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Ice Breaker

Submitted by on November 21, 2017 – 8:26 amNo Comment

icebreaker

Training days can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand you get to spend the day drinking tea, eating biscuits and chatting to your workmates, which is always better than working. However, on the other hand you have to engage in such stupidity as rowing imaginary boats, role play and ‘getting to know each other’. Which is always stupid in a workplace where most people have worked together for the last decade.

My teaching assistant and I had made a pact before the training that, no matter what, we were sitting together, none of this sitting next to someone you didn’t really know or like.

This particular trainer wanted us all to ‘know each other just a little bit better’. Which is never a good idea with people you already know far too well. “We will do a little Ice Breaker. Let’s imagine (role play coming up, everyone gets twitchy and stares out of the window and just wishes that being able to ‘beam out’ of here was a reality) we are all on a bus”. Oh for fuck’s sake reverberated silently around the room. We obediently rearranged the furniture so that the chairs were in rows of two behind each other. This was our bus.

I sat next to my teaching assistant, as was our deal. She, not so gently, pushed a few people out of the way so that we were sat together. She was not about to sit next to someone she hadn’t worked with every day for the last five years. God knows where that type of behaviour could lead.

“Tell your partner something about yourself they don’t already know”, the trainer ordered. Sounds simple enough, but I was sat next to a person who already told me everything about herself. She’d tell me what she had for breakfast, dinner and tea. How she cooked it, where she bought the ingredients, what ingredients to use, how to mix it, how long to cook it. This was to a person she knew had absolutely no interest in cooking or making stuff. All I am interested in is eating the final product.

She’d tell me about her children, how they were doing at school, what they said to her that morning, what she said to them. What they wore, how they wore their hair, what hair products they used, who their friends were, who they didn’t like. What they watched on Netflix. She’d tell me all about her husband, his work, what he did or didn’t do the evening before, who his friends were. I knew all about her sex life, when she had had it or not.

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Not having it was of great concern to her and she’d deliberate about the issue for many a long hour. Why they hadn’t had it, when they were going to have it, how they were going to have it and where. She’d tell me about her ‘time of the month’, what it was like, how it felt and if she was late or not. So really I’m thinking that this woman isn’t going to be able to tell me anything about herself that I don’t already know. So I turn to her with a smug look on my face and say, “So, tell me something about yourself I don’t already know”. There was a brief hush, which for her was very unusual. “Ha! You can’t do it, can you?”, I say complacently. She sat stubbornly looking forward, legs crossed, her foot tapping out a rhythm to a non-existent tune.

She turns to me: “I’ve seen your dick”, she replies, with a huge superior look on her face. “NO, no, you haven’t”, I stutter. “How, when, what do you mean?” I say, looking around nervously.

“I’ve seen your cock”, she repeats with more confidence, knowing she has me on the back foot.

“You have not seen my cock”.

“I have the picture in my phone”, she replies.

“A picture, a picture, it could be any cock, how do you know it is my cock?” I say, a little irritated that she had been able to tell me something that I didn’t know, even though it was bollocks.

“I got it from a reliable source”, she says, smiling.

“Show it me”, I say.

“You want me to show you a picture of a cock?” she says in a loud voice. Because she was aware that now, everyone in the room was also interested in the picture of my cock.

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I looked around to see every face staring at me. I turned as red as a traditional tomato, not one of those genetically modified yellow, orange or stripy tomatoes which are a bit scary I think. “Well”, says the trainer, “I thought the conversation would be more appropriate for a bus”. She’d obviously never been on the 192.

The trainer prattles on about shite, and my face is still red with embarrassment. I say to my teaching assistant, “Why am I embarrassed?, I don’t have a picture of some random bloke’s cock in my phone?”

She looks me in the face and says that long-held customary retort, used by many a working class woman through the ages: “Fuck off”.

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