18 January, 2006

Mouth almighty

At work, news of my almost-imminent departure has been more or less completely overshadowed by the recent shift in premises, which as far as I'm concerned is a wholly Good Thing. I'd hate to be the subject of endless cross-examinations over when I'm leaving (still not quite sure), how I feel (with my hands), where I'm going to live (London, of course), and what I'll miss most when I'm gone (certainly not these kinds of questions).

There's one exception, as there is to every rule, and that's the woman who sits opposite me and who's been one of the biggest banes of my working life for the last three and a bit years.

There's a back story here, and that is the fact she's announced to me loads of times how she's "about to quit" and "wants to leave" and "will be walking out next week". But she never does.

She's always there, each Monday morning, back again, quite prepared to behave as if her intention to disappear was a mere figment of my imagination. She gets more abuse and crap from the boss than anybody else, but never does anything about it. It's really beyond a joke. I'm afraid I have no sympathy or respect for her, and haven't had for a long time. But now that I've fashioned a means of escape, she's as bitter as hell and uses every opportunity she can to snipe and gripe and get one over on me.

She called me "obnoxious" the other day for simply reminding her I couldn't send her some document or other as the e-mail system was down after the office move. "You won't be able to pull that sort of face in your new job," she snapped today, after I'd visibly winced at the boss's latest demented decision. Well of course - and I won't be pulling those kinds of faces because I won't have those kinds of bosses or be surrounded by those kinds of fellow employees.

It's supposed to be a truism that there are people like this in every workplace, but surely not as relentlessly wearying or morally bankrupt as this. So much shouting goes on in my office that when I leave at 5.30pm the sound of people's voices echoes in my head for a good hour or so, yet it's always hers that rings loudest and longest. She's taken her toll on me - literally - more than she'll ever know, but more than I'd ever dare admit to her face.


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