In which I am Joan

This week I have been sitting in the PA room. (Not in a creepy, stalker-type fashion. It’s because I’m being a PA for a week. I’m completely allowed to be there. In fact, it would be absurd for me to sit anywhere else. No man is an island, and all that).

It’s less like being in the Mad Men secretary pool than I’d like, but I’m trying to make do. I try to flounce into the room in the morning, exactly like Joan. Except I’m pretty tired, so have been getting out of bed precisely 10mins before I need to leave the house, so my entrances have been somewhat marred by me still pulling on my jumper and putting in my contact lenses. (In fact, I’m probably more like SJP in this photo with Joan).

  I try not to let this dampen my natural enthusiasm for a job where you can keep your headphones in all day long.

I feel my real chance to shine comes at lunch time. On my first day, I came back with £15 worth of sushi, at which point my colleagues realised that I didn’t understand basic economics. I also put too much wasabi on my sashimi and quite nearly choked. (I assume my colleagues stayed at their desks and continued chatting indifferently because they know I don’t like to make a fuss).

Yesterday, I forgot to eat lunch, and at 4.30pm was so hungry I started looking longingly at the neat cordial. (I’m not sure where the water is in this office-please see earlier statement re making a fuss). Luckily, I noticed some handy biscuits next to my desk. (When I say ‘next to’, what I mean, is ‘on the girl opposite’s desk’). These were quite delicious, and I was congratulating myself on my new money saving techniques when the girl opposite returned, and wondered where all her ‘Tim Tams that I brought back from New Zealand’ were. This was a bit awkward, but I quickly swallowed and started frowning at my computer, to show her how busy and non-biscuit stealing I was. (I would have offered to replace them, but come on. New Zealand? I’ve seen ‘Lord of the Rings’. Practically no-one makes it out of there alive. Even Mike Tindall’s having a hard time down there, and he’s a lot tougher than I am).

So today I decided I would bring in lunch from home. Unfortunately, my fridge was not the well-stocked haven I wish it would become. (The only bloody thing my fridge produces is ice. I live in London. It’s plenty cold enough). I brought in what seemed to be an inexhaustible amount of spinach, a Milkybar yoghurt, some rice, an alarmingly al dente chicken breast and four large tomatoes. Unfortunately I only have one tupaware box, so I had to shove everything into it. It tasted fine, but I’m not sure how appetising it looked. (I saw the NZ girl looking pityingly at my lunch, and felt that she had probably forgiven me for stealing all her biscuits). Perhaps lunch time isn’t really my most Joan-like moment.

I think I’m channeling her best when I imperiously leave messages with people to call me. I give absolutely no indication as to why they should do so, or who I am. (I think, Joan-like, that they should just KNOW). I really think I can turn this place around. Just as soon as I get a handle on this whole lunch thing. And getting fully-dressed before I get into the office. I’ll be having an affair with my boss in no time. Oh no, wait…

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