Workplace Relations

In my working life, I am surrounded by people that bother me. They bother me on levels that I'm only just beginning to fathom, but it really does have an enormous impact on my life. Working makes me happy, but an unhappy work environment invariably spills over into my regular life – at home, I'm dour and uncommunicative after a day at work. I blame the people around me. The people I work with are animals. Our communal kitchen is a riot of smells and curry-stained crockery. Despite the lovingly hand-lettered signs exhorting each employee to wash their dishes when they're done, the teetering pile of plates and coffee mugs grows ever-larger on a daily basis. Even the cleaner has been beaten by the problem. I found this hand-written note scrawled on a scrap of paper towelling and stuck to the fridge. It reads: "Dear dirty mongrels, For months now I've tried to keep this area in a basic state of cleanliness. Despite the valiant efforts of both myself and the powerful chemical cleaning agents I employ, it would appear that the germs in this kitchen now have the upper hand. I have fought hard and long, but this bacterial battle is my Waterloo. I shall make my last stand at 6pm this evening. If I should fail, please inform my wife that I love her very much. I must go now. The microbes approach – I can hear their tiny footsteps as they march in search of food to surround with their miniscule bottoms and eat in a fashion that boggles the imagination. Here they come..." The note was discovered three weeks ago – no one has seen hide nor hair of Brian or his SuperMop Industrial Cleaning Kit since. His car is still in the car park, though – if it's raining tonight, I might steal it and drive it home. I hate to catch the bus. But it's not just the kitchen that's turned feral at work. The bathroom is beyond any decent level of hygiene. Yesterday the issue came to a head. I wandered to the bathroom for my afternoon ablutions, which happen like clockwork between my 2:45pm coffee and 3:00pm cigarette break. I normally start to feel like using the bathroom at lunchtime each day, but I have learnt a very important lesson during the years I've spent in the workforce. When you feel the vague stirring of your bowel at 12:30, it's best to ignore it, hold it in, and wait until you've punched back in after your midday meal – you should always strive to shit on company time, and not your own. Someone who also subscribes to that theory was in the bathroom yesterday afternoon. To say that they went in to the bathroom for 'a crap' is true in every sense of the words – somehow, it seemed, they managed to unload an entire poops-worth of faeces in a single, grossly malformed turd. Of course, given its mastodonic proportions, the turd steadfastly refused to be flushed, preferring instead to haunt the bowl, swelling malevolently with each attempt to dislodge it. One by one, my male colleagues went to the bathroom over the course of the afternoon, each emerging ashen-faced and clearly distressed. I was sixth in line to use the bathroom, and my reaction upon entering was to utter an oath to whatever gods I could, all the while performing a passable imitation of Macauley Culkin in Home Alone – mouth agape, hands slapped to my cheeks and with eyes the size of dinner plates, I stared in awe. By 4:00pm, nearly everyone had seen it. Several suggestions as to its nature were put forward, and several plans of action were canvassed. Was it a harp seal that had lost its way? Should we ring the Environmental Protection Agency and inform them that something horrible and blob-like looked set to emerge from the sewer and overrun Sydney? Was someone, somewhere dazed and ill from forcing this four-ton monster from their rectum? In the end, we called it Mr T. "I pity the fool who shat me out" reads the poster on the toilet wall now, complete with photo of Mr T draped in gold chains and looking menacing. I miss the A-Team – it was a really good show. When we arrived at work this morning, Mr T was gone. A trail of slime led from the bathroom to the air conditioning duct which feeds the bad air out into the atmosphere – wherever Mr T has gone to, it's probably a better place.

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