Puzzled by the cracking ceiling (how’d water damage come from a room above us that isn’t plumbed?); ouch that hurts (my neck is playing up again, not great ahead of this weekend’s massive mountain run); random chatter with Mandy the Goth Anarchist office mate (who recently quit smoking so I can’t get to her desk anymore to use the phone) about the heat, body odour, love and Smashing Pumpkins lyrics. I’m sitting on the phone listening to some jaunty looped message from a Department of Mineral Resources automaton, telling me how important this call is to them. To pass the time, I ask Mandy why she doesn’t vote. What follows is an epic Mandy rant: ‘I’m an anarchist! I give my power to nobody! No one speaks on my behalf!’
‘Mineral Resources doesn’t want to speak to me today,’ I mutter to no one in particular, when no one answers.
‘Poppet, that’s not surprising!’ says Mandy.
It’s a week since I sent the emails through to the respective DGs and still no news. So I follow up with a phone call. Balzer (the Water Affairs DG) has been out of the office for a week, but his PA Ivy says I should resend the email to her and then hangs up before I can ask for her address. Ngcaba (Environmental Affairs DG) probably hasn’t had a chance to respond but I am asked to resend the email as a prompt to the efficient lady on the other end of the line. I’ve still only got the Mineral Resources auto-voice whispering sweet nothings and no sign of Ramontja’s PA or admin person, who I emailed.
I wander through to the front office to use the reception desk phone.
One of the local cross dressers (this is Observatory, after all), minces down the pavement outside, looking like a minx in a spray-on miniskirt dress (is there such a thing?) and before you know it I’m thinking about Ivo Vegter’s trademark fedora versus Bjorn Lomborg’s bottle-shock blonde toupee-like mop.
My neck still hurts.