I Refuse To Live In Fear: Here’s What I Have Learnt Today…

I am not one for the melodramatic. I try to ignore man flu if ever it creeps up on me and if I have any sort of ailment, I shrug it off. I am not brave or anything; I’m just not melodramatic (well, not in that sense, anyway). So, with that in mind, I hope you can realise how seriously close I came to disaster today. I am fortunate to be able to type this tale with both hands; let alone be here to tell the story at all. Please bear with me because, as I relive what happened today, it may be quite hard for me at times. I thank you for your understanding and patience.

Today started like most days in that I woke up. I then got up, ironed, showered (not at the same time because that would be lunacy) and headed to work. Oh, I got dressed first. I’m not into that sort of thing. I got to work and set about the routine of my day (I say that as if I have a routine; I really don’t). At one stage, there was a lovely work surprise in which I had to wear a Hi-Viz jacket and a girl selling satellite TV told me it made me look “pretty”. I don’t think I have ever been told that I look “pretty” before; certainly not without it being followed by an adjective of sorts. It’s good to know that fluorescent things are worth considering for future fashion purchases.

I went back to my desk to do work stuff and the day continued without incident. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Nothing in the extraordinary happened, neither. I sat at my desk, typing away. Thinking of things to type and then typing them. Then, a rarity in an otherwise commonplace day: I needed to use the scanner. I know!! Little old me, from a small Yorkshire village with a unasuming manner and a seemingly increasing affection for the blue shade of zaffre, wanted to use the scanner. Ideas above my station? Possibly. A naive belief for achieving the improbable? You could say. A need to use a scanner? Certainly. Being a virgin in an otherwise full up world of scanner users, I asked someone in the office to show me how to do it. Fortunately, the person I asked is lovely, caring, and agreed to show me how to do it for the first time. She stood up to lead me across the floor and, as I rose to follow her to the hot and ready scanning machine, something happened. Something which would change my life forever.

There were no warning signs, no indication of the disaster that was about to unfurl. In turning in my chair to a position which would elevate me to that of a standing position, I caught my hand on a sticky out thing. At least, I thought it was a sticky out thing. It turned out to be.. well, let’s just say it was shimmering and metallic and it sliced into me like an ice-cold knife slicing into the beak of an ostrich. Or something. I let out a blood curdling scream that rocked the foundations of the building I was in and pierced the ears of all around. I looked down, fearful at the sight that may greet my now glazed eyes. I felt the warmth of my trickling claret blood before I saw it but, when I saw it, the sight struck me like a ten tonne truck striking a penguin. Or something. Pain shot through my body like a million volts of electricity shooting through a squirrel. Or something. I feared for my hand, for my fingers and for the fact I may never get to find out how to use the scanner. Blood was gushing from my very body like butter gushing from a dolphin’s satchel. Or something. How would this end? Would I make it through? Would I…

Ok, I may be getting a little melodramatic here. Which is odd for me, as you may know from reading this very page alone. Or with someone else. So, what actually happened is that I went to stand up, I nicked my hand on a tack which was barely sticking out of my desk and a little bit of blood became visible if you looked really, really closely at the small nick that had lightly grazed my skin. That is how I saw it, anyway.

I mentioned in my last blog that I used to be a freelance human person and, as such, was largely responsible for myself. Therefore, if I cut myself, I would do the acceptable thing of taking the wound to my mouth and either licking or sucking until that need had been satisfied (I have no idea why that sounded like some sort of erotic novel…). Like most people do. You know, dab it with your thumb, shrug it off and go do some scanning. Yeah? Yeah. Well, no…

I admit, I did make an “ooh” noise as I made my way to the scanner. I realise that I may sound like I am strangely into scanners but I’m really not. Although can see their potential for fun. I digress. I made my way to the scanner where my lovely colleague pointed out that there was blood. I, in my true, Yorkshire, “can’t be doing wi’ it” manner, said it was nowt and looked on as I anticipated a fun time of scanning. Actually, I can’t really remember the scanning bit. I know, it sounds like this is the twist where I passed out through blood loss, doesn’t it? It isn’t. I just don’t retain practical information well and have actually forgotten what happened. There was a pushing of buttons and something got scanned. I went back to my desk to have a look and see what appeared on my screen (again, I apologise for the lack of communication but I forget what I was scanning. I am boring myself now…).

