So I’m in the balance room at work on Wednesday with Shellio, Jacka and IG2. I’m goofing off most likely (I had no reason to be in the balance room - other than the fact IG2 was in there), and IG2 turns to me and starts a conversation! He usually never does that! So anyway, he said
“Hey Erika, I got a package in the mail the other day...”
I had no idea where he was going with this, so I give him two thumbs up. “Good for you!”
“...and it came with bubble wrap.”
I gasped as though I had been plunged into Arctic water. “Bubble wrap!!!”
“But I threw it out.”
“But why?!?” I may have whined that. I’m not proud of that, but we’re talking bubble wrap my friends. Bubble wrap.
“Because I don’t want to hurt a goat.”
We talked about the goat/bubble wrap/bacon idea from the week before. He had got a package during the week in the mail, and it had reminded him of me. And he thought to bring it up with me. Let us all sigh and enjoy this moment as though it was straight out of a Sandra Bullock movie. Sleepless in Seattle - not 28 Days.
Then I had to go do actual work. Boo! working for a living! Why can’t I just spend all my days at work following IG2 around? Or better yet, having him follow me around. ‘Twould be grand.
The following day I was trying to get the computer programme we use for sending data to work, but failing miserably. The shift chemist in charge of Shellio, Jacka and IG2 has a small personality clash with IG2. He cannot do a thing right with her. And I'm not just saying that because I want to lick his toes. Shellio and Jacka were the ones to tell me about the troubles between IG2 and the S.C., and I’ve seen the S.C in action. I’ve seen her tell him off for not walking properly. He can’t breathe without her telling him what he’s doing wrong.
So when I finally cave and decide I can’t fix the computer, I let a deep sigh out and say “Anyone want to tell S.C. the sender’s broke?” IG2 and Shellio were making cups and they both stared at me.
“Did you break it?”
“...No.......... at least I don’t think so. IG2 - you’ve been at work for a whole hour and not broken anything - can you do it?”
He scoffed at me. “No, no, no, no. I’ll go get her, but I’m not taking the blame for this one.”
He goes for the door. “No, I broke it; I’ll tell her.” The look of relief on his face is stunning.
So I go get the S.C. and throw the problem at her. It ends up being a fairly huge problem, but that has nothing to do with the rest of this story. So let’s leave it there.
I’ve had to go back to the XRF room (where the cups get made) to get my paperwork and I stop to have another chat. “Hey - what do you have against goats?”
He knew exactly what I was talking about right away. That makes me happy - how many people can you go up to and just blurt out a question about goats, and they remember what you were discussing the day before? The week before?
Can I get a squee from those playing at home?
He grins like a 15 year old boy watching the original Police Academy Movie. “I don’t have anything against goats.”
“So you’re fine with killing sheep, but you don’t want to wrap one in bubble wrap.”
“I’m against torturing goats.”
“We’d be wrapping it up in bubble wrap. Have you ever been wrapped in bubble wrap? - trust me, that’s not torture.”
“I have a friend called Billy who’s a goat.”
“Well it was. I was the first to name a goat Billy, and everyone copied me.”
So I grinned, and we had what may or may not be classed as A Moment. And then I went back to work. :shakes fist at work:
About an hour later I’m back in the XRF room putting some samples onto one of the machines. IG2 is still making cups (it’s a thankless job), and there’s no one else in there (which is rare.)
I take a breath. I swallow. I open my mouth and say
“So anyway, I’ve got a new plan that doesn’t involve a goat. Since the goat’s out though there are more ingredients in my plan. You wanna hear?”
“Oh yeah!” He stops working, turns around and he leans against the table, looking at me.
This is my moment to say stuff I really shouldn’t be saying. If only because I know what the plan is, and he doesn’t. The plan would make him blush. The plan makes me blush, and I’m fairly sure parts of it would be illegal in certain sections of the world.
“Okay, the plan now involves 20 metres of bubble wrap, 6 helium balloons - 4 blue and 2 green, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Kraft Macaroni Cheese and shampoo.”
“Helium ones. 4 Blue, 6 green.”
“That’s very specific.”
“Hey, I’m just the plan comer-upperer. You’re the go-to person for the gear.”
About 7 hours later, we’re all getting ready to change over with the next shift and go home when IG2 comes up behind me and says my name. I turn around and he has a half-inflated latex glove that he’s badly coloured with a green highlighter.
“Will this do?”
“It has to be helium. It’ll only work with helium.”
“But I don’t have helium just laying around the house.”
“You’ll have to do better than this if you want in.” (I’m getting a bit cheeky in my middle-age with him. I think he likes it.)
