The Lone Receptionist
8:32 – Arrive to work 28 minutes early due to an unsettling, yet very convenient, lack of traffic. Appearing super committed has never been easier than during a crisis.
8:34 – Elevator doors part. There is already a gentleman inside. We stare at each other trying to figure out if I get in or he gets out or we both just commit and risk it for the ‘Rona. I’ve forgotten how to socialise so do the polite thing and hide in the corner until the door closes.
8:45 – Discuss the weekend news with the coffee machine. He can be a little hot-headed.
9:12 – Not a single member is in sight or earshot. Nearly leap over the desk at a member coming in to collect his mail. Try to say hello to realise I have forgotten how to talk. Manage to mumble a mouthful of absolute nonsense. He takes his envelopes and slowly backs out the door.
9:44 – This absolute silence is very distracting. I put on a YouTube video of people chewing loudly and making repetitive sales calls to concentrate.
10:23 – Sneeze loudly to see if anyone says ‘bless you’. Its echo reminds me of my solitude
11:30 – Burst into tears when I see the postie. Try to coax her to stay with various compliments of how dashing she looks in high-vis. She hands me the letters individually so she can soothe my deprived extrovert nerves.
11:35 – Postie leaves. Again I am alone with only envelopes to talk to.
12:17 – Lunch time. Heat up salmon in the microwave, hoping someone materialises to quietly huff about the smell. Nothing but delicious fish. Stare longingly out at the city from my lonely but beautiful clear prison.
12:29 – There were 43 red cars today.
13:03 – Phone rings. Have an in-depth, 45-minute conversation about free LED lights. She was disappointed when I finally said we already had them but sent my best wishes to her sister for the upcoming wedding and to her uncle for his ear problems.
13:45 – Stick post-it notes in the shape of a face and torso on the chair next to me. It’s just nice to have someone there. Rowena is a great listener.
14:27 – It’s been an hour and half since the phone rang. I book a courier to deliver something to myself. He is pleased for the short commute. I’m pleased for a small morsel of conversation. I tip him in jellybeans.
15:00 – Decide keeping a normal routine is crucial to maintaining sanity, therefore, we cannot afford to sacrifice 3pm snack time! Demolish entire bag of chips (its simply unhygienic to share and there’s no one here to judge me anyway).
15:04 – Wish I’d had fruit instead.
15:49 – Get checkmate’d by my own hand in chess. Morning Eva definitely has more strategy than post-Doritos Eva. I wish the postie would come back
16:12 – Walk around to tidy – search for signs of intelligent life – an abandoned glass, desktop coffee stains, a mysteriously small and tidy pile of peanuts, anything. There is nothing. I carry my broom in vain.
16:31 – My keyboard is 22 almonds long. Who knew?
16:49 – Ask The Cluster gods to please, please deliver me a human to talk to tomorrow. Gods say ‘no there is a virus and that’s very dangerous and haven’t you heard the news’
16:56 – The phone rings. It’s a member. She’s coming in tomorrow. Hope returns.
17:02 – Leave with a skip in my step. It’s going to be a good week.
Moral of the story: When you are good and ready to return, please come and say hello to reception. I still have some jellybeans you can have!