Something in my brain prevents me from being serious with people. I have no idea why.
Whenever I am presented with an opportunity to have a genuine heart to heart with someone I will always royally mess it up.
I’ll give you an example that happened earlier today.
My colleague Martin announced this morning that he is retiring.
He will be briefly attending the Staff Party tonight and then not returning to work in January. At 64 years of age he wants to spend more time with his wife, get out on his boat some more and go to visit his children who have since migrated overseas to Austrailia and to the good ol’ U S of A.
I like Martin, despite an age gap of nearly 40 years, we have a lot in common. I will be very sad to see him go.
Martin spends the morning flitting from one desk to another, saying his goodbyes. He has worked here for 15 years. I see hugs, laughs and some tears. Fitting tribute to a great bloke.
Eventually he comes to me and starts to talk…
“I just wanna say that I have really enjoyed working with you J.”
I smile. He continues…
“You and I have a rapport that I don’t have, or have ever had, with anyone else at this place. I see a lot of similarities between us and I know that you will go on to bigger and better things than simply working here. You are a fine young man who has limitless possibilities in front of him and it would be a real shame if you did not go out and share yourself with the world.”
I am speechless. I try to say something but there are no words coming. Still he goes on…
“Here is my card. If you ever fancy a chat, a beer, a cuppa, a home cooked meal, advice or need an old timer to help you with an elaborate scheme or prank then please get in touch.”
I am overwhelmed. I can’t remember anyone ever being so nice to me. I may even be blushing.
He pauses. He had said his piece. It is now my turn to speak.
What do I say?
I want to tell him thanks, that I have always looked up to him, I admire him, and at times thought of him as a surrogate father of sorts. When I was going through a rough time last year his kind words, endless cups of tea and pats on the shoulder meant so much to me, more than I ever alluded to at the time. Now is my chance to let him know that when my world was at its darkest he was a constant beacon of light and he did more for me than my friends and family combined just by being himself and offering me snippets of his wisdom.
I also want to tell him that I will miss him. I always look forward to our Monday morning dissections of our weekends and the banter surrounding our £1 bets on the live Sunday football matches. Working with him has been a genuine pleasure. He is a kind, funny and caring soul who I will miss greatly. I want him to know that the place won’t be the same without him and that I truly believe that if I turn out to be anything like Malcolm then I know that I have done well in life.
Now is my chance. He looks on eagerly as my lips slowly begin to move. He knows words are imminent…
To his credit, he laughs, punches me on the arm and walks off.
I am left cursing myself whilst Sam, who sits opposite me, looks at me with a look of disgust. How I imagine she would look at someone who had just put a kitten in a blender.
Thank you brain. Now Malcolm will probably never know how highly I really thought of him…
…unless I either forward him the link to this blog or make a drunken confession to him at the party later on.
What could possibly go wrong?