If like me you live away from the coast and work in an office then you will know exactly what I am talking about here. Offices are funny places; a bunch of people with very little in common forced to spend day after day, year after year, in unnaturally close proximity.
It isn’t possible to put your head down and work a full day without some kind of interaction with your colleagues. There are those inevitable water cooler moments when you have to share a bit about yourself, explain that those marks on your neck are from your wetsuit, not the result of an amorous encounter, explain why you sometimes arrive at work on a Monday morning with a beetroot face and the bloodshot eyes of a stoner.
Finding common ground can be difficult though, and I mostly feel like an alien in my office. I don’t watch the X Factor, I don’t play computer games, I don’t modify my car, I don’t care that Cheryl Cole may or may not be back with Rio Ferdinand, and most of all, I don’t like football – I haven’t got an opinion on it other than “He’s paid WHAT?!! I may be alienating half my readership here, but I mostly wonder what all the fuss is about. Is it really worth the endless office debates about…. well, the stuff that the blokes debate?
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy office banter; quite the opposite. I am a gregarious person and a shameless gossip; I love to roll in the mucky warm detritus of the human condition. I like hearing about 6 Cat Claire’s disastrous blind dates; I enjoy the commentary on Cockney Steve’s seemingly endless string of stag dos, which are getting progressively more extreme and on the current trajectory will inevitably end in the murder and dismemberment of some unfortunate stag “for a laugh”. Even Creepy Dave is quite entertaining with his Office Shagability Spreadsheet and his vocal appreciation of Russian pornography.
But in an office of oddballs I am considered to have the oddest shaped balls of all. In a nondescript office park in a nondescript inland city, surfing may as well be Metaphysical Cosmology for the level of understanding that people have. After five years of ignorance and ridiculous questions, I have finally had enough. I’m hereby nailing my theses to the cubicle wall. Please feel to print out, laminate, and display in a prominent position in your workspace:
· “All this wind” is not good for surfing – I surf, not windsurf.
· It is not weird to go surfing in the rain – we’re wet already, get it?
· Dressing in neoprene is not kinky in any way, despite what Creepy Dave has to say on the matter.
· Your nephew who went to Newquay on a school trip and tried surfing is not now a ‘surfer’ – any more than I am a woman because I once wore a dress.
· Point Break is not my favourite film. As far as I am concerned, it is a film about bad hair and bank robbery.
· I do not “hang ten in the green room, dude” and I have never, ever used the word “cowabunga”.
· And finally, surfing is not a ‘hobby’! Stamp collecting is a hobby. Surfing is an all consuming passion that will steer my life until the day I am too old and knackered to get into a wetsuit, and probably beyond. It brings me joy and will sustain me spiritually if not financially long after I have finally got the means to leave this crappy job.
Your surfing colleague.