“PROMISE ME YOU’LL BUY SOME WILD TURKEY HONEY BOURBON AFTER WORK TODAY,” he tells me, but all I can look at is the way his index finger ends in a stump. The stump isn’t blunt or neat but wide and a bit flattened, like squished Silly Putty or maybe the edge of a piece of ravioli. Every time he comes by I wonder what happened to it, but I never ask.
Aside from the finger and affinity for Wild Turkey Honey Bourbon, all I know is that his name is Matt, he considers himself able to (through years of careful training) outdrink men much younger and fitter than himself, and that he delivers things to our office on a semi-regular basis.
I tell him I’ve seen it on the shelves at Liquorland but that $6,739 (an exaggeration, but only a slight one given that we’re in Sydney) is too much to spend on a bottle of anything that isn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. He promised to buy the unfinished portion from me if I don’t like it. Now that’s service, or friendship, or maybe he’s a Wild Turkey rep on the sly.
Matt is just one of the people that delivers stuff to my desk. Because I spend most of my time transferring calls and selling people pods for the Nespresso machine and
watching the Bold and the Beautiful going through expense claims, I like when visitors come in (oh my god, that was such an old-woman thing to say. Am I in training to be a cat lady?). So I talk to all the mailmen, tell them to hang onto my signature just in case I ever get famous, and try to get them to tell me interesting things.
Dennis is the one with the twitchy eye. Amit is the one who said he’d prefer to call me Kelly, as Callie is “difficult” and “too complicated.” I don’t yet know the tattooed Uruguayan, the tall thin gentleman who appears rather dignified-looking until you notice how distractingly short his shorts are, or the one who likes to explain that things were much better under the White Australia policy (not that he’s a racist or anything) and that “you sure are lucky to have weekends off. Bet you don’t get those in America!”
Then there’s Oscar, the quietly bizarre afternoon mailman. When I first started, it took him a solid week to wrap his head around the fact that my coworker Julie and I aren’t the same person – despite the fact that she has black hair and I’m about a foot taller than she is. Here is the conversation we had each of the first five days I worked there.
“Hi there. Changed your hair color, did you?”
“No, but I did just start yesterday (/the other day/three days ago).”
“Ah, I thought you looked different. What’s your name?”
“Kelly, huh? Good Irish name.”
“I’m not Irish.”
“Well, you sound Irish.”
“I’m from the US.”
“No wonder you sound Irish. Same thing. Where do you think the American accent came from?”
Perhaps he was drinking too much Wild Turkey on the job?