Just when I thought I could use the word "swimmingly" when asked how work is going, the movers came to the Kaisha. Both Secretaries in my quad finished their periods of banishment in my gaijin ghetto and have been moved elsewhere. While I was rather pleased to no longer have to worry about carefully and sloooowly easing tissues out of the box so as not to make a sound, or only selecting silent foods (read: baby food) to eat at my desk, my noise-ridden paradise was short lived.
I started getting suspicious when my Secretary, who has been known to ignore me for weeks on end, started wiping down the desk opposite me. Why bother foreshadowing when you know where this is leading, where it always leads, to me feeling constrained and fucked and not in a kinky way. Minutes later Sunshine, the only Secretary who smiles genuinely at me with any frequency, started bringing stuff over to the other empty space. Being a normal functioning human being, she told me that she would be moving into my neighbourhood. This does not bother me, in fact, I am even secretly thrilled that maybe, ten months from now, we will go for lunch. Meanwhile, my Secretary is now carting stuff over to the desk that lies just over a very low barrier from mine. As obvious as her aversion to me is, I figured social mores would win out and she would at least throw a mumble my way to the effect that she will now be, for all intents and purposes, facing me for a stretch of hours every day. Call me naive, but she didn't make a peep at me, so I am back to pretending that she doesn't exist.
This occurred on Friday and over the weekend, I somehow managed to forget about the whole situation. When I say "somehow," I mean two nights in a row of imbibing that left me with a bruise of unknown origins (first time in ages, YAY!), a memory of a broken wine glass underheel set to a Rhianna song and a conversation with a man from Egypt during a short stint in a hookah bar. And of course, no memory of late Friday. Imagine my sheer and unbridled joy when I rocked up to my desk on Monday morning and found sparkly stuffed toys lining the demilitarized zone.
It has now been two days and both mornings it has been me that initiates the Good Morning Exchange with my Secretary. This would be possibly forgivable if she was arriving before me, but such is not the case. I am engrossed in work when she arrives and only when I wish her a pleasant morning does she do the same, without looking at me. I can only conclude that something is actually wrong with her, socially or mentally. She obviously cannot cope in simple interactions with me and although I feel affronted by her extremely off behaviour, by both Japanese and Western standards, there is not a whole lot I can do. Whether she is scared of me, disgusted by me or just plain socially retarded, I have giving up trying to figure it out and am now turning to religion, praying for her short stay in what was my solitary confinement.