This post is in three parts because when it wasn't its disjointedness annoyed me.
PART ONE - YOU'RE SO THIN
So this morning was the type of day that I like to call a Rainy Shitter (which sounds more like something that happens after a bad curry than anything meteorological) and at work everyone stayed inside for their breaks, instead of popping out for fags and coffee and so on. There is only one man in my office, so eventually (30 seconds into break time) the conversation turned to that thing that women love to discuss: How Very Fat They Are. I should probably mention that none of my colleagues are actually fat - they range from 'slim' to 'chubby' at the most - so it was what we call A Fucking Stupid Conversation.
"God," said one woman, "I've put on so much weight."
"I know, me too. I must have put on five kilos since I started working here."
"It's all the morning teas."
"And all the sitting down."
"I never seem to find time to exercise."
"I've had to get my fat jeans out of the cupboard."
Everyone notices I haven't joined in. There is an uncomfortable pause because I can think of absolutely nothing to say that won't lead to a game of Who's Fattest (explained later).
"Ally, you're so skinny," one of them says. "I wish I was that thin."
"I remember when I used to be that thin."
Everyone chips in with their thinnest memories.
At this point I laugh in a very nervous, uncomfortable way because it is true that I am thinner than everyone else, but I can think of no tactful way to put this. Luckily I am saved by my boss.
"Everyone who works here puts on at least five kilos after they start," she says. Her tone implies that I would do very well to fall into line on this point. It would be a serious social boo-boo to be here for more than a month and remain slender.
I giggle nervously again and confirm that of course I am expecting to expand exponentially.
Everyone says how lucky I am to be thin.
Come on, people. I'm not lucky! I'm hungry!
Anyway, let's explain Who's Fattest. If you're a girl you've probably either played this or seen it played. Who's Fattest is a game played by two or more perfectly normal-sized women. You can tell when a game is starting because someone says, "Oh, you're so thin!" (Note: WF is usually played between acquaintances, not close friends. Close friends just say, "Yes, I am, aren't I?" and go back to straining the margaritas.)
Here is an example of how a typical game of Who's Fattest might go.
A: "Oh, you're so thin! I wish I was as thin as you."
B: "Don't be ridiculous, just look at all this flab on my stomach! You've got a lovely figure."
A: "But just look at my horrible arms! You're so lucky you can wear short-sleeved tops."
B: "Oh, whatever, your arms are perfect! I wish I had arms like that, mine are fat and wobbly."
A: "What do you mean, of course they aren't. And anyway, my thighs are enormous."
B: "That's such rubbish, your thighs are much thinner than mine, I could never wear those jeans..."
And on, and on, and on. As you might have guessed, the winner is the person who can make the other player(s) concede that yes, they (the winner) are the fattest. I AM THE FATTEST, YEEE-AHHHH!! But the point of the game is that no-one thinks you're fat.
PART TWO - CLASSIFIEDS
In work-related matters, I am now allowed on the telephones, taking actual calls from actual customers! (Up until now I have just been taking faxes from, you know, fake customers.)
Here is a cross-section of calls from across the department today (not all taken by me, sadly).
Someone lost a pig on the weekend. They are offering a reward, although it's not clear whether this is for the whole pig or just its equivalent weight in pre-packaged pork products. If I had taken this call I would've asked a) if the pig had a name it responded to and b) the manner of its disappearance, but sadly the person who did take the call does not have such an inquisitive mind as I.
Also this weekend: someone found a child's jacket (blue with red trim) in the Botanic Gardens. Mentioned this to Todd (a friend in Wellington who I email when I am supposed to be working) and he said, "It wasn't being worn by a pig, was it? I may have solved a mystery..."
There is an Equine Dissection Clinic running from Sep 5 to Sep 7. Attendance fee is $800, which seems like quite a lot to watch someone cut up a dead horse when you consider that you could just sneak out in the dead of night, armed with lassoo and bonesaw, and DIY. But then again, maybe you get to take a bit of the horse home, like a hoof or something. Places are limited, register now!
This weekend there is a Monster Bird Sale on somewhere or other. I may go. I have always wanted a monster bird.
PART THREE - STENCH
We came second-to-last at the pub quiz tonight - this is not unusual. This evening, however, was special because at about 8pm we were sitting there answering questions like "Which Commonwealth republic has a land mass of 1.2 million kilometres, 11 official languages and 50 million citizens*" when suddenly there was a smell.
I know that making fart jokes is immature but this was not a fart. Nor was it a joke. It was a hideous stench. Stench is not a word that I use lightly.
Anyway, I was the first person at our table to catch a whiff of this stench. It was potent. It fairly stung the nostrils. I hate being the first person to smell a smell because if you don't mention it everyone will think it was you and if you say "Can anyone else smell that?" everyone will think it was you and that you were trying to be clever. Luckily everyone else could smell it. We got the giggles en masse - it was just that bad of a smell - and so did the next table. Over the next five minutes the smell spread through the room as the quizmaster forged valiantly on with the questions and we theorised about what on earth would produce that kind of a smell, and several quiz teams migrated to the back of the bar, after which the bartender opened the main doors and left them that way for the duration of the evening.
A full hour later - I am not exaggerating - it turned out that the smell belonged to a wheelchair-bound patron who appeared to have had a misdemeanour. This is unfortunate and I am not in any way making fun of him (in fact I give him full credit, it was an unbelievably powerful smell) but surely you would think that in that awful, reeking hour one of his team-mates (there were 4 of them) would have quietly pointed it out. You know, maybe at the point when people started vacating the immediate area. Or, if not then, perhaps the point when people started vacating the wider area.
I was glad, though, that I didn't stand up in the space between questions and shout to the room at large, "Who is responsible for that smell?"
*I'm not telling you