Thursday, November 16, 2006


The highlight of my day yesterday was the earthquake that hit just off the coast of Japan, triggering panic around the coastline of a “tsunami, with swells of 2metres”. Residents were evacuated in the middle of the night and told to ‘flee’ to higher ground.

Not that I’m excited at the impending doom of Japanese fishing communities, but rather at the fact that my entire office came to grinding halt to watch the live CNN coverage.

“We’ve got reports that the first waves have started hitting Wadjamajingie*… And we’re crossing to our live feed from our correspondent…” Cue footage of boats in harbour, rocking gently in minor swells.

Words could not describe the palpable disappointment in our office.

[*Not the actual name, look it up yerself.]

Otherwise, Boyfriend and I finally got our certificates of NON-marriage, which we duly sent off to our contacts in the Netherlands hoping this would be the final paperwork for our visas.

The Hague informed us that the certificates are unusable because they need a stamp from the Department of Foreign Affairs Head office. Boyfriend and I studied our certificates. They’ve both got: letter head bearing full colour SA coat of arms and Dept of foreign affairs letter head; stamp bearing date and HEAD OFFICE; and original (not copied) signature from Head of Office dude.

We’re not sure what else is needed.

I also got approached by New Guy (who’s doing much better on the computer – not stupid by any means) for a ‘private’ chat. So I led him outside for a talk…

He was so awkward and uncomfortable, my first reaction was, “ohgawd, he’s going to ask me out.” But it turned out to be much more awkward. He was asking for money. It’s his first job since getting his degree, I have noticed that he doesn’t bring or buy lunch at work, I know he needs the cash. I also know that HR won’t forward his salary – something he’d already tried to ask.

First, let me make it clear. I am that person who stares in disgust at people selling sob stories, while I eat my seafood platter in an elegant restaurant. I don’t think I’m uncompassionate at all, but I don’t have time for people who can’t help themselves. I also don’t like lending or giving money because I don’t know what I’m sponsoring. I don’t like lending to friends, never mind people I don’t know.

I was in a predicament, so I did something that went completely against my grain and constitution. I gave him money for transport.

It’s not that I didn’t want him to have to the money, I just don’t like the situation. But I’m glad I did it. I feel one rung closer to Champers on the Ladder of Goodness.

It all lead to an interesting conversation between Boyfriend and me at the end of the day…

Me: It’s not that I don't want to help him...
Him: How much more do they need on this piece of paper...
Me: I just don't want to be his sponsor.
Him: It’s signed, what more do they need?
Me: What was I supposed to do? I had to help him.
Him: And it’s already got a damn stamp!
Me: I really like the guy, I want him to do well.
Him: F*ing useless Netherlands.
Me: F*ing useless HR.
Him: Drink?
Me: God, yes.

I also managed to get to bed at 9 last night. What a pleasure. And this morning I was treated to Anger reciting from the Lion King with great enthusiasm. Sometimes, but only sometimes, I love my office.

Ps. Boyfriend is off to fight with the Dutch Embassy about what exactly they require. I wish him strength and luck.

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