So there I was, minding my own business as usual, making my mid-morning cup of coffee in the office’s kitchen. I was waiting for the kettle to boil and merrily dug my spoon into a jar of Nutella when one of my male colleagues walked in to get some water. I sighed contently and thinking aloud with the Nutella jar in my hand, I said If you were a man, I’d marry you.
Said colleague looked at me curiously, and then commented that he thinks it’s gay for men to eat Nutella and that he’d rather not gain weight from twirling a spoon around in a jar. I was quite surprised. It was really the oddest statement because he’s barely 23 years old and I’m quite certain his entire body weighs less than my right thigh, knee-caps included.
I glanced at him sideways, pointed my freshly licked spoon at him and said that right there, is the gayest thing I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t want to eat Nutella because it makes him feel like a woman, yet he’s worried about his weight...
I thought about it later that day and laughed silently to myself. It takes all kinds to make this world go around. I shouldn’t be surprised because in all the years that I’m working, in the various posts and positions I had secured, I’ve always worked with the weirdest lot of people.
I blogged about the all kooky quirky men I worked with at the Plant before... you can read that here.
And then I can recall talking about Leon, the guy that came in the office every morning and went on and on, explaining in elaborate detail, the consistency and texture of his faeces that morning... the most fascinating one was after he ate a packet of Cashew Nuts... something like Peanut Butter apparently.
There was James. I remember talking about wanting to buy a kilo of minced meat, removing all the fat from it, and then taking the fat back to the butcher, demanding a refund in my Girls Behaving Badly post... that’s where I got it from... he actually did that!
And there was Sandy, who was a qualified Dentist, an established professional artist with various exhibitions throughout the world and an aspiring Game Driver, working in Tech Support.
But my favourite from all of them was Dean. He was definitely the most fascinating. No one could make me laugh the way Dean could with his particular brand of sarcastic wit that was unparallel to me at that time. I met Dean about 10 years ago when we both worked in the Private Investigative field. He was already in his mid-forties and spent a good 12 years of his youth as a flight attendant for South African Airways. For a solid 3 years in that time, he spent every single weekend in London, flying out on Friday night and returning Monday morning – a nice weekend getaway paid and sponsored by SAA.
But it was Dean’s antics in his personal life had me in fits most of the time. Once he had ordered a Chicken Schnitzel at a Restaurant that came highly recommended by the waiter and he ended up contracting food poisoning and spent the rest of the week hugging his toilet, either throwing up or crapping his brains out. He returned to work LIVID with the Restaurant. He then complained to them telephonically, and when they said that they couldn’t refund him for the meal and offered him a voucher for another meal instead, he threatened to go over there, pull down his pants and shit at the entrance (and he was serious about it too)...
I overheard the entire conversation and it was so funny, I laughed for MONTHS! Every time I recalled his reaction, it would elicit a fresh batch of uncontrollable hysterics.
He had the worst luck. It was always something with him... someone pissing him off or something driving him insane – most times legitimately so.
There was the time he cancelled a magazine subscription, but they billed him for an additional month anyway, without his knowledge. He never received an account after that, so he remained unaware of the R25 that he owed (that’s EUR€2.50 or GBP£2 or less than USD$3). Then one day, after looking around and agonising over the decision for weeks, he went out to buy a new car only to find that he had been Blacklisted, not only in the country, but all over the world. He ended up in court with an appeal and it was this huge thing... all for R25 that rightfully, he didn’t even owe. And again, he was LIVID... cursing them and wanting to slash tires.
But for all his drama, he was hugely entertaining – and it wasn’t only what he said, but how he said it that would send me rolling on the floor laughing. I would laugh so much that he would end up laughing too while shaking his head in disgust at his predicament.
It’s amazing how much of our work lives we take home with us... all the friendships we foster, all the people we meet (and those we’d like to forget) that make enough of an impression on us to be remembered long after we’ve moved on.