Last updated on
November 22, 2022.
November 22, 2022.
Enough with the rants, there are other things also which are quite unpleasant to say the least. One of them is the dust that collects on all the horizontal surfaces. I now can see for myself the cause of death of so many floppy drives and floppy disc´s. I rub my finger forward across the surface of my desk, thus collecting an in size increasing rim of very fine ochre powder. Every day the maintenance crew comes by and cleans the offices. It is apparent to me that this is clearly a lost battle.
The offices themselves are not that large. The central corridor runs length wise through the centre of the building, with on both sides entrances to the various offices. Some have doors, some don´t. For reasons of convenience, I am told with a laugh. Most of them contain two desks and two or three chairs. When in use colleges nearly touch backs with one another. Not so very spacious I am afraid!
At the end of the day after having refreshed myself I stroll into the direction of the diner. Behind me I hear in a strong Scottish accent; "Look, if I am not mistaken, there goes the bean-counter from Amsterdam". I look over my shoulder and behind me are three guys apparently also making their way to the diner. All three of them are quite sturdy individuals I must say. But we have one certain winner amongst them. The guy has long hair, a beard like a pirate, is wearing a cap and looks like a Scottish version of a Sumo wrestler and is dressed in flannel. If I look straight forward, I am staring against the bottom rim of his impressive beard. That tall he is. Not someone to jerk around with.
"Are you the bean-counter from Amsterdam?", he asks again. I inquire whether he has any beans for me to count, and if so than I can be found in office number so and so. This results into some laughter and mockery from his other two colleges, after which we introduce ourselves to one another. I present myself as being a member of the Amsterdam accounting staff and explain in a nutshell what I am supposed to be doing around here for the next four weeks. "So, you are the bean-counter from Amsterdam" is the reply! It is a fact now; I am now officially the "bean-counter" from Amsterdam. I have been given a name. I now belong! Finally!
We enter the diner, sit down and have dinner together, during which I learn that the three of them, with some assistance from a handful of local people, run the warehouse with drilling supplies. I learn that the biggest problem they are confronted with is one of administrative logistics. Momentarily everything of what they do is registered in a spreadsheet rather than an accounting package. Write off´s and all. So, they were wondering what is used in Amsterdam for this purpose. I am beginning to understand why they were more or less looking for me. Not "a bean-counter", but "the bean-counter". They wanted to hear me out concerning procedures that are followed in Amsterdam, and see if they could possibly adopt some of them.
In the evening after dinner, the dining room is converted into a bar. The lights are dimmed, the Indian musical contortionists are singing and the drinks are not very expensive. I stand at end of the small bar and I drink a beer while talking with some of the others. It is in the middle of the week and it is quiet, there are not that many visitors. I learn that during the weekends there are many more people present. Some of the local girls that are employed as kitchen staff will also be there.
As a rule the authorities do not allow the local population to join these dance evenings, except for the girls that are employed here. I am told this will be the highlight of the week, since there are no other women here to fraternize with for many miles around. Did I mention that the staff works here for a month and then has one month of leave? Did I mention that a labor day here starts at seven and ends at seven? Well, I have now! Oh boy, five girls from the camps bakery shop will come to the weekly disco that is attended by a round and about eighty men!
The Chelleken environment does do the strangest of things too and with people. Where they appeared in Amsterdam as gentlemen, out here they seem to cut loose from every form of civilization. At some stage the conversation turns to hobbies. I start to tell about my passion regarding Japanese bonsai trees, and how beautiful they are. At this stage one of the people that populate the bar, an older gentlemen I met about a month ago in the Amsterdam office and who apparently has followed the conversation, begins to laugh and talk very loudly about his own pretty bonsai and how well it can grow.
Still completely wrapped up in my own story, I begin to make an attempt in order to point out that growth is supposed to be controlled in such a way, that dwarf size is enforced upon nature where in reality it does not exist. Holding a beer in his left hand, grabbing himself full in the groin with the right, he loudly exclaims that with his bonsai growth is absolutely no problem. Needles to say that this was the point where the conversation ended. I was just stuck with the question whether or not this was a mask, different from the one in Amsterdam, or was it the content of keg of beer talking. Or maybe it was just me? I was simply too bloody sober and much too bloody serious that evening in that environment?