speak, thought I’d catch up with the Stevester! Fella, you sound out of breath, you ok? Oh right. In bed? Christ. Didn’t wake you did I? No? Sweet. So listen, thing is I need somewhere to crash and…. Yeah? Really? Jesus. So how’d that work? You just say to him I need to know where this is going, will you move in with me? Oh you did? Wow. Anyway, just for a few days and……right. Yeah. Sure. Understood. I’ll let you get back to sleep.
It’s five-thirty in the afternoon. I imagine Stephen – who surely does not relish being referred to as ‘Steve-O’ or ‘the Stevester’ throwing his phone across the room and getting back to the slightly more pressing business of enthusiastically fucking his new live-in boyfriend.
Nathan: Toby? Nathan! How you doin’ fella? Yeah? Sweet. Listen. There’s this thing, and I need somewhere to crash – you know, just for a couple of days and…… Really? Christ. That was quick. Where to? Hello? No you went a bit quiet. Where to fella? Plymouth? Wow, that literally couldn’t be further away. Jesus, what a job eh? Anyway. Much love yeah?
I go from briefly despising him to noticing the array of bags around his feet and wondering where he’ll sleep that night. And then deciding that he should have got a proper job as opposed to being the musician/writer/artist/whatever he has obviously decided upon and stop being a dreadful burden to everyone he encounters and let them get on with some sex and not having to make up stories about moving to Cornwall.
My bus is due. I finish my drink and leave.