It’s the infuriating buzzer – Loud Terrible Mighty - on a hangover. I work in a listed building with a blue plaque on the outside wall; somebody important lived or worked or died here. The buzzer’s right by the door beneath the blue circle, a dusty plated moon embossed with letters that once shone, wondering every time I find one (Look hey, spotted another!) whether these blue plaques will pop up ad infinitum across the country until every house and every space of wall is covered with a plaque noting someone of worth, maybe someone of birth, but that won’t happen – funding cuts.
Oh furgdsake let the guy in. The guy has been let in.
‘Dick there’s a chap here who’s come to measure the carpets or something, do you know anything about that?’ We wait for the answers that travel down the wire, ‘Right I’ll send him up. Cheerio.’
Receiver goes down; measuring-tape man goes up. The stairs are carpeted with what looks like velvet, ostentatious flooring if you ask me, but you can never tell what’s up with things like this can you? Like 4-ply toilet roll as opposed to the Basics range, the former will outprice the latter but the feeling on the cheeks and the necessity of hygiene should not be forsaken. Thick pile carpets. Perhaps they’re an investment, or taste, like the wood panelling covering those boardroom walls. Hardwood panels look like relics unearthed from a ginormous chocolate box; blocks etched in with grooves and stuck down with saliva. Never melts though, it’s Dickensian cold in there.
And again again, when will there be Peace On Earth? This time the commander-in-chief descends the staircase, lapels of his blazer flap with every bound: down one step two, down another step two. He is plump with a stride and affable. One admires the consistency about him. Right arm outstretched and a friendly grasp, the adversaries shake hands and ascend the fluffy-dustiness rocking bannisters as they go.
‘New. Router. Set-Up.'
That’s his entrance and his introduction. Flummoxes the captain - manning the phones and guarding the locked doors and stirring the cafetiere over there.
‘Is that something to do with the Internet?’
‘Yes. I’m here for the migration. I think that’s what er – Sara? Sally? Sandy?’
‘Sandra is it?’
‘Yeah that’s her.’
‘Well Sandra’s not in today,’ there’s the sigh of the recognition of a problem expelled from the captain’s lungs. In his heyday he wore a sharp suit and hat with a brim, possibly a trilby and an understated watch. Blue cigarette smoke filled the rooms. That was back then and now he’s hesitant about the concept of a router, aren’t we all captain aren’t we all.
‘Let me see if she’s in…’
The man with the purpose of the web rummages over boxes and passes through piles of paper stacked up with no discernible purpose. The captain stacked those, over 40 years he’s been doing it, I watched him place a sheet upon a stack once - it was lyrical and effortlessly unconsidered. Continue we must and the phones will ring, the curtains will hang and the minute details of everyday humdrum will blur into one long life split in two: day and night.
‘They need to reconfigure the firewall.’
‘They need to re-con-fig-ure the fire-wall?’ Looking up from his papers and letting out another sigh tempered by stale coffee, quite flatly put, ‘Who are they and what is that?’
And I live for the mediocre goings-on of another day.