The silence is golden. He has left.
Who am I talking about? Well the student of course.
The company I work for has an internship programme, whereby college students do a six month placement – which counts as the work experience requirement for their college degree. The work they do is not glamourous – it is the dreary, routine stuff that no-one else bothers with. If physical files still existed in an office environment, then they would been hired to ‘help with the filing.’ Nevertheless they seem to enjoy it. It’s a break from college, they are earning money, doing a fairly easy – if monotonous – job with some of their college friends.
Well for the last four months I have had a neighbour. A student. And he has been insanely annoying and frustrating.
I like to think of myself as reasonably up to date, modern and hip – I’d wear a hipster beard if I could grow facial hair. I am down with the youth. However each time I see that little gremlin I get a feeling of anger. Everything about him irritates me. The personality oozing from his greasy skin makes my blood boil.
I ought to start from the beginning. The nasal whine that is his voice, is what started our troubles. I know that he is a student, and might need a bit guidance and support, but the incessant questions were overkill. Why did he ask so many questions you may ask? Well I suppose it could do with the fact that he never listened to the answers that were given to him. My direct work dealings with him were infrequent, but the two unfortunate souls who were tasked with overseeing his internship, were hounded. He would ask a question. They would start to reply, only to be interrupted mid-sentence by Laddo finishing their sentence for them and saying ‘I know that’. Not having listened to a word they’d said, twenty minute later the same query would drool from his mouth.
I thought that it might be kind to tell him that it is rude and disrespectful to talk over someone like. I decided against it. Not involving oneself in office politics is an essential survival technique in the petty world of the industrial wastelands.
His private telephone conversations were infinite. Every day he would sprawl out on the comfortable reclining seats in the canteen area and engage in hour long conversations with his family. He would book meeting rooms for this purpose. Occasionally as I was in the lav., I would hear the penetrating drone of his voice from the next cubicle.
The look of abject, sullen misery on his face and demeanour were also very off-putting. His face remained in an eternal pout. His gait was plodding and shuffling. Now he wasn’t a svelte man, but seemed to be in reasonably healthy condition. So why the lazy waddle. As if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. This is a six month placement he was on. Unlike the other misfortunes in this place (namely me) he had an end date to his time here. It was a six month sentence and a requirement for his college course. There were other student interns in the building – his isolation from them seemed self-inflicted – for him to befriend. ‘Grin and bear it’ might not be the wisest of advice for troubled souls, but when it comes to a six month college internship, it may well be the most advisable course of action.
He lived about a half hour walk from the office. He took a cab to and from work every day.
Like a dazed trout, he would shuffle downstairs at 5pm every day (ignoring the fact that he’s arrived at 10.30) and asked security to call him a cab.
He refused work assignments ‘because I didn’t sleep well last night’.
Friday was his last day. His contract technically lasts for another two months but he reached a deal with his manager that he would be on unpaid leave for the rest of his contract, but they would sign off to state he had fulfilled his six month contract. His thesis is due in 5 weeks you see. And he hasn’t started it. Despite knowing the deadline for over a year. Having been reprimanded on his attitude on the job he said that he never wanted to be here (blatantly obvious) and he just wanted to run his own business. He left work at lunchtime – unable to finish the work day because of a headache.
His poor parents. As non-EU citizens, they are paying an absolute fortune for their spawn’s education and upkeep. Clearly they must be loaded, if they can afford this. It just seems like an utter waste of their money and effort.
I know I am being impatient, judgemental and cruel. The guy is clearly depressed and unhappy. If I had been a slightly more decent person I would have tried to be sociable to him. That sullen, resentful look put me off though. When someone is emanating hostility then it is not conducive to building relationships – not even those shallow, fake work relationships. I avoided him – despite his proximity to me. I wonder if I am a complete monster for being thoroughly relieved to see the back of him.