Posted by: Gregoryno6 | May 7, 2013

The FI and the Righteous Exit, Part Two.

(The story begins here, with Part One.)

There is no shame in recognising a personal weakness. Acknowledging our shortcomings is the first step to developing a counter-strategy. FI’s only stategy was completely counter-productive. He reshaped the past to show himself in a better light – better, in this context, meaning less culpable.

His memory was extraordinarily selective. The business was located next to a car mechanic – they serviced the company van, though FI was never too pleased with their work. He used them because they were part of a barter scheme he’d signed into. (The barter deal was another of FI’s short cuts to prosperity. But making it work was often a laborious process. Societies moved from barter to currency because life is short.) I took my car to another mechanic just two doors down. The few minutes it took me to deliver and collect the car every six months became an issue for contention when FI asked ‘Is there any reason you don’t get them next door to service it?’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘there’s a reason – you! I’ve never heard you say a good word about them. According to you, they’re a bunch of duds!’

That was one of the rare occasions that I silenced FI. He gave me a look of reproach. Okay, I said they’re duds. But still…

-OOO-

I went to Melbourne for a holiday in January of 2003, and when I returned I made a half-hearted attempt to find work elsewhere. FI got wind of this, and for a time I suddenly found myself getting all the assistance I needed in the packing and dispatch bay. In fact, with FI and the fourth staff member – a young girl this time – helping out, I barely needed to do anything. This period might have lasted as long as a whole fortnight, but I’m probably overestimating.

I needed to get out. I stayed in. The conflict began to manifest as severe insomnia. For the last four or five weeks of my time at FI Pty Ltd I survived on two hours of sleep a night, three if I was lucky. The daily routine distracted me to some extent, but when I laid my head on the pillow and turned out the light the knot in my guts had my undivided attention. I tried to bargain. Another few months, I’d tell myself. Get a little more money in the bank. He’s a fucking imbecile, no denying it. But you can get away. It’s not as if you spend the whole day in the same room as him.

It didn’t really work. Forget about being in the same room – just knowing that I was in the same neighbourhood put me on edge.

There was no special incident that pushed me to resign. There was just a rising hostility to the man and the entire situation. A couple of times, I realised, FI had upbraided me on errors which he himself was making – practically in the same breath as he was correcting me. Perhaps the final straw was a conversation I overheard. The young female worker hadn’t been around during FI’s Skybiz period; unseen, out in the store, I heard him tell her the story. I mentioned FI’s revisionist tendencies; this was their moment to shine. Shine they did. As FI told the tale he’d been a reluctant entrant to Skybiz. He’d dithered for several months. ‘And then, just my luck, I’d barely put my dough in when it all went bust!’

No flyers, no harangues. Poor old FI, victim of fate and bad timing.

Self-deluding bastard. He could have taught Stalin a trick or two about the airbrushing of history. The look on FI’s face might have been interesting if I’d walked in during that tale. But I turned away instead, and the simmering inside grew deeper.

Finally, at three am on the seventh of May, the crisis broke.

After another night of futile thrashing I gave up kidding myself. I could not go on working for FI under any circumstances. I got up and hammered out a resignation that was utterly devoid of tact or diplomacy. I mentioned the wife’s dodgy pay schedule in passing; she was only a secondary target. I listed several examples of FI’s fuckwittery. There was no pretence at restraint. No attempt to spare his feelings.

I went back to bed about four, and actually slept for a while.

My plan was simple. FI and myself were usually the first in, the ladies arriving later. I would hand him the envelope, let him read its contents, and then – if I got the chance – ask if he had any questions. But I’d forgotten one vital point, namely: there’s no such thing as a simple plan. FI wasn’t there when I arrived. He’d taken the van to make some pickups and deliveries before work. Instead of being first in he’d be last.

I changed my course of action. And at this point, things got a little bit weird.

Mrs FI and the young girl had both arrived. It was a few minutes before nine, and both were busy on the phone. My desk was at the rear of the office; FI’s was in the opposite corner. I walked across, dropped the resignation with the keys on his desk, and went by the two women unnoticed.

The distance from the office door to the front door was only a few metres, but I measured it in dozens of heartbeats. I opened the door and went outside. Nobody called me back or asked where I was going. My car was parked on the far side of the business lane.

I felt ghostly and invisible. I was taking part in the moment, but at the same time I was viewing from a distance. Remote from what was happening, everything was being done for me. I only had to play my part and keep moving. The car keys didn’t jump out of my hand. I opened the door, got in and started the engine.

FI arrived and parked in front of the shop, directly behind me.

I stared at the van in the rear view mirror. He must have seen me, I was sure. At the very least he would have seen my car’s exhaust smoking on the cold morning. I waited for him to come over. The van door would open and I’d watch as he strode across to ask what was going on.

The van door didn’t open.

To hell with it, I said. And backed out.

As I reversed and swung the car around to face the main road, FI got out of the van. He didn’t look over his shoulder. Perhaps I was invisible. FI reached inside the van to get his briefcase. It was somehow appropriate that the last I ever saw of him was his stupid fat backside.

-OOO-

I drove with one eye on the mirror. Someone was going to come running after me, I was sure of it. But I slipped into the traffic with no pursuer in sight. I laughed. I laughed a lot. To be honest, I felt a little crazy.

First stop was my favourite cafe in Leederville. While I celebrated with a good strong coffee I wondered what was happening back at the store. Morning, morning all… where’s Greg? Out in the store room? I didn’t see him there… what’s this on my desk? By the time FI finished reading my letter he would have been incandescent, hurling f-bombs without regard for the females present. I felt sorry for the young girl who’d have to sit through it – the wife, not so much. After all, she married him.

I took a few weeks to enjoy my liberty. When I was ready, I signed up with a labour hire firm. The nice lady took my application, gave it a quick read through, and suddenly laughed. Another lady came over to do the interview. She read it through and laughed out loud too.

‘Reason for leaving, right?’ the first one asked.

‘I haven’t seen that one before,’ answered the second.

I’d kept it short and simple:

HE DROVE ME NUTS.

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Responses

  1. Voilà pourquoi je suis parti.


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