Y’know the best part of this whole ‘goat-bubble wrap’ thang? No-one else gets it: this is between just IG2 and my good self. Other people want in on the joke, and we talk about it in front of other people, but neither of us is telling. I know why I’m not telling. I wonder why he’s not.
The plan on Thursday was for Jacka to join me in the Refinery Lab, and start to learn my role. That was the plan, the actual outcome was a very different thing. We’d start something, and the S.C. would take her away to do something. It was incredibly frustrating, and I was annoyed. I ended up trying to leave things for Jacka to finish off, only to end up in a fluster due to her not coming back, and so I was playing catch-up all day.
Towards the end of the day, I was taking some glassware out of the oven in the beader room, surreptitiously watching IG2 over at the sink (back to me. He has the most wonderful back and waist. I would very much like to to just him move all day long.) Jacka comes through the door with all her usual gusto.
“Guess what!?” I hate guess, so when asked that question,I always go for the outlandish do Jacka never bothers to wait for a reply from me. “S.C said I could spend a day learning with you next week.”
“No! No. No. No. No. No” I whine like I should be sitting next to a nice piece of Bega. “It’s too hard with you having to go off all the time.”
“No, she said I could, and she won’t be in next Friday so she won’t be able to stop me.”
“But Friday’s are busy in the Refinery Lab. If you leave then, I’m not letting you back in. It’s too hard.” Still whining. May as well throw some blue-vein and Camembert at me.
“But it wasn’t my fault. It was hers.” IG2 has walked over to the oven to put some crucibles in to dry.
“It was proberly IG2’s fault.” He stops and squints at me. “Well, you haven’t been blamed for anything for at least an hour. It must be your fault.”
“Fair enough.” He says.
“Y’know, thinking back on it. I had a car accident about 6 years ago, that I’m fairly sure was your fault as well.”
“Erika!” exclaims Jacka. “I didn’t know you had crashed a car.”
“A car? Mate - I’ve crashed two.”
“Two! Were they major crashes?”
“I have a theory about car accidents. If you’re going to be in one, do it properly and write the suckers off.”
So we talk about my insurance premiums for a bit (believe me, for the first 3 years after teh second write-off, insurance was incredibly expensively ridiculous.), and then Jacka wanted to know the details about one of my accidents.
I tell about the first one, because the first accident is a much better story. (I didn’t get in trouble from my Mum for swearing at the first one.).
The first one happened thusly - I was listening to “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure and I was changing the cassette over to hear them sing “Letter to Elise.” I looked up from the tape deck and I was slightly on the wrong side of the road. It was a tiny sweeping bend going up a hill, so I panicked and over corrected. I over-corrected again, and the car flipped. Twice. The car and I landed between two trees the right way up. The engine had stopped, but the tape still played. For the record, this happened 10 years ago, and I have never heard “Letter to Elise” since.
I got out of the car, locked the doors (it’s automatic for me to lock my car. So the thing was smashed to buggary - I still thought someone might steal it.) and started to walk home. Home being 25 kms away. A friend came by not long after, convinced me Icouldnt walk all the way, and took me home.
“What was the first thing you thought when the car stopped?” JAcka asked.
“My Dad is gonna kill me.”
“The same thing happened to me once.” IG2 said.
“What - my Dad wanted to kill you?”
“No. I was driving along Highway X and the radio started to cut out. I reached down to change the station, and the car started to drift towards the other side of the road. I over-corrected and the front passenger wheel got caught in a rut on the side of the road and flipped it.”
Jacka had wandered off at this stage, so it was just him and me. Eye contact and everything. You can imagine my joy. Actually, do me a favour and don’t imagine my joy. You already most likely know i’m a bit of an idiot - but I’m probably more of an idiot than you can even begin to comprehend.
I asked if he had injured himself badly, and he then told me that while he was fine after that one (did you know that studies have shown the ‘safest’ car accident to have is to roll your car? It’s all to do with physics and the like.) he almost died in one he had when he was 17. So he told me all about it, and i made the encouraging caring noises you make when someone is telling you something that you don’t have to comment about, but you want to. I won’t go into it here, as I have babbled enough. But after he finished the story, he looked at me. Looked. The kind of look where you’re glad you wore the brave underwear. And wished there was a fluffy pillow nearby to land on when you faint.
“How was that for telling a story? Was that good?”
I’m not sure I told you lot, but that night I got completely rottenly drunk and IG2 gave me a foot massage, I told him he was a crap story-teller. Well, he was. i told him to work on his delievery, and get back to me later.
But his telling of the crash was good - as crash stories go - and then he said “Should I have acted it out?” and he started jumping around and doing twirls and spins and stuff. I laughed, he laughed, we laughed together.
He makes me giddy.