Geneva is so pretty in spring. It’s the 3rd of May 1998, 7:39 AM and I just want to stay in bed. I really don’t want to go to work. I like most of the people and my work isn’t too bad but I feel so tired. I haven’t taken any days off since last summer and I need to take a week for myself in the next 3 months. I should take a few days off in August and go to Berlin with friends. We could take the train and rent an Airbnb. I really need to travel with friends.
I really need to go to work. If I keep dreaming I’m just going to be late and I don’t like being late. It’s not a healthy behavior for me. I try to be there on time or early so that people don’t see me as lazy but I am. I just want to be able to have a happy life and a rewarding job but also lots of vacation time.
I work in sales for Omega. It’s a swiss watch brand. It’s not too bad. Like anyone else I have my good and bad days. Maybe working for a watch company makes me not like being late for work. It’s weird when I think about it.
I finally get up and go to the kitchen. I make a caramel frappuccino, toast some bread, and get all my stuff ready. I quickly eat my toast with some jam and put my coffee in a portable mug. I pretty much run out of the door and I barely have my clothes on. Did I take a shower? I don’t remember
When I walk out of my apartment building there is a young man sitting on the side of the road. He seems to be in his very early 20’s. I’m 27. He seems to be middle Eastern or from northern country in Africa. He is making gestures and asks for money. I decided to slow down and pull out of my coat 5 francs and give it to him. I then tell him: “Have a pleasant day”
He then says: “ thank you! You are very kind” in a very broken french.
“No, it is just the right thing to do. People should give a little to people in need. ” I’m curious as of where he is from. I look curiously at his face and all of the details. We all judge someone’s appearance before we talk to them. It’s just a fact. I get curious. So I ask “Are you born here?”
“ No, no, I’m from Palestine.” He adds: “I was originally born in Jerusalem and then lived in the West Bank.”
“Oh,ok. I know it’s weird to ask but why did you come here?”
“My family moved to the Netherlands years ago due to political tensions in my country and at the time I was not able to leave. Recently, I was able to leave but ran out of money before I could get there. Now I’m stuck here and have to beg for money.”
At this point it’s hard to say anything because I feel like crap that he is in this situation and that he is trying to get back to his family. Now when I complain about not having enough vacation. Maybe I should rethink what is my problem. I tell him: “ Well I hope you will be able to meet them.” I then decide to give him 10 more francs because of the problems he has to go through and will go through. I then say goodbye and go to take the bus.
I walk down to the bus stop and wait for mine. I usually take number twenty-three because it goes directly to the office. I however decide to take number twenty-five so that I can stop and get food for noon.
I drink my coffee from my mug and look up all of the people on the bus look dead. They all seem to have a grim face. They seem ready to yell at the next person who asks if the seat next to them is empty. I get off and walk into a bakery called “Au Coclico”. It’s a small place run by a family from eastern europe. They are really good at making these delicious sandwiches with salami and prosciutto.
I finally get to work at 8:45 I usually get in at 8:30 but I think I’m going to stay longer today. So that my superiors don’t get mad at me. They never do get mad at me but I just want to keep our interactions at a minimum. I don’t like them.
I walk to the coffee machine to make myself more coffee. I decide to have an espresso with some cream and caramel. It ends up being a frappuccino. It tastes so good.
I then walk to the office but Marc stops me.
“Hey the report you sent last week has to be redone.”
“Why?” I’m confused. I believed the report was completed and my superiors had signed of on it last week.
“Apparently the people in marketing want us to report more information about who the consumer for each product is. Their age, their sex, etc..”
“It’s not my job to do that. It’s the guys in marketing’s job to do that. They’re the stats guys.”
“I’m sorry, but your going to have to work with them. I didn’t mean this to happen.”
Sure you didn’t you lying scum bag. Marc is not someone I like as you can tell. He is not very friendly to people. He sees himself as higher than everyone else even though he isn’t a supervisor to anyone. I’ve told my supervisor about the issue but he mostly ignored me and told me “to deal with my own problems on my free time”. I really wanted to kick him in the groin.
Great! Now I have to work with those idiots in marketing. I really don’t like the stats group they always tell us to and I quote: “Do a better job.” Even though most of the screw ups come from them when they lie in their advertising.
They also love to judge us on the quality of our work. I sometimes do as well but they voice their opinion out loud and make everyone feel like crap.
The only friend I have in that department is Julien. Really nice guy. we went to a few of the Servette FC teams soccer games. He’s a big fan of theirs. He really is a big fan of soccer in general. The guy loves bringing friends with him. I really don’t know how we got to know each other. We don’t get to talk since we are on different floors.
Be for I go down I’m going to go put my stuff to my desk and check some papers and a few emails. Most of the time when dealing with sales is the junk people will send. I got a letter a month ago which was from one of our retailers giving me lots of trouble and saying that I had ripped them off by putting the price higher than it is. That’s a load of bull. I had done nothing of the sort and in response I sent him an internal company chart of pricing on each product and what every other retailer has paid for the same products.
