An Apology. That I Must Never Make In Person.
I’ve a lot of time for Russell. He’s calm and unflappable; a problem-solver and problem-averter who has noticed costly mistakes of mine and others before they’ve even happened, and who is quietly marking his time before retirement. A solid, reliable man, from the days when they still made them.
He completes his errand and heads back out, approaching and passing both my desk and those of three of my female colleagues.
Something odd happens.
Everything starts moving in slow motion. My three female colleagues start appraising Russell From Admin in a new light. That song from that dreadful Diet Coke advert starts playing. One female colleague actually removes her reading glasses to get a better look at him. I can’t swear to this, but I think one of them actually removed a hair-pin and slowly shook loose a mane of luxuriant raven-hair as he passed. The third narrows her eyes and slowly nods to herself as she gazes at him, one hand toying with the top button on her blouse.
Russell From Admin smiles to himself, and leaves the office with a noticeable and new-found spring in his step.
Everything returns to normal, the music stops playing and reality runs at 24 frames per second again as usual.
Female Colleague #1: [Addressing me] No. I don’t think he’s grown a moustache.
Me: Are you sure? I mean, he’s got one of those faces that look like he should have one anyway but I could have sworn...
Female Colleague #2: Naw. I had a decent gander myself and he definitely hasn’t. Know what you mean though. And with the grey hair and that. Easy mistake. But naw.
Me: Right. Oh well thanks. Didn’t just want to go up to him and stare at his top lip. You know?
Female Colleague #3: Yeah, because that would have been weird. [Does or does not fix her hair back into place. I’m still not sure] No ‘tach. Certain.
Me: Ah. Ok then. Thanks. As you were.
I’m sorry, Russell From Admin. You have not ‘still got it’.