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Archive for August, 2005

[*Warning: This post may contain words dating back to another era*]
The 1st of September is traditionally celebrated as Spring Day in South Africa. And to mark this rather wicked occasion, the entertainment committee at my company has decided to celebrate in it style.
Now Sept 1 is not to be confused with the SPRING EQUINOX (22 September) which is of course the official’ first day of the Season of Spring (incidentally also the birthdays of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins)– when the Sun crosses the Equator moving southward. For most ppl here, 22 September is of little significance and will most likely only get a mention at the end of the 8 o’clock news bulletin.
Seeing as 1 Sept falls on a Thursday, the committee, in a wise and unprecedented move, decided to move the celebrations to Friday the 2nd. Unreal, man!
The Chitster likes a good celebration. String the words party, celebrate and booze together in one sentence and you have my immediate and undivided attention. What can I say? A good plan needs very little convincing and I didn’t get out much when I was a child. .
There is however a condition attached to this party. It has a theme! And this year’s theme is… (strike that triangle, Bertha) FLOWER POWER! All the employees (including those we have resigned) are required to dress up in sixties/seventies regalia and pay tribute to the counterculture movement.
Now I think the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s were awesome, but that is just it … they were awesome in the 60’s and the 70’s. Who wants to dress up like a hippie in 2005? Seemingly, a lot of people do! Flower power and the spring day celebration…what a stretch of the imagination. I bet it took all of one joint to come up with that gem. I think Mrs. [B], who heads the entertainment committee, is a member of the neo-hippie movement. That would explain the love beads on her wrist. I got my eye on you Mrs[B]… so don’t tempt me!
When I asked about other aspects of the hippie culture such as recreational drugs, free love, spiritualism and wild sex orgies, I was told to mellow out and leave the planning to those who know what they are doing.
There will be prizes for the best dressed cat and chick. When I discreetly enquired (again) if the marijuana leaf tattooed on my right butt cheek counts as flower power… it was met with a scowl that would make even Donald Rumsfeld flinch. So much for that brilliant plan!
They say when you can’t beat them… join them. So I have decided to play along and dress up (dress down?) in my finest threads… torn bellbottom jeans, raggedy paisley shirt, flip-flops, and bandanna. I will adorn my face and arms with day-glo flowers and whatever other groovy symbols signify the sixties. BUT… I will however draw the line at Bob Dylan’s music. I hear one Bob Dylan song played at the party and I will strip down to my underwear and show off my tattoo!! (Do you hear me, Mrs. [B]?)
Far out, man! Let’s bring on the Summer of Love. And if you get tired of the listening to the psychedelic 60s tunes, take the stairs up to the roof. I will be the one holding the bong, chatting to Bob Marley and John Lennon and dancing to the tune of Burn Baby Burn! Dig it?

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What if your financials for this project is based on the wrong assumptions?
This is the question that set off an entire debate this morning. (Gimme one large spool of 3/4″ solid braid nylon rope to go, please?)
Now on the surface this sounds like a right reasonable question to ask and kudos to the guy who brought it up. When one is about to invest a substantial amount of money in a project, one would like to have some guarantee that the money will be well spent and that the project is a winner. It makes good business sense.
It is however not a good question to ask when I had just spend 40 minutes going over the pros and cons of various project scenarios and presented you with a substantial amount of facts and data that clearly support my approach to the project. Don’t you just hate it when this happens?
It makes you look stupid. It also turns a one hour presentation into a two hour meeting with us rehashing the same old shit… over and over.
Where have you been you dope-smokin’ moron? Have you been fondling yourself underneath the table?
I have a “what if” for you. What if I were to come over there and stick my foot up your ass?
The questions you should be asking yourself is: Does anyone really care what I think and where can I get clean underwear?
I hate you George! You drive like a girl and your mother dresses you funny. I’ll wait for you in the parking lot when school…. I mean work… comes out.

