I’m pleased to say that work has been relatively entertaining of late. More demolition work? No, just my work colleagues.
Regular readers of this blog may remember me mentioning a guy called Peter, who I worked with at Vasastaden in June. To refresh your memories, Peter was like a half-man, half-pig hybrid. He was exceptionally lazy, even by Swedish standards. The past two weeks I’ve been working with him and his equally slack accomplice Robban. Whenever I look in their direction, they are very rarely doing any actual work, and more often then not will be standing around chatting, or finding some other fun activity to do instead. For example today Robban made a Ned Kelly-style helmet with some left over metal tubing. Yesterday Peter and Robban were having a knife throwing competition against a soon-to-be demolished wall. The two of them seem incapable of working for more then 15 minutes at any one time before getting bored and distracted. When its break time, you can guarantee they’ll be the first in the tearoom, and they’ll also be the last to leave.
My other co-worker is Bjorn, the suspected alcoholic I worked with in Eriksberg. He is not nearly as lazy. In fact he is as busy as a beaver, and I mean like a beaver. He is constantly collecting and scrounging together tools and materials to take home. Last week he was using an electric drill he borrowed from the storerooms. “Hmm, this is a good drill,” he said, “I should get one like it.” Five minutes later I see him scratching the initials of the previous owner off, and replacing them with his own. Often he can be seen rummaging through the skips picking out bits of wood or metal he thinks he can reuse. The other day he took home a whole bucket of light switches and power point sockets, as well as some curtain railings. On Monday, he even took a green plastic “Exit” sign. He reckons they’re worth 700 Kr (A$125). I imagine half his home consists of DIY renovations with second hand materials. And as of this week his back door probably has an “Exit” sign too.
Bjorn isn’t too subtle either. He tries to be and thinks he succeeds, but it’s blatantly obvious to everyone in the whole building. You know he’s up to something when he turns up to work with his large rucksack. Rest assured he’ll leave that afternoon with it looking noticeably bulkier and heavier.
Certainly Peter and Robban have noticed Bjorn’s thieving, and their not impressed. Despite hardly being role-model employees themselves, they’ve been quick to take to their moral high horse, and denounce Bjorn’s light-fingered side work. “It’s okay to take some things from the rubbish if you do it after work”, Robban told me last week, “But when you’re at work, you work.” This was followed by a brief pause, where Robban must have become aware of how much work he had actually done as he then added “And talk. Sometimes we talk, but we don’t take things like he does. It’s wrong.”
Conversely, Bjorn is equally unimpressed by Robban and Peter’s idleness. “I’ve never had to work with people so lazy,” confided Bjorn the other day, also assuming the moral high ground. “When we finish here, I refuse to ever work with them again.”
Thus this week I’ve been stuck between conflicting sides, as each cannot help but gripe to be me about the other. I have to admit I’ve enjoyed watching them bicker and argue, while being completely oblivious to their own misdeeds. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I understood more Swedish.