Lunch plays a critical role in working life in happy Brachau.
No matter how many meandering conference calls you have about bugger all, no matter how many pointless badly written poorly spelt rambling email queries you need to turn around, no matter how many slide packs you have to pull together at a moment’s notice for the latest knee jerk reaction of the Director of Paperclips, there’s something comforting about knowing you down tools around high noon and slope downstairs to the canteen (or, laughably, “staff restaurant”) to talk nonsense.
The usual cast of characters is Iain, Gemma and me. That’s the core, the Three Musketeers. We have a range of special guest stars, depending who’s in – possibly a visitor from BT, possibly someone else in the team, but the core is Iain, Gemma and me. And we love to talk nonsense. And smut. Did I mention the smut? A lunch without smut is like an episode of “Last of the Summer Wine” without a bathtub sliding down a hillside or a morning without a meandering conference call about bugger all. It’s just not right.
The banter at lunchtime today was fairly representative. For instance, we started musing about Gemma’s missing yoghurt. As the food is so rank we nearly all bring our own packed lunches in, and Gemma brought a yoghurt in this week that looked pretty special. Virtually fat free with vanilla and chocolate sprinkles. I recall Gemma boasting at length in the kitchen about how delicious it looked, and that was her fatal mistake. The next day when she went to take it down for lunch it was gone. Just like that. My inferior low fat yoghurt was intact – because there’s no justice. I know which one I would have nicked. I know for a fact that colleagues in the bay next to mine have covetously peeked at her pesto pasta salad before, so the signs were definitely there - this was an incident waiting to happen.
Suspicion alighted on our sinister cleaners (aka “facilities operatives”) Peter and Magda. They are never seen apart. Magda is a gratifyingly sour faced woman and Peter is a man with the moustache of a porn star and a body that could never live up to the promise of said moustache. Phil in my team has become obsessed that every chance they get they are in the store cupboard bumping uglies. I am expecting him to come in one Sunday and drill a spy hole in the door. Regrettably I decided to link the proximity of the cupboard to the kitchen with Magda and Peter’s alleged proclivities and ended up suggesting that Peter and Magda might have stolen the yoghurt to use it in the wrongest way imaginable. A lunch where I don’t even slightly put Iain and Gemma off their food isn’t really a proper lunch, not in my book anyway.
I don’t know how we got from there to talking about Stephen Hawking having sex. I have tried and tried again to remember the way the conversation flowed into that subject but it sort of came out of nowhere (not something Stephen Hawking is likely to ever do. You can’t sneak up on someone in a motorised wheelchair). But the lunch culminated with me and Iain impersonating Stephen Hawking talking dirty with his electronic voicebox.
Try it some time. It sets you up nicely for an afternoon of poring over pointless spreadsheets or trying to understand why the “room booking system” at work is designed to make room booking as difficult as possible. I once booked a room in our office which didn’t even exist. I found out when I turned up outside where it was meant to be on the day of the meeting – with some colleagues who were in my meeting – to find it just plain wasn’t there. I half wondered whether you were meant to run through the wall at great speed like Platform 9 ¾. But that’s another story.
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