Thursday, 31 March 2016
After four years of working in the library with people more accurately described as 'playmates' than 'colleagues', it's finally happened - I've got a regular shift with a boring bloke.
Try as I might, I can't connect with this guy's fun side. If I make the effort to initiate a conversation, he will chat to me desultorily about music, films, cooking, and then turn back to his screen. He is determined to spend his 4.5 hours checking emails, scouring job adverts, reading the Daily Mail website, and sometimes even doing actual work. It is nothing I've ever encountered before. And it happens on Friday evenings - the slowest night of the week, so there isn't even the distraction of customers to break up the tedium.
I text a friend one night, an ex-colleague whom I shall call Sam because that is his name, when the dull man is away from the desk, complaining of boredom.
Sam texts back with a string of helpful suggestions:
[7.59pm] Call him a perfumed porno-vampire. Tell him he doesn't have to be a prostitute. He can say "no" to being a man-whore, a male gigolo.
[8.00pm] Arrange a twisted nativity scene at the desk for when he gets back. Rope in some patrons if you need to.
[8.01pm] Put a gibbon as wallpaper on his PC.
[8.02pm] Hunt him in the book room. With a big butterfly net.
[8.05pm] Google Nicolas Cage gifs on his PC and leave the windows open. A different window for each Cage gif.
[8.06pm] Study up on Mormonism and try and get him to convert.
[8.07pm] Same thing, but with Satanism.
[8.07pm] Ask him if he can explain wind.
[8.10pm] Engage him in a conversation about soup, but pronounce it "sop". Take it seriously, but don't be confrontational. If he gets wound up, say you should "agree to disagree".
[8.12pm] Feign a really exaggerated facial tic and when he comments on it deny it straight to his face.
Sam, quite honestly, is no help at all.
EDIT: The dull man has now stopped getting up to go swimming at 6am every morning before his real (day) job, which he does before he comes to this (evening) job, and a transformation has happened: now he moves, he laughs, he speaks! He even makes me cups of tea sometimes. The moral of this story, people, is that exercise is bad for you.