I am inserting the batteries back into my 2 watches. The watches have been dormant for 181 days. That is half a year. I stopped them ticking when I started working at home. Now I am like a kid going back to school: on Tuesday, I am part of the second phase of RTO or “return to office” volunteers at the law firm’s London office. My bags (plural) are packed (yes…a few new work shoes arrived during lockdown that need to live at the office) and I need to test my mascara and see if I remember how to wear earrings before then.
Husband, Hound and I are off to test the tube trip tomorrow because when I left the office last, I was travelling on the Northern Line. This time I will be travelling on the much friendlier District Line to the office. It will take an hour door-to-door to get to work. I think I am a bit touched. I am not at all afraid of the tube or public transport, and the pandemic. Others at work are. Maybe it is because I have spent 43 years living in a country where one’s physical safety is a constant worry. My risk appetite or risk tolerance may be higher than most.
It is like the volunteers will be entering a previous bomb site with numerous pre-RTO briefings including FAQ’s, office layout photos, discussions, office plan copies, promises of goodie bags on our desks (I LOVE goodie bags) and being tempted by the weekly menu for the onsite restaurant. I get my original desk back after a deep clean. The very desk I left thinking I would return the next day and did not take key documents home with me. But, I have learnt that I need very little paper to do my job which is not a natural lawyer statement. We are traditionally paper junkies. With no home printer and only printed non-confidential material sent via post to me from a skeleton team at the office, I saved a tree or two.
I am going to take a green leaf out of Extinction Rebellion’s green tree. Tuesday afternoon, I am going to stick myself to one of the giant speed printers at work. I missed the printers as much as I missed the industrial fresh coffee machine at work. Then, once I have been unstuck (details unsure), I am going to move my desk chair to the printing or “reprographics” area. I am going to watch all 4 printers in operation on my side of the floor. I have warned my boss that there will be very little work taking place.
Printers aside, there will be shrieks of delight as I encounter my locker and my work area. Possibly laughter as colleagues share working at home stories. Yes, it is true that during a recorded Zoom work call last week I had no time to get more water to drink and drank the water out of a desk flower vase (I took the flowers out). Sorry to everyone on the call and for wearing my M&S polka dot jumper again.
My cactus was left at work and was not watered for 132 days. When a colleague of mine was part of the first phase of RTO volunteers, she messaged me to say he had survived. The cactus remains thriving with a drop of water here and there. I am bringing him home. With another lockdown likely I do not want to worry about this “survival of the fittest” stuff. I may eat plants and have a poor green finger record but now is not the time to abandon a green office survivor.
Time to sign-off because I need to shape my eyebrows, comb my hair, test my mascara and decide if it is the early autumn wardrobe on Tuesday or the late summer collection. First world problems. I can handle it….just give me a goodie bag.