Room sharing

July 1, 2011

Once, when I was six years old, I had to share a double bed with my cousin, Ned. I think his mother was having one of her tricky moments with her friend (and Ned’s ‘uncle’ ) Vince. We slept head to foot, and he kicked me so hard throughout the night that my nose bled.

Naturally, I have also shared a room (and even a bed) with a few women, the Peacock Wife being the longest-serving, of course. I don’t much like having to share my private space, unless it is for a bit of hanky panky, as they say, and even then, in moderate doses, and never all through the night. When I married the Peacock Wife, I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for the disadvantages of co-habitation.

Of course I knew I had to share a bed. I just hadn’t thought about it much. And it wasn’t the bed I minded so much as sharing a room. Overnight, my room began to smell of vanilla and patchouli oil. She covered every surface with pots of thick rose-scented cream, citrus bottom firming hydrating lotions (not that they made a difference, I should add) and candles that smelt of figs. It took quite some getting used to. In fact, I don’t think I ever did.

Anyway, the Boss (in her wisdom) has decided that we need an “away day”. I don’t get the concept of away days. I can’t see how brainstorming in a Novotel Continental is going to be any better than brainstorming in the office. How is being in a mock-Georgian environment on a slip road off the M4 going to make me think better? For a start, I will be exhausted at having had  to weave my way through Chiswick to get to the motorway which just happens to be the route to Heathrow and so a car park at the best of times – and with annoyingly close driving distance of my cosy little flat. And then, to top it all, I will have to spend a day – and a night – with colleagues.  As in socialise. And I am not very good at mock socialising.

To top  it all, the Boss is a cheapskate. To save money (and to help us gel, and possibly even bond, apparently), we are being assigned  a room mate. Not to save money from the departmental budget. Oh no.

“If I have to be assigned a room mate”, I asked The Boss, “can I choose?”

She looked at me suspiciously and took a step back, as if I had asked her to take her clothes off. “You will be allocated a room with a suitable colleague,” she snapped. Obviously not her, then.

Lauren from HR will be distributing a spreadsheet today, apparently, with details of who will be sharing with who. Rumour has it that the Boss and Lauren have the executive suite. It’s taken me a while, but the penny has dropped. That is why we are having an away day – so the Boss and Lauren can share a room (I expect Lauren’s soldier boyfriend doesn’t know about her lesbian tendencies).

Rumour also has it that I have to share with Gino from external communications – the only Italian I know with a nipple ring.

I wonder if I can pull a sickie on August 9?


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