Continues from here.
“How was your weekend?” Bill said to me as he walked through the office carrying several coffees.
I’d already had my ‘arrive at work coffee’ because I’d gotten in fifteen minutes early thanks to being up early to see Jack depart for work, it also helped that Bill was, as usual, fashionably late and arrived nearly twenty minutes late. Still I accepted the Starbucks coffee because I didn’t want Bill to feel like his efforts were wasted.
“Thanks Bill,” I said grabbing the coffee from the left hand side of the tray. “My weekend was good, how was yours?”
“Same as usual, cut grass, wash the car, keep the wife happy.”
“I imagine the more time you spent outside doing those jobs the happier Cheryl would have been.” I said being cheeky but knowing Bill could handle it.
“The only way she’d have been happier was if I spent the weekend at the doing her gardens!”
Although I was rarely flat out on a Monday it was always one of the busiest days of the week as I did the accounts and the wages. Bill knew that but it didn’t stop him from having a chat if he wanted one and that day he was in for a chat, just not with the morning coffee.
The interesting thing about Bill and his chats was that he could sit in the chair opposite my desk, the one for the weighbridge controls, and chat away as if we were at some local hangout. He didn’t mind that I’d often be sitting at my desk doing my job, he didn’t even mind that I answered the phone in between our conversation, he simply went silent and waited for me to finish the call.
The best thing about Bill was that it wasn’t a one sided affair with him, if he was having a bit of a lazy day and decided he wanted to sit down for a chat instead of working it didn’t have to be all about him. Not only that he was a damn good person to chat to, for me he was almost ‘one of the girls’.
After our morning coffee was the chosen time as Bill wandered back into my part of the office. He was definitely on one of those go slow mornings. not just because he sat down in the chair opposite but because he put his feet up on the desk as well.
“So what happened this weekend that made things so good?” Bill asked getting comfortable.
“Slow day Bill?” I said continuing with my work and trying to be inefficient.
“Well yeah but I am genuinely interested in the well being of my staff.”
“Of course you are Bill.”
“Yeah well, I’ve got an appointment at 1:30 but until then I’m pretty much here just making up numbers.”
I thought about reminding Bill how he was the boss and owner of the metal recycling plant and that such a title pretty much guaranteed he didn’t turn up just to make up the numbers, but decided against it knowing it wouldn’t have made any difference.
“So why did you bother coming in Bill?” I asked sorting through the weekly incomings and out goings and looking to see which things needed paying first.
“To hear about your weekend of course.”
I laughed and just as I did the phone on my desk rang, I picked it up on the third ring and answered it politely in my usual business manner. Bill’s request for a chat to cure his lack of other jobs to do was just going to have to wait. The call lasted nearly twenty minutes, it was one of our newer customers who wanted confirmation of a few things. When I was able to settle the customers mind that things were running smoothly and would continue to do so I hung up the phone.
Bill could obviously hear my side of the conversation on the phone and knew the situation was resolved in a satisfactory manner yet after I hung up the phone he still didn’t ask any questions about who was on the phone or what it was about, he simply started where he left off.
“So now back to your weekend!” Bill said with a smile. “What made it so good.”
I laughed at Bill and like most times he put me that position I started telling him about my weekend. I didn’t stop work and I obviously didn’t give Bill a full run down of everything we did but I gave him the highlights.
The problem arose when I was too caught up in what I was doing and inadvertently mentioned the conversation about the birthday present.
“So what’ the problem with just giving him a list of stuff and telling him to buy something off that list?” Bill asked.
“You know what he’s like Bill, he’d probably buy the whole damn list.”
“So what’s the problem with that? If he wants to spend all that money on you just accept it.”
“Oh come on Bill, is that really the kind of advice you would give your own kids?” I asked knowing full well he didn’t have any kids but trying to make a point.
“Yeah, yeah I get your point, I was just being silly.”
The phone rang again, I picked it up and answered it politely knowing that the conversation with Bill wasn’t over. Because he was listening to my end of the call Bill knew the call was nothing more than another customer ringing up for an extra pick up and didn’t need to question me regarding that so he was immediately back on the subject of birthday presents.
“Why don’t you ask the guy for a week away. A motel up in the mountains, a trip down the beach, make your decision and tell Jack to organize it.”
I looked at Bill in shock wondering where such an idea came from. It didn’t have to be pricey, it didn’t have to be over the top just the two of us and no pressure from the giving or the receiving.
“There is a brilliant idea Bill, you’re a genius, I could kiss you!”
“Stay seated miss, I’m not that kind of boss!” Bill said with a chuckle
“There is only one problem with that plan Bill.”
“And what is that?”
“The boss I work for is a hard ass, asking him for a week off will be as painful as pulling teeth without anesthetic.”
“Maybe I can have a word to him for you.” Bill replied and I suddenly realized what my answer would be next time Jack asked me what I wanted for my birthday.