I like making friends at work. The majority of my friends are people I’ve met through work, or through other people I’ve met through work. This weekend, for example, I saw my lovely Nadine, who I met when we worked at McDonalds in 2000, and I went to Nicki (of Ramblex3 fame) D’s wedding, who I met when working upstairs in marketing (which was really lovely – the wedding, I mean, not working in marketing). Having friends at work make the days generally more pleasant, and I don’t understand why some people find having friends at work odd.
I have even made friends with the chap at work who cleans the kitchen, based mostly on the fact that over winter I would religiously make porridge, and he is a big fan of porridge. This shared fondness for oaty stodge first thing has forged a bond between us, and for the last four months we have had the same conversation every single day (not Saturdays and Sundays, obv, that would be weird). It goes like this:
Steve (his name is Steve): Allo, porridge lady!
(I’m not 100% keen on this nickname)
Me: Hey Steve! I’ve got my porridge!
(I show him the porridge, as though he might not believe me otherwise)
Steve: Yes, yes, it’s good to have porridge! I had mine this morning, 7am! Honey on it – lavly!
Me: No, not honey! You should have golden syrup! Delicious!
Steve: Honey! It’s good for you, girl!
(Then we both laugh, even though he hasn’t actually made a joke)
Me: Well, I better get back to work now.
Steve: Yes, you’ve got yer porridge! Lavly! See ya later, porridge lady!
Every morning, we have that exact conversation. It never deviates. We were content with our little morning ritual.
Until the day I brought in a banana instead.
I went to get a coffee at around the time I’d usually do my porridge, and there was Steve, cleaning the sink. He looked at me with his happy face in a grin.
“Allo, porridge lady!”
Then he looked at my empty hands. His face fell.
“Where’s yer porridge?”
I felt terrible. I had ruined our ritual, a part of the day we both enjoyed.
“I’ve got a banana today, Steve,” I said with a brightness I didn’t feel.
He looked baffled, and then made a concerted effort to be okay with this unexpected turn of events.
“Well… banana’s are good for you too. I … sometimes have one on my porridge.”
I smiled and nodded and got my coffee from the vending machine. There was an awkward silence.
Then, thank god, we remembered we were British.
“Did you SEE the rain this morning?” Steve asked me suddenly.
“Oh my goodness!” I told him, shaking my head and brandishing my coffee. “Where is the summer? I don’t know Steve – it looks like winter out there!”
He laughed, though I hadn’t made a joke.
“Where IS the summer, I don’t know, I don’t know! Ah, enjoy your banana, banana lady-”
“No, Steve, I don’t think so,” I corrected him quickly.
Porridge lady is one thing, I’m not getting stuck with a name that sounds like a sequel to a certain 80’s kids tv show. Steve laughed again, and carried on sluicing the sink.
“Alright, Amanda. See ya laytah.”
And all was well. Sometimes it’s alright, being British. We always have the weather to fall back on.