Erida the Receptionist

By on January 11, 2016

In Greek mythology, Erida is the goddess of chaos, strife, and general discord. Legend has it that Erida very willingly and generously casts down bitterness, anger and vile hatred on people and makes then dislike each other even for the tiniest reasons. Some legends even consider her to be the in-charge for arrogance and selected misdemeanors.

A few days ago, On Friday 8th January, I met a lady, a receptionist to be exact, who must have been a descendant of Erida. Everything about her screamed evil. She spoke like a demon, looked like one and even smelled like one. Arrogant, disrespectful, boastful and immodest are among the adjectives that one would use to describe her.

For purposes of this blog post, I shall call this receptionist Erida – for obvious reasons.

On the fateful day, I happened to have a 10:00 am meeting scheduled with a Kampala lawyer; one of the big names responsible for keeping some really hard core criminals out of jail. He had requested for a ‘ brief chat’ about social media. He and his business partner wanted to pick my otherwise small brain on a few insights regarding Social Media.

Lawyers are stubborn but brilliant people so to impress them you have to think twice as hard and be twice as eloquent and cogent.

So I prepped quite well.

I am not the best time-keeper, in fact, I am a horrible time keeper but on certain occasions I like to shock myself and the gods. This was one of those occasions. I got to the office at 9:40am. In my books, going for a 10 O’clock meeting at 9:40 am is my way of recognizing that the meeting is a high value meeting. And oftentimes I reward myself by being abnormally late for the next meeting. The order must always be restored.

So, anyway, when I got to the office, I was ushered in by a security guard who wore a smile so wide it was impossible to by-pass him and not say hello. Then I proceeded to the reception.

Now if you have been to big offices, you know that the reception area is more than just a place where visitors sit and wait to be ushered in to see the big man or woman while they read old editions of Newsweek, The O Magazine and local dailies. The reception of this office was a beautiful lounge with a neat stack of the latest international Magazines and papers, lined up on a glass table with expensive couches surrounding the glass table from each side. There was a water dispenser in the corner of the room and right next to it was a tiny refrigerator, because having only a water dispenser is a reserve of the office of a Primary School Headmaster. An arm’s length from the tiny refrigerator was a table. The table had a basket of several delicious looking fruits. At first I opened my eyes wide in surprise at the sight of the fruits, until I came closer and noticed they were actually plastic fruits.

A for Effort.

And not too far from the plastic fruits basket was an expensive desk. The kind of desk you would find at the IMF headquarters in Washington DC. The Desk looked so expensive it must have cost a fortune; which meant that this Company made quite a chunk of money. On the desk was a sparkling white 27‑inch iMac, a Samsung S6 and an AC remote.

At that point, I started to feel at home. Maybe these Lawyer guys wanted to introduce me to the good life especially after reading last week’s Blog Post about how I am an aspiring rich fella.

Manning the beautiful desk with expensive gadgets was a gorgeous woman who, like I mentioned, we shall call Erida.

Erida was dressed in Red; the colour that has been identified by researchers as an absolute aphrodisiac for most men; myself inclusive.

When I came close to her desk, I could see she was on the phone and she was engaged in a heated discussion about where the other person had spent the night. I was not about to cut her conversation short so I simply smiled and signaled to her that I would be making myself comfortable in one of the luxurious leather couches – until she was through with her call.

By now it was coming close to 09:44 am and I was sure my lawyer friend was either already in the office or just about to arrive. I had heard that lawyers keep time.

As I waited in the comfortable couch I pulled out my laptop to go over some last minute things and checked my gadgets to make sure they were in silent mode. No one wants the ‘Gyal a Bubble’ ringtone to go off in the middle of a high level presentation with prospective business clients. No, that’s not my ringtone – but you get the drift.

Six minutes later, I got up and approached Erida, just to remind her that I was waiting for her to finish her phone call.

She glanced in my direction, wore a smirk and carried on with her conversation. That was when I started to feel uneasy. Should I speak up while she is on phone? Should I stand here and enjoy the AC as I wait for her to complete her phonecall? Should I call my lawyer friend and tell him I was here?

I decided to go back to the couch. No need to rush, after all, I am already here and if the lawyer was around, he would have asked this front desk lady to usher me in. So he is probably not yet in.

I made myself comfortable once again and pulled out my phone to see what new things were happening on Instagram and what fire Twitter was brewing. Out of the corner of my eye I could tell that Erida was deep into her conversation which had now almost turned into a quarrel – she wasn’t about to stop.

For another four minutes, I just sat there, struggling to keep my cool, as I involuntarily eavesdropped. The language had now become crude and I was almost afraid to interrupt lest I get one of those words thrown in my direction.

I started to run out of patience because after arriving early for such a meeting, the last thing you want is for the person you are meeting to think you are not yet around.

So I attempted to approach Erida once more.

Erida motioned for me to go back to the lounge. She did this by looking my way and with her head, motioning towards the couch – where I had spent the last ten minutes.

Now I know that I am not the most patient person but I’d like to think that I was really working hard to keep my cool. I decided to speak even though she was on the phone.

“Good morning ma’am. I notice you’re on phone but I just needed to inquire ….”

“Can’t you see I am on phone?” She interrupted me, almost barking.

“Yes, I can see that. But I was thinking …”

“I will attend to you after my call!”

“Okay madam. I’ll be over there”

I went back to the couch, defeated. I felt like a little boy who was trying to get it on with an older woman who simply turns around and laughs in his face – crushing his ego in the process.

I was gutted but tried to convince myself that since I rarely sit on expensive couches, this was a golden chance to enjoy the couch.

Another three minutes passed. The couch was now becoming uncomfortable. Brand new leather yes, but I did not come here to enjoy this leather.

I became furious. Thirteen minutes and this lady is still on phone, unbothered by my presence. What madness is this?

So I decided to call my Lawyer friend. Within fourty seconds of calling him, a door marked ‘Manager’ opened and out came my friend. I got up, wore back my original smile and we shook hands.

When I looked in the direction of Erida, she was no longer on phone. Somehow when her boss walked in, the phone disappeared and Erida turned to the iMac and started typing away relentlessly. I gathered that there must have been a do-not-spend-the-whole-day-yapping-on-phone-if-you’re-the-receptionist rule or something similar because in that moment, Erida wore a cold and scared look. As if begging me not to say anything to her boss.

And I didn’t say anything – until now.

“Be a little kinder than you have to.” ― E. Lockhart, We Were Liars

a.k.a Beewol
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