The advent of Brisbane’s colder months certainly provides plenty of fodder for small talk in the office, but in some workplaces, the temperature can merely serve as a distraction from unwelcome personal crises. This was certainly the case this morning at Eagle St firm, Nicholson Hewitt & West, as mild-mannered Dispute Resolution associate, Nicholas Waters (37), grappled with his crumbling marriage.
‘Bit of unwelcome frost in the air this morning!’ declared Nicholas, cheerily marching into the office as if he hadn’t just sat through two hours of devastating relationship counselling, before a phone call with his divorce lawyer that placed the horror of his financial position into stark view.
For a fleeting moment, his co-workers hoped he was talking about the weather. First-year grad Rachel Howard (23) even attempted a half-hearted ‘Yeah, the weather’s really turned south recently!’
The office waited with breath bated, but their fears were not abated as Nicholas very quickly responded with a reproach as blunt as his divorce lawyer’s morning phone call.
‘No, Rachel, I’m talking about the abject failure of my relationship with the woman with whom I promised to spend the rest of my days.’
Silence fell across the cubicles, before a light chuckle from Nicholas served to lighten the mood for a moment, but then sink the mood even further as his co-workers began to see that, behind his eyes, there was no glimpse of good humor.
After all, we live in a society.
‘Gee, bit cold this morning though,’ he continued to chuckle, heading into his office to begin working on the Penske file.
The scariest thing about Nicholas’ slow breakdown isn’t that he’s trying to hide it, nor that he’s trying to make jokes about it.
It’s that there’s a criminal in The White House. And by the way - he’s the President of the United States.
Heaps more to come, how good.