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I’ve just been told that I will be going on a 3 day team building exercise with my soon-to-be-ex colleagues. Yippee…. I am so happy.
I tried to argue that I am leaving the company soon, but the boss pointed out that I am an employee and a member of the department until the end of this year. Hence, I am going.
I actually thought hard about playing the I-know-how-you-get-your-freak-on card (do I get a yay from the congregation?), but then I may need to use it for something more substantial and much more valuable. [Bide your time Chitty and play that card only when you absolutely need it]
I am not fond of team building breakaways. The underlying principals that supposedly govern them are good, but let’s face it, people just go along to get time off from work and to behave badly. I can’t even remember half of the getaways I’ve attended. Perhaps that says it all.
We will strategize and assign actions, agree on outcomes, goals and the way forward. We’ll get all buddy-buddy and kiss-your-ass with our colleagues, but by the time we get back to the office all will be forgotten. The issues will be stored in a dark cupboard until the next team building getaway.
Of course we will have fun too. We will take part in silly, albeit great fun, team building activities. There’ll be lots of boozing, strange and out of character behavior. A few reputations may even be lost along the way. You may even get to like a few people and find out more (way more) about some of your colleagues than you care to know, but that is part and parcel of the package I suppose.
Strangely enough there is one event that sticks out in my mind from the last getaway I attended. It was a team building exercise demonstrating the need for clear and effective communication and trust. Each team, consisting of two ppl, had to row a canoe across the length of a swimming pool. One of them blindfolded (the rower?), while the other (your partner) called out directions in getting you across to the other side. Being blindfolded, this was a recipe for a disaster. I knew that the minute I became aware that Rich (my partner) had trouble distinguishing his left from my left and his right from my right.
With Rich calling out instructions and by following the sound of his voice, I managed to move forward in a straight line for about the first 2 meters only. Thereafter things just went badly… very badly.
By the time I reached the middle of the pool, I was at a friggin right angle to the other canoes in the pool, cutting across their paths as I headed for the side of the pool. People were shouting and screaming for me to get out of their way. Someone even hit me with a paddle. It wasn’t long before collided full on with one of the other contestants. The canoe rocked form side to side; I lost my balance and went under like the Titanic. I swallowed a bellyfull of smelly pool water. When I tried to come up for air, I knocked my head on the bottom of one of the canoes above. Dizzy. My God… I was going to die… blindfolded… at the bottom of a swimming pool at the hand of Sir Richard the Dyslexic. I wondered if one could get Absolut Martinis in heaven, ‘cos if I couldn’t, I was going be one pissed-off dead person. And seeing as I swallowed about a gallon of swimming pool water, I was going to walk around with swimming pool-breath for all of eternity. Man that sucks!
And then, just like magic, my feet touched the floor of the swimming pool. I stood up and the water only came up to my waist. Fuckit… now that was just plain bloody nasty!!!. Having made peace with the fact that I was about to die and grow wings… being able to stand up was just not on. I wanted people to jump in the pool as they tried to save me, drag me over to the side and give me mouth to mouth resuscitation. I wanted a dramatic TV-style near-death experience that would make my mother proud. I wanted girls to faint and regret the fact that they had not slept with me and would not be able to bear my children. Most of all I wanted Richard to rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life as my untimely death would conveniently be blamed on him. Justice… Chitty style!
I exited the pool to much ridicule and hysterical laughter of my colleagues. I hated Richard, who very wisely, decided not to hang around. He may be dyslexic, but the boy is not stupid.
Perhaps going on a getaway is not so bad. After all, it is an opportunity to drink Martini’s and get revenge on some unsuspecting fool (the boss perhaps?) for the humiliation I had suffered. I always wanted to make my mark in this company… the team building camp could be the perfect opportunity.

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My girlfriend has no sense of direction. And when I say no sense of direction, I mean no sense at all… nada… zilch. She could get lost in her own backyard even though she lives in a complex and her garden is about the size of my office.
I just spend 40 minutes on the phone giving her directions to where she wanted to go. It would have saved us both a lot of time if she had just come by my office, picked me up and took me with her. I basically made the entire journey with her even though I did not set a foot outside of my office.
When I started off by telling her, “You have to head north on the N3”, all I got in return was silence. Eventually she replied, “I haven’t the slightest idea which way north is. Tell me where to go in terms of suburbs and buildings and landmarks.”
Luckily for her I am a super being with a photographic memory (NOT!) and can remember every detail of every road and every landmark on the way to a place that I have never been to myself. What could be simpler than that?
I was completely stumped.
ME: Uhhh… honey, do you have a map book of JHB and its suburbs with you in the car?
SHE: Yes, I do, but that I do not know how to use it.
ME: So what do you use the book for?
SHE: Oh in case there is someone with me and they can look up the directions in the book. (Now why didn’t I think of that… of course… the answer was staring me right in the face…. Aaarrgggghhh)
ME Oh really…?
That was all I could get out. I honestly did not know what else to say.
Anyway we managed to get her to where she wanted to be. Of course I am now completely bald as I had managed to pull all the hair from the top my head. I’ll stick it back on with superglue before I leave this evening.
Step by grueling step, with her relaying information to me regarding the road she was on, the road signs she saw, the lane she was in and the speed she was traveling at. More information on the buildings and landmarks she passed along the way, traffic lights, the occasional car passing her, etc. We lost the cell phone signal a few times and that just made it all so much easier. Two silly kids in love, traveling the highways and byways of JHB’s northern suburbs. Oh what fun we had!!!
If you are ever in JHB and you somehow manage to get lost, please call me up… I’m in the book under:

IN NEED ROAD MAPS AND DRIVING DIRECTIONS? CALL THE BALD PSYCHIC HELP LINE FOR THE PERSONAL TOUCH. NO CHARGE”

I’d be only too happy to be of service.
Note to self: If you should ever break up with the current gf, a STANDARD pre-requisite for any potential new gf would be the ability to read a road map. In fact, knowledge of roads and maps is an absolute MUST.

