Blog Week 63: Neolithic gnarls.

Sunday 4 February 23.01

Great weather this weekend; been so mild it's more like late March, not early February.

Tuesday 6 February 22.36

When do you arrive in the office? For support staff that is easy: when you are supposed to. But for lawyers here the situation is not so clear.

For a long time no one has really said anything about lawyers arrival times. You know how it is: one office, different cultures, let sleeping dogs lie... People are responsible and know what to do. But today the issue came to a head.

There is one partner who is generally a really nice guy. Very intelligent and knowledgeable. But unfortunately he is blessed with the management skills of a Neanderthal.

First thing this morning said partner was looking for help on a time-sensitive matter. Not many associates (or trainees) were around and the few who were in were busy on other chargeable stuff.

This partner got frustrated looking and something happened. He suddenly metamorphed into said Neanderthal. Initially he waved his club around, complaining to a couple of associates who were busy working on something else. They dutifully nodded in agreement: yes it was shocking that not more associates were around. What else could they do? They just wanted Homo Erectus to clear off so they could get on with their own work.

Neanderthal then stomped back to his cave (office), complaining to his secretary en route. She made some sympathetic noises (she knew what was expected).

Neanderthal then went in for the equivalent of a war-cry to be heard across the pre-historic savannah plains: he sent an email telling all the associates they better turn up by 9am at the latest everyday from now.

Most associates had rocked in by 9.30am, by which time a massive email exchange had already taken place (aren't Blackberries convenient?). They were up in arms by then.

The partners were unhappy too - but for different reasons. Any of you working in Brussels will know how things work here...

So Bill had to smooth the ruffled feathers. A meeting was hastily called for lunchtime. Everyone should ignore the email; it had been a mistake and was not an office policy. The lawyers were given champagne. God knows why? The only thing that had happened was the status quo had been restored. Not used to the drink, some were sleeping this afternoon. Neanderthal had his head down too. But in a different way and for a different reason.

Thursday 8 February 22.20

First thing this morning Paranoid came rushing into my office quivering: "Some madman is trying to gain access to the office!". I was not immediately concerned: Paranoid - while extremely hardworking - is prone to getting a little overexcited when something out of the ordinary happens. But given Laurel & Hardy's lack of physical presence in the office (even when he is in Brussels) it was up to me to investigate.

We made our way to our reception. No one was there and Paranoid moved immediately behind the reception desk, as if for protection. Some guy looking like a cross between Johnny Rotten (circa 1976) and Keith from The Prodigy (circa Firestarter) was banging on the glass to get in.

I walked to him, smiled and asked how we could help. He grunted back. I had no idea what he had said. Still smiling I asked again. Grunting a little more articulately this time he growled that he wanted to see his dad. There was an off-hand way he spoke that was so damn irritating. I was about to snap back how the hell did I know who is dad was when Barbie walked by. "Hi! Your dad's expecting you. I'll take you through." Johnny/Keith then broke into a huge smile and followed her; completely ignoring me. As they headed off towards Bill's office they chatted loudly.

I felt annoyed and relieved. Annoyed that I got treated with a look of disdain, while bimbo Barbie, as normal, got all the attention. Relieved as I imagined what would have happened if Bill Junior had not been let into the office. Particularly as I had been about to tell that brat where to go.


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