Sat at my desk, there was a right furore kicking off in the office. I put my earphones in to concentrate on my own job but I felt eyes burning into me like a laser burning into a mystical goose. In my mental absence, it had been decided that I should report it. My cut – which was a graze – needed to be reported. I asked why.

“You might sue”, came the reply.

“I won’t”, I said, confidently.

“But you might…” came the retort. Now accompanied by the first of many frowns.

Now, I can understand if I had to make a report in case I blacked out or caught amnesia (you don’t catch amnesia, do you?) but it seemed odd to make it “in case” I sued the people who owned the desk which I’d been stupid enough to catch my own hand on. I can’t envisage a situation where I would accidentally claim. In a strangely ironic scenario, I know there are companies who deal with suing people when they’ve had an accident at work. I have never heard of a firm suing someone because the accident at work was accidentally suing someone…

I appreciated the lovely lady I work with was concerned and, as silly as I thought the process to be, I am new to this world of corporate “how to” so I went along with it. I said I’d nip to the kitchenette (it’s just a kitchen but that word is so much better, isn’t it?) and got a paper towel to hold to the wound so as to stem the… well, in case a flow developed. As I came back to the office, I saw something which put my silly little scuff into perspective. Someone high up in the situation control unit walked by me with a massive First Aid kit. Seriously, I have packed less luggage for a fortnight away. I thought something serious must have happened to someone, somewhere and was genuinely concerned. I can cope with a scratch on my hand but to think there was someone so hurt that they required that much attention, well, that’s serious.

Turns out it was for me. Yes, my barely noticeable mark now required another person in authority to administer first aid. Once I’d shown them where the wound was, of course (unfortunately there wasn’t a magnifying glass in the kit). I wiped the wound myself because, well, I didn’t want to get anyone pregnant. Then another person put a plaster on my hand. All done. Procedure finished. Job done. I could get back to typing up my idea for the meeting which was now distinctly closer than it had been before I’d knocked myself on a desk.

Except I couldn’t. In case I did accidentally sue without realising it (or developed lockjaw, as I was told could be one concern!!), I had to fill in a report form. Or something. As I say, I am rubbish at remembering things like that and I honestly couldn’t tell you what the form was for. However, it was deemed necessary and so I went along with it (I was really quite desperate to finish this idea by now). Embarrassed and almost ashamed by the attention that was being given to me and my perfectly operational hand, I wrote out the report.

“I was sat at my desk and I knocked my hand on my desk. There was a loose nail(!), I caught it and have now repaired the nail. Al is still alive”.

After witness statements were written (I kid you not) and photographs of the danger zone (hardly Top Gun, is it?), the report was filed. Half an hour after something happened which I’d forgotten about because my attention span is so short, I could go back to writing an idea I’d forgotten I’d had about something because I’d been distracted for a reason I forget.

Now, I do wish to point out that it was lovely of everyone I work with to show such concern for me. Or the company’s accounts. I’m not entirely sure which. Actually, because I’m a trusting person who believes in thinking positively and seeing the best in people, I genuinely think they were all being lovely. I know it’s great that there is a system and all that, and not everyone is the sort of person who just gets on with things without trying to make a fast bit of cash; but I forget to enter the lottery so this certainly wasn’t going to be a route I looked at.

I suppose I am just from a completely different background where I don’t worry about things like that. Maybe that is wrong. Maybe it is right. Either way, I refuse to live in fear. Why worry about negative things that may happen when you can get excited about positive things which are possible. That’s the way I see it. I have to admit, it did open my hands; even if it didn’t open a wound.

So, Here’s What I Have Learnt Today: If you cut yourself, don’t tell anyone because you won’t be able to do your work and it will make you twenty minutes late for a meeting which, ironically, you’d have been on time for had you not reported the fact that you’d cut yourself. I am fascinated by office life but I’d be lying if I said I understood it and, as I have proven today, I am too honest to lie.

AFTERTHOUGHT: In the writing of this piece, I have been trying to think back to other events in the day and I genuinely can’t remember. I really hope I haven’t sued anyone and simply forgotten about it… Now, where’s that lottery ticket. Ah man, I forgot again!!!