Now go and play with your little compasses… Uncle Chitty wants to slip into a coma.

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Ever the patriot!

We kicked Aussie ass on Aussie soil and I (and the SA team of course) have the battle scars to prove it!!!!
The Boks beat Australia 22-19 in the Subiaco Oval on Saturday. True to tradition and not having learnt A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G from the previous tri-nations games, I gallantly proceeded to sacrifice my liver for the love of the sport and for my country. It was NOT a pretty site… but these things seldom are!
The entire Sunday was spent in recovery as I tried to kick-start the handful of brain cells I had left and attempted to donate my liver to sports research at UCT in the hopes of procuring a new one. Sadly the offer was turned down.
WELL DONE BOKKE!!

(In the bag! – photo courtesy of sarugby.net)

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Gather ’round

Ok… comments on the post below necessitate that give I up my day job and become an online gossip columnist. Suits me fine… I have just one question; “what is the pay and can we discuss perks and benefits?”
I hope I have not raised expectations unnecessarily and made the story seem juicier than what it really is.
Yesterday morning I went to work earlier than usual. I urgently needed to go over the research that had been completed on a bunch of new product concepts. All research is kept in the Marketing library and not feeling up to hauling all the files back to me desk, I decide to make myself comfy on the floor and jot down the key notes and obseravtions on my notepad. Good idea at the time… big mistake in hindsight.
The Marketing library is linked to what we refer to as “the creative room”. Here’s where we do all of our creative activities, strategy sessions, brainstorming, concept writing, strategy sessions, storyboards, etc. As I am sitting on the floor and shielded by the shelves it is basically impossible to see me from the creative room.
I first become aware of the other ppl when I hear the door of the creative room closing. I sort of straighten my back and see that it is my boss and JN, female, head of Finance department. It is strange for them to be in this early and especially in this part of the building. I am about to get up and make my presence known when he pulls her in closely and kisses her. Fuck me bloody sideways… Now I know the company has a fairly relaxed office policy… but no-one has EVER greeted me like that on arriving at the office.
That kiss pretty much sealed my fate. There’s no chance of escape and there was no way in hell I was going to make it known that I am in the adjacent room. So I remain quiet and pray that no one sees me. I want to ignore what’s happening, but at the same time I find it kinda exhilarating. (What is wrong with me?)
HE: I missed you so. (hehehe)
SHE: I know. I hate being away from you too. (more lip-locking) SO… have you told (insert his wife’s name) about us?
HE: Not yet. I’ll do it on the weekend, I promise. The kids will be at the grandparents and (insert wife’s name) and I will be alone at home. This is it… there is no going back.
SHE: Oh, my poor baby… Please call me as soon as you get a chance? There’s a lot at stake and I need to know how it went down. Promise?
HE: Sure I will… I just wanna put all of this behind us… start a new life.
(Add more kissy sounds and a lot more is said… heavy breathing… bleh). The convo is kinda syrupy, innit… and what’s with the I miss you’s and silly pet names?
How the hell can two senior company execs, stand there kissing and fondling each other? Of course they think they are alone… but why make out at the office? Find a bed, on the other side of town… dammit and leave the antics to ppl like me…. hehe! If I move my head slightly forward I can see them both clearly and believe me I don’t like what I see.
It is clear they are having an affair that and that it’s been going on for a while. From what I glean, she had already broken the news to her husband and hence the urgency for HIM to do the same. Although she and the soon-to-be-ex are still living in the same house, for all practical purposes they are no longer together.
Now this is a woman who’s been married 3 times prior to this… all 3 marriages had ended in divorce after 2/3 years of marriage. And yes… she’s a hot mama… looks amazingly good for her age and oozes sex appeal. (Way to go boss… grrrr!). I don’t know her well, but I hear she is a friggin piranha and there are lots of rumours around about her out-of-office antics. The term “loose” (although I am not entirely averse to such behaviour… grin) may have been mentioned on several occasions. She also has a child, aged five, from husband no.4.
It is amazing how much sleaze you can pick up at the Friday afternoon booze-up.
He’s been married to the same woman for 17(?) years. They have two kids and the wife apparently has no idea of her husband’s infidelity. By all accounts he is a good guy…. one of the bright sparks on the corporate ladder… well that is until now. I enjoy working with him. He is not my favourite person, but then bosses rarely are. He always talks about his wife and kids and his “newly” acquired sleazy habits come as quite a surprise to me. Midlife crisis, perhaps? Buy a friggin’ Ferrari and get over it is what I say.
I feel silly and embarrassed sitting there. My legs are starting to ache, but I am too scared too move for fear of making a sound. It is now far too late for me to come up with a decent excuse for why I had been hiding in the next room. I wish they would stop the bloody snogfest and get back to their offices. Seeing your bosses make out has zero ‘erotic’ appeal.
But… wait… apparently there is another angle to the sordid saga. They are also gearing themselves up for a showdown with the board of directors as soon as the affair becomes public.
HE: When we go public with the affair, one of us may be called on to resign.
SHE: What do you mean… resign?
HE: Surely you realise there’s no way we will be allowed to stay on in our current positions as heads of department and as members of the board. Ron (HOB) will not allow it.
SHE: I know they won’t be thrilled by the turn of events, but they can’t fire us for that. Surely the board has to vote on it?
HE: Yes, and I can tell you now… they will side with Ron. There is no way they will allow two ppl who are romantically involved to sit on the same board. It will be seen as unethical, unprofessional and will affect the decisions made at that level. It will be met with resistance. In some companies, and for the similar reasons, husbands and wives are not allowed to work together, even when they work in separate departments.
SHE: I understand. But what if we play our cards right and get the other members on our side? We can campaign for their support in the matter. We beat Ron to the punch and tell the others before we tell him.
HE: Are you saying we should go behind Ron’s back and get them to vote in our favour? It is a big risk and could mean both of us losing our jobs.
SHE: Oh… come on, it’s worth a try. We make a good team and I am not giving up that easily. I have worked too hard to get to where I am now.
HE: Perhaps… I’d prefer to make a clean break and look elsewhere. There are too many HR, political and personal issues involved.
SHE: Listen… let’s see how far we can take it. I still say we work on the other directors. In the midst of all this, the last thing I need now is to be out of a job. Things are tough enough as it is.
Ssshhh… someone’s coming. Will I see you tonight?
HE: Yeah… (kisses her and slaps her on the butt). She giggles.
Finally… they leave the room. I hear them greeting someone just outside the door and it closes behind them.
Now how fucking soap opera-ish is this bit? Wheeling and dealing behind the Top Dog’s back. Give it up already, cut your losses and get out of here! As for my boss… he should keep his mama on a leash and introduce her to the real world.
I wait 5 minutes, gather up my files and take them back to my office. I’ve got more research done than I had bargained for. I fucking hate this and I hate feeling compromised by what I know. Not only do I now know way too much about their personal lives, I am also privy to sensitive information directly related to the company. Understand my dilemma? Screwed if I do and screwed if I don’t.
And this is the juicy secret I am the keeper of. I feel somehow obligated to do something. I want to don my superhero suit, screw them both over and save the day so to speak. Perhaps I should just mind my own business… complete my special projects and get out ASAP.
Anyone got rope?

