Tuesday, 15 January 2008
He came over to me, conspiratorially, with an umbrella tucked under his arm. There was no-one else around - to speak of - but he was acting cautious, just in case. As it happened, I was updating my Outlook contacts and checking I hadn't missed transferring any to the new mobile, etc., scanning the Outlook contacts page, two mobiles and a printed sheet I have propped up agin the workstation divider. These modern working practices don't seem to lend themselves to personalisation, so the list of phone numbers is all that there is to decorate the dark blue divider. Me, I'm just glad to have my back to the wall. Could come in very handy.
"I'm sorry if I was harsh on the boy earlier," he said. Harshness in an office is not really harshness, but it's all about context after all. Harshness in my neck of the woods is a shiv in the back cos you ain't produced your drug money, but in SW1 it means something else. Jack (for that is what he shall be named) had been harsh on the boy for his delay in setting up a Business Centre on the ground floor, and his harshness had manifested itself in a slightly raised tone of voice. Ooh, I'm scared...
But, in a strange way, I was scared.
Jack leaned in closer, raising a non-existent eyebrow as he spoke:
"It's just... with the service delivery... (he pauses a good deal when he speaks, and I couldn't help thinking about his personal life. Does he go home and pause when he talks to his wife? Does he castigate his kids for 'failing to deliver on their GCSEs' or some shit?)... From this... area... Well, you either get things done or you don't get things done... Sometimes they need to be managed with a foot to the throat... Good luck."
He walked out into the rain.
A foot to the throat, eh? I'll remember that.