With the fastidiousness of a pedant, I scan the office diary tutting out loud at the badly clustered appointments, before growling in dissatisfaction as I note the gaping expanses in the comments and feedback section of the viewing book. By the time the postman pops his head round the door I’m ready to kill something. It’s not healthy.
‘Plenty of brown one’s today.’ Quips the postman whose seemingly simplistic job I yearn after some mornings, until it pisses down with rain and I remember my bad back.
‘Get plenty of brown one’s most days.’ I tell him dryly. He misses the point, probably proving why he’s a postman - then thrusts a registered envelope at me.
Signing for a piece of post is never a good thing. In the office, it certainly won’t be a gift of any value. Experience tells me it’ll be something nasty. Probably not a letter bomb, but possibly something just as incendiary. A solicitor threatening legal action perhaps? A subpoena for a court date on a fee dispute, or maybe even my old friends at the Trading Standards Office with another spurious property misdescription investigation that they feel is the crime of the century, but is more likely to just be someone mistyping a measurement.
‘Friggin accounts.’ I spit towards the overhead lighting as I see the curt threat of legal action a supplier has been reduced to, all because some numpty at head office has failed to push the right piece of paper in the right direction. In time gone by I could have sanctioned the payment myself and ensured a local relationship wasn’t sullied by cost cutting and incompetence, but I’m no longer allowed. The bean counter boss has a lot to answer for.
Brief echoing rant vented to the office void, last expletive bouncing back of the filing cabinet like a ricochet, I move to open my emails. Down they scroll, on and on, each one demanding a response, few of any merit whatsoever. If only you could put that particular genie back in its lamp, that really would be progress. Then my eye catches the latest missive from the arse-coverers at HQ. Operating procedure in the event of a terrorist attack.
‘Run like F**k?’ Posits assistant manager T as I raise the issue at the end of my morning meeting, then hand out the reams of verbiage I’ve had to print off. So much for saving the planet.
‘Not the right option, or the right language.’ I chide sniffily. Apparently there’s a new law coming down the pipe that allows employees to extort compensation or retribution of some kind, if a fellow staff member so much as hints at something that might offend their tender disposition. Swearing, badly conceived jokes and sexual innuendo in the office are all to be halted. Not much point in coming in then.
‘Evacuate the building?’ Offers mortgage man mountain M before lumbering to his feet and informing the assembly he too is about to evacuate. Terrific, I won’t be able to get near the gents’ toilet for at least another hour. Now there is a weapon of mass destruction.
‘They are hardly likely to want to blow up an estate agents office are they?’ Questions negotiator S, naively.
‘Not unless they’ve just lost a contract race.’ Suggests T wryly.
He has a point. We’re probably more in danger from disgruntled buyers or sellers than religious fanatics. I’ve had a few threats over the years and at least one flying piece of furniture, but no bombs yet.
‘There’d be nowhere to run to.’ Suggest lettings tramp B. Not in those heels I think uncharitably. ‘Best just grab someone for a last shag.’ She concludes, to an awkward silence. One not helped by S catching my eye to our mutual discomfort.
I’ll just wait for the big bang.