The intricacies of office bitching and backstabbing.

Tuesday, 31 October 1995  12:42pm

God S,

It’s been forever since I last wrote! I’ve been so busy with the book, I just haven’t had time for lunch-breaks or anything.  But, yesterday I got Volume 2 (which we did first for some reason) off to the printers and now I’m keying corrections from the proof of Volume 1.  Sooo, I can take ten minutes off here and there to write to my soon-to-be-arriving Sis.  Oooh, not long now, not long now!  Are you excited?  Have you got your togs packed? It’s bound to be a hot Summer, 28° is the forecast for tomorrow.

So what have I been doing in the couple of weeks interval between letters? Well, the first thing that springs to mind is shopping.  I’ve been shopping like a demon S, beefing up my wardrobe for the coming Summer months.  I’d like to call it my Spring Collection, but you’ll probably laugh your guts out when you see it.  I’ve decided to stop saving for the year and just spoil myself for three months to make up for nine months of self denial. I’ve been a bit more social too.  In Simon’s absence, his desk is being used Monday to Thursday by this guy called, oddly enough, J.  J Nott.  I guess this means I won’t be able to talk about myself in the third person in these letters anymore, eh?  Anyhow he’s 6 feet 5 inches tall with dark brown, wavy hair in a ponytail that hangs to between his shoulder blades.  He publishes his own independent magazines, they’re pretty cool.  He’s quick witted and lives with Henry the Brit in St Kilda.  They’ve invited me to their place for Melbourne Cup Day.  They’re having a boozy BBQ on their back patio, one storey up.  I’ve agreed to go, and I think I will – for real.  They’re OK, not bitchy like the rest of the people here.  I’ve decided to turn a new leaf of non-bitchiness, and I’m actually trying to stick to it on a day to day basis.

I stayed sober last Friday night and went to the Italian Waiters Club in Meyers Place, off Bourke Street and listened to everyone else going on about work and it really turned my stomach.  So bloody horrible.  There was one in particular (call ’em A) who was slagging off B (who wasn’t there) for being weak, weak, weak.  This shit me because I happen to think that B is OK, but they’re all so self-righteous that I could barely get a word in edgewise.  I felt like looking over at A and sneering  “Reeeeeally, I think it’s amusing that someone covered in a foot of blubber over their entire body should have anything to say about others’ weaknesses.” But I didn’t. It would have started a war and that’s not conducive to a happy workplace is it?  It’s also crossing an unspoken line. That distinction, perhaps peculiar to this place of work, that declares it is open season to bitch on all those not present.  They may be defended by someone else present, but it is verboten to swing that bile back at the critic – no direct attacks.  You have to bide your time until they go to the toilet, then fire off a salvo of hissing vitriol.  I guess this has its function, ensuring that people can speak their minds without fear of being openly attacked, but it seems a little cowardly. Mind you, I can’t talk, I have been I daresay, the worst of the lot.

Anyhow, that something I promised on the phone to send, is enclosed – your Milo.  It’s taken me so long to get around to it because I wasn’t sure about the quarantine laws and all, but it seems to be OK. So here it is. Enjoy it as a prelude, to your trip home.

Cheerio.

J

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