Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Memories of work


I was thinking the other day ... a light came up on my head and switched on. You know ... like in cartoons when a light comes on above your head when you get an idea. 

By the way ... you might know the answer to this ... when Thomas Edison first thought of inventing a light bulb; what came up and lit above his head? Was it a lit candle? Or what? Because no light bulb had been invented until then.

And when Marconi invented the telephone; who did he phone? No one else had a phone at the time except him!

Anyway ... stop interrupting my thoughts!!!

I was thinking the other day to the time I worked for a big multi-national. There were four of us sharing an office. It was the days before open-plan with lots of people working in a large open space like chickens laying eggs.

One of the people in our room was X. A very nice guy, but rather eccentric. Like the sort of eccentrics you sometimes find in England. Very well-educated, from a good background and good "breeding". Well spoken in an authentic English upper-class accent. Dry sense of humour well hidden because he was always serious as if conducting a funeral. 

He dressed soberly too. Always a jet black three piece suit made of top quality material. He had a gold chain hanging out of a button hole in his jacket and led to a small pocket in which he had a gold watch. He would pull out the watch and open the cover to tell the time. 

All in all, he lived in the wrong century. He would have fitted well in Dickensian times or somewhere like it in the past.

A very kind person but very peculiar at times.

He used to always feel cold. He always kept the windows shut in our room and had the radiators full on. If any of us came in and left the door open accidentally, or perhaps we were carrying files or boxes, he would stare at us and say nothing. You could feel his gaze burning into you. He would snort like a horse to draw your attention but say nothing.

"Prffftttt ..." you would hear behind you. 

Once one of our colleagues did not realise what it meant and he said to her, "Madam would you please do me the honour of shutting the door behind you so that the warmth may not escape!"

She silently obliged and gave us a smile.

On another occasion the boss came in and asked him a question about some financial matter. He looked at him and said, "I shall not respond until you kindly shut the door!" 

We sat there astounded and wandered what would happen next.

The boss was very polite and tactful. He left the room and shut the door behind him.

No doubt the matter had been dealt with privately off camera later.

He had the habit of taking his shoes off when in our shared room. His socks were very clean, so no problem there. But he walked everywhere in the room with no shoes.

One day, towards 6:00pm there was only me and him in the room. He was at the other end searching for some files. I hid his shoes in his desk drawer and went home.

He said nothing the next day; but generally did not take his shoes off.

I used to play tricks on him. You'd remember old style telephones had a separate hearing piece and microphone on a large handle.

I unscrewed the hearing piece and stuck some Sellotape on the little holes of the speaker and screwed the thing back on. Then I went to the other end of the room and phone him disguising my voice.

He'd pick up the phone and shout, "I can't hear you!!!"

On another occasion I used double sided sticky tape and stuck his ruler to the desk. It was fun seeing him pick it up. He'd never say anything but stare at us and snort. We did not dare to laugh and looked down on our desks pretending to be busy.

I wonder where he is now. Bless him ... coming back to memory without notice.


  1. ...had a thing about doors, did he?

    1. Yes, he always felt cold and said there was a breeze blowing.

      God bless, Tom.

  2. I wonder if he had 'something' on the boss that he could get away with speaking to him like that.

    1. No, he was generally abrupt and fixated about the cold. He was not rude. Quite the contrary. I believe the boss had some quiet words with him. The boss was a real gentleman and would not handle the situation in public.

      God bless, Kathy.

  3. First of all, my dear friend, it wasn't a light bulb clicking on in your was your wife while walking into the room clicked on the ceiling light! Not because she had a bright idea but because it was getting dark outside!!!

    Another strange but funny tale by our own Victor S F. Moubarak!

    Have a Safe and Happy New Year๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿธ๐Ÿบ
    and God Bless✝

    1. Sometimes thoughts of people I knew long ago just come to mind out of the blue. I wonder why, Jan. Light bulb or not - why do I think of people long gone?

      God bless always my friend.

  4. HA! We've all had work folks like that I think!

    1. People are strange. Some are stranger.

      God bless, Brian.

  5. Oh, you rascal! Love the caricature; how you've positively fleshed-out "X" so I might actually see him in my mind's eye. I've always had a thing for authoritarian figures. :)

    1. He was such a nice man, Mevely. Almost a Dickensian or early 1900s type of person. Well-dressed and well-spoken; but peculiar. He carried a large bag with a blanket in it. On the train he would wrap himself with the blanket.

      God bless you and yours, Mevely.

  6. A loveable eccentric, just like our friend, Theodore!
    Blessings, Victor!

    1. Yes Martha. You are right. I must have sub-consciously been thinking of Mr X, (and other similar people I have known in London both at work and in politics), when I wrote Theodore.

      God bless always, Martha.

  7. Dearest Victor,
    Oh my, that would induce some other snorts too!
    Love the way you hid his shoes; excellent communication without words - but sending a powerful message.
    It is great for having a good team work but when one member behaves that odd, it is tricky.

    1. I guess it was a good message, because he never took off his shoes again, Mariette. We generally had a good team at work.

      God bless you always.

  8. LOL. the old phone trick. :)

    1. I really enjoyed the phone trick ... and tried it on other people too.

      God bless you and yours, Bill.

  9. I'm always cold too (unless I'm out walking) so I may have gotten along with him just fine. :)

    1. He was indeed a nice man; albeit a bit odd.

      God bless, Happyone.

  10. We were on a tour bus in Italy once when the driver took his shoes off. Very soon, all of us were wondering what the smell was, and he put them back on.

    Eccentric can be good, or good for stories that others tell.

    1. You're right. What is the level of eccentricity we can tolerate?

      God bless, Mimi.



God bless you.