Wednesday, September 20, 2006

System Down – 49 NIS

I arrived in early at work, feeling somewhat worse for wear, wearing the same clothes I wore the night before and craving coffee, to find the lights off, the gates closed, and the stench of burning overwhelming me. I limbered under the gate and saw the other early workers sitting out on the balcony, and began to feel the need for a damp cloth to place over my mouth… where is that smell coming from? The office is dark, apart from faint emergency exit lighting, which is too dim to really deserve the name lighting… more like gloss… The Emergency Exit signs sent a faint gloss around areas of the room. I almost bump into one of the file room boys, as we both go to swipe in… the swipe in machine gives the most pathetically weak response as if to say, “Urgh… welcome to work… let me go back to bed.” Today I can empathise with it… In fact I generally find the swipe in machine a little on the chirpy side in the morning!

I walk to my desk with the vain hope that my computer might still be up and working, and that I might still be able to check The Sun, check my emails, and say my good mornings to the msn icons I call friends. Of course this is just a silly pipe dream, and no matter how many times I push the On/Off switch, nothing is going on. Deep sigh. I place my bag under my desk, turn around and walk out onto the balcony to try and find out how long I am going to be cut off from the world for. And what is that burning smell?

The Office Manager is sat on the phone, in her pyjamas looking dishevelled and harassed, as I walk towards the others sat around people are shouting out “fire!” It turns out that at 4.45am a faulty light switch burnt out causing an explosion in one of the offices on the opposite side of the building to me. In an office usually inhabited by one of my friends, who is currently away on holiday… lucky thing! I walk round to inspect the damage, and find the wiring appearing as though pulled out from the wall, and a pile of burnt files lying on the floor. I look above my head and see the sprinklers and wonder why the floor is so dry. It appears that the sprinklers did not work either! Now I am feeling very secure in this ‘haven’ that my managers have taken care to provide for their precious workers… I stand on the spot waiting for the floor to give way!

More people arrive, and we find ourselves sitting out on the balcony, laughing and hoping that we will just get sent home, and be able to enjoy a day on the beach. I decide that without my usual morning ritual I am going to HAVE to get some coffee, so head out of the building. The rest of the office are working as normal, and I have an urge to run in and ask if I can quickly check the status of Posh’s hair, Tarrant’s marriage, and other vital English news. I see the girl sat in reception is the one who I always catch in the toilets walking out without washing her hands, so decide that her computer is not one that I wish to go anywhere near. I go down the elevator, out of the building, and walk to towards the cash machine, brushing by people rushing to get to work and almost being knocked over by the usual bleary eyed Israeli driver. Alive and well I arrive at the bank to find that, after my earlier smugness when my friends said they only had 700 shekels to last them until next month, I in fact only have 250 shekel to last me until the end of the month. Correction, after taking 200 out I actually only have 50, I mean 49 shekels! Every now and then g-d likes to do this to me… a little trip and fall to take me off my high horse…. “That'll wipe that smug grin off your face Little Miss Graham!”

It is only 3.30pm when the system is finally up and running, but it is too late, my batteries have worn down and there is no way I am going to work proactively today! I look forward to going home, to going to the gym, to getting some decent sleep, to going to my parents’ for the Chaggim… Meanwhile the air-conditioning is still not working, so I am also looking very much forward to a shower… and any other suggestions you have for some FREE entertainment let me know… Shana Tova Peeps!

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