"You know what I hate?" the PFY asks one morning, looking up from a sheaf of bright pink pages.
"Oooh!" I say "I know this! Short people. Short MEN to be more precise. Short men in authority positions. Short men in authority positions and Mac users. Short men in authority, Mac users and the fact that NO programmable remote control is really all that programmable."
"No, I ..."
"Reality TV. People who make reality TV. People who WATCH reality TV. People who talk about what they watched on reality TV. People who complain about how sh*t reality TV is, then bang on about all the reality TV they watched and how sh*t it was."
"No, I mean ..."
"People who say 'hard drive' when they mean 'computer'. People who say 'computer' when they mean 'screen'. 'Natural' keyboards. The guy wh..."
"No, I mean at the office!"
"Oh. The Boss. The Director. Beancounters. HR PR ..."
">sigh< Okay, so what’s on your mind today then?"
"It's these bloody forms!" the PFY snips.
"Ah!" I say, thinking back a couple of days through shimmering low-budget Register screen effects ...
"Team Conference!" the Boss mumbles through the plasters covering a face that looks like it caught fire and someone tried to put it out with a rotary hoe. (A hardware problem) "Ten minutes."
A few minutes later ...
"The company thinks it's a good idea to implement a Personal Goal Setting system," the Boss says, handing a form to each of us, "something that you can use to highlight areas that you wish to improve upon in the coming year."
The blank faces of the assembled staff convince the Boss to continue. "Okay say there's something at work you'd like to get into ..."
In the corner of my eye I see the PFY writing something about the Director's PA's underwear.
"... something related to work of course," the Boss adds.
The PFY ticks a checkbox on his form.
"It could be something you've wanted to get into for some time or just something you'd like to try for a bit of variety."
The PFY scribbles something thankfully illegible down.
"What we want to know is how we can help you achieve your goal."
The PFY starts scribbling furiously. The words GIN and PARTY get underlined several times.
"And we want to help you communicate your achievements to the rest of the staff ..."
The PFY scribbles something followed by FACEBOOK.
"..as an example to others. Something so that others can follow in your footsteps."
I snatch the form off the PFY and crumple it up.
"It fitted the criteria!" the PFY sniffs, in non-italicised present tense. "Anyway, it's better than being lumbered with some pathetic 'Dealing with difficult people' training course."
"Well as your supervisor I felt that you needed to focus on that area. Anyway, I did the course a few years back and it wasn't that bad," I say.