Anyway, After having looked at all the orders we received and other little issues that I had to deal with. I decided to finally go to the elevator and go down to see the marketing team so that I can finally finish that report and never look at it again.
Because we are almost done with the first half of the year, each department has to do a review of what has happened. For our department sales were up, Which is great news to our superiors, but our revenue was the same as it was during last year’s first half and of course doing the same as last time is always bad for a company which to me sounds stupid because if you saw what the amount we made you would be completely fine with it. For executives the same is not enough. You always have to make more. It’s quite sad honestly hearing these people cry about money that they really don’t need because most of them are already wealthy but greed is an addiction.
I make my way down to marketing and it’s already a hell hole. Everyone looks like they are about to get at each others throat. I cautiously travel through the room to get to Julien’s desk. When I get there my heart sinks. He’s not here. I ask the person next to him if she has seen him. She tells me; “ No, he has gone on vacation”
“Oh, ok.” That’s weird he didn’t tell me he was going on vacation. I then reply “ Well, I needed his help to finish the bi-yearly report for the higher-ups.”
“I can help you. I don’t have too much to do”
“Oh… Ok, I need to have some information on the different groups of people we sell to. Is it possible to get that?”
“ Yeah, I just need to get a few files and I’ll be right with you.” She gets up and goes around the corner.
I then sit down at Julien’s desk. There’s not much there just his computer and a mug that he clearly drank out of but forgot to bring it back to the kitchen. I look at the girl’s desk. She has quite a lot of stuff on it. There’s a picture of her with what I presume is her dog. It look like a German shepherd or a Belgian shepherd. They look very happy. There are what looks to be small asian cat statues. I have no clue what they represent but look really cute. She also seems to like candy quite a lot. She has a bag full of different sorts of candy of all colours and shapes. Some look like multicolored snakes. I want candy right now.
She walks back with multiple binders in her hand. She drops them on her desk. “Alright, here you go.”
“Please, oh please, tell me there isn’t more. I have other things to do.”
“No, there is a tone more. It’s gonna take you all day! No, don’t worry this is it. There really isn’t that much in these binders” She opens them up and looks at the end of each month for the charts. “Ok what do you want?”
“Thank you by the way for helping me you really didn’t have to. I actually don’t know your name?”
“I’m Cecilia. And you?”
“I’m Alex. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Yeah! Now what do you need?”
“All I need are general stats about who we sell to. Gender, age, way in which paid, average spent, etc…”
We spent the next hour getting all of the information. I got everything done and I was very happy. We had a lovely chat about her dog. Whose name is Joe and I was kind of right. He is a German Shepherd. We also talked about the small cat statues. She told me she got them from her trip to Tokyo a few years ago. She then asked i I had been anywhere special. I told her I had traveled to Easter Island and had gone multiple times to Auckland in New Zealand. She was very surprised by that.
We had such a lovely conversation. I look at the clock and I see that it’s 11:55 am. I have so much work to do so I get up.
“Hey would you like to go to dinner or Coffee?” She asks while grabbing my hand as I get up.
“Dinner sounds like a good idea. Do you want to go somewhere special?”
“No. Do you have a place you would want to go?”
“Yeah there is a place near the lac called ‘Il Lago’. Want to go there?”
“ That sounds great let’s meet at 6:30.”
“All right. Call me if anything happens.”
“See you then.”
I finally get back at my desk and finish all of my work for the day. For the rest of the day all I thought about was dinner. That’s all that I want. I honestly thought that today was going to be a s#@t day but instead it ended up being quite nice. I met a kind person who was able to help me and asked me to dinner. It’s not my first time being asked to dinner but usually I ask the person if they want to go to dinner. So this was a very pleasant surprise.
At 4:00 I decide to leave and go home to get ready for dinner. I get on the bus. Everyone seems happy that their day is done and they can finally go home. The sky is clear with a very bright and beautiful sun. It’s a really nice way to end the work day.
When I got home. I noticed a sign on the wall where I had met the young gentleman. He had written on it, ‘to the person who gave some money to me earlier today. I thank you. I hope you that god may protect you and that your family lives a very well life’. It’s a little broken french but that’s very kind of him. He didn’t have to. He was just in need and it was the right thing to do.
I right on it, ‘No problem. We should help our friends in need.’
I go up to my apartment and get dressed for dinner. I decide to put a blue shirt on and put some perfume on.
I walk back out and take the bus down to the lake. When I get there I go to a flower shop and get 15 roses and go meet her. She came with Joe. He is such a sweetheart. I hand her the lovely flowers and we go to ‘Il Lago’.
La FinTags: Geneva Short story
‘Il Lago’ by Luca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.