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I am caught like the proverbial deer in the headlights. I overheard something today that I was not meant to hear. I was in the wrong(right?) place at the wrong(right?) time, well that is how I see it.
Shhh… is that singing I hear? (I know a secret… na-na-ne-na-na…)
It was one of those moments when you wish you can puncture your eardrums with a sharp pointy object and go deaf. But as it happens when you drive past a gory accident scene, your simply stand there and listen… to every bloody word!
Fuggit…fuggit.. fuggit, now I share something with two of my co-workers and I don’t even like them. My newly acquired knowledge is nothing more than juicy gossip and therein lies the problem. Do I remain silent or to pass the scandalous tidbit on to someone else?
I don’t like keeping secrets. Keeping a secret is akin to lying and keeping this little secret pisses me off. I did not ask to be let in on it, dammit.
I want to keep quiet, but when I decided on that course of action, I was unaware just how much of a burden it would be on me.
The friggin secret has taken on a life of its own. It is burning a hole in my brain and it is the only thing I think about. It has a voice and begs me to pass it on, to set it free and to share it someone else. It wants us to become a threesome or a foursome or a whatever-some. It is not even all that juicy, but my mind has tricked me into believing that it is.
Men aren’t made to keep secrets and I am no different in that respect. Men share and mention things in passing or brag to their buddies of what they did and what they now. We don’t even consider it gossip; it is just something that has come to our attention. Men do not realise the value of gossip and secrets as much as women do. We do not know how to trade in the currency of gossip. A woman would treasure information like this and dish it up for maximum mileage when the time is right.
My conscience refuses to let me speak. It bombards me with moral anecdotes about doing the right thing and it wills me into silence. Ever noticed how loudly silence speaks when you don’t want to heed it?
I cannot stand it anymore. I am telling, because if I dont, I think I’d split in two. I need peace of mind and screw the two people concerned. I also ran out of rope so hanging is out of the question.
The office bimbo would be a good starting point… oh yeah. Now excuse me, while I pursue my new career as tattle-tale.

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