It was freezing cold and pouring with rain on the way to work this morning. These conditions are not conducive to a happy Otternator at the best of times, and they were not helped by the fact that I am still trying to work out what time to get the bus in the morning from the new flat. It's a much more complicated system than this sounds - you have to take into account not only the bus timetable, but also the weather conditions, whether it is a bus that passes the local college (if so, the bus will be packed with students and you won't be able to sit down for twenty minutes and you can feel people judging you by the Glee/Dolly Parton playlist visible on your ipod) and many other small but potentially journey-altering details.
I was already a little stressed and really all I wanted was to drag myself pathetically to my desk and begin my day in relative peace. So naturally, when I had barely had taken my coat off and was accosted by a colleague demanding to know about the photocopier in my department, I accepted it (with a mental sigh) as an expected chain of events. The universe does like to test my patience sometimes.
Colleague: I heard this photocopier wasn't working properly.
Me: I really wouldn't know. I just sit near it.
JanetteFM: (singing in background at what can only be described at glass-shattering volume) Oooh, I never can say goodbye boy...
Colleague: But So-And-So said that it (consulting paper in hand) 'chewed up paper' and the 'print quality is poor'?
My colleague says this in a rather snippy tone which suggests that the photocopier is like a bad puppy who has just wee'd all over her flowerbeds, and I am some kind of careless owner who is wantonly encouraging Photocopier Puppy to do this, with a blatant disrespect for anyone else's printing requirements.
Me: I don't know. Maybe? Mine have all been fine.
Colleague: Right, so, did you see whether the print was poor quality? Or whether the paper was chewed?
She glares sternly, first at me, then at the Photocopier Puppy, who seems, against the laws of inanimate objects, to be trying to edge guiltily behind the shredder.
JanetteFM: (banging pen on desk to provide the loudest possible rhythmical accompaniment) I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no...
Me: I honestly could not tell you. I don't check everyone's documents. And it's not, like, MY photocopier.
This is all taking place before 9.30am, which is the World of Otternator is an unacceptable time to be doing anything, far less doing it so loudly that the delicate and treasured ornaments on your desk shelf are quivering. I try to compose myself by taking a couple of deep, soothing breaths and thinking about the lovely hot beverage I'm going to make myself. Futurecoffee, futurecoffee... Repeat as needed.
Colleague: (peering into drawers of photocopier) There's a box of paper here.
Me: Fascinating. I should start-
JanetteFM: (really getting into the swing of it) OooOOh ooOOOh...BABY!
Colleague: (not listening to either me or JanetteFM) Why is there a box of paper here?
Me: (pinches nose) I have no idea. Listen, I just got in. I really need to-
Colleague: (as if she's doing me a favour) You know what, I'll find out and let you know.
Me: But none of this is anything to do with me. At all. I don't even work in Facilities. Also, I don't care.
Colleague: (calling over shoulder) I'll be back later on.
Me: (rests head on desk in despair) 'Kay.
This goes to show that no matter what I say, no one listens. This is probably for the best, all things considered, but it can sometimes be a little soul-destroying. It does mean I can make up some really inventive swear words, so I guess every cloud has a silver lining. Besides, the photocopier hasn't chewed any of my documents up yet, so I'm holding on to the smug belief that I'm its favourite person. Score.