Saturday, 7 July 2007

This post is titled Poles Apart. But blogger refuses to let me type a title!

Ah the big day has finally arrived. The boys have shown up on the doorstep ready to deprive of us of all detritus of 30 years of international wanderings. And my shoes. It is very easy to work out the Alpha Male, the leader of the as he struts into the house asking questions, pointing hither and tither. I am however drawn to the silent blond boy at the back. He has the look of the newbie. Not confident enough to speak his mind or voice an opinion. But it is easy to see that he is confident within himself. It takes Iyawo all of five minutes to work out that he is Polish ( another talent she has which I lack).

Let me demonstrate my grasp of humanity. In the lift at the Eko a month ago with Iyawo and the little one and in walked in about four Air Stewardesses on their way back to the airport. The little one got started on his rolling his eyes and acting cute business which all women seem to love (I beg he did not get it from me oh). They soon start oohign and aahing and asking him all sorts of questions. Time for Dad to step in and show son how it is done. "So where are you guys from, Ghana?". Iyawo replies before they do. "No South Africa." Imagine African man that cannot tell difference between Ghana accent and SA accent. Things got a bit silent in the lift after that.

Anyway back to the move. So on day one things go swimmingly. I was amazed how fast our things were disappearing into the lorry. I wondered how come we were told it would take 5 days to move when half the house was gone in one day. Things slowed a bit on the second day but we were still getting closer to the bare bones. It was the third day that things took a turn.

As soon as alpha male stepped off the lorry I knew he was unhappy. As he was an Arsenal fan I thought he might be concerned about their upcoming relegation battle this season what with Thierry va va vooming off to greener pastures. But no. It turns out that the tables had turned so to speak. Whereas the last few days it had been two Brits and one Pole. Today due to a scheduling catastrophe we had two Poles and one Brit. One very unhappy Brit. He promptly dispatched the Poles upstairs whilst he stayed downstairs and regaled us over and over with how unhappy he was with them. Their greatest offence being that they did not speak English. Actually they did, but not in the Essex way. Now these guys were not illegals. They had actually been transferred from the Polish arm of the moving company.

Less than an hour later another van pulled into the drive and we were greeted by another chap who had apparently been summoned by Alpha Male to help him out. So there you have it. A rebalancing of life's forces. We then endured hour after hour of grumbling, mumbling verbiage about how the suits in the office were idiots and how could they have made such an error and thank God that Alpha male 2 had shown up otherwise Alpha male 1 would have had to have lunch alone and surely the world would have come to an end. Meanwhile upstairs the Poles worked their way through several bedrooms all they while communicating in a very guttural, under breath sort of way. I hate to imagine what they were muttering.

The next morning things were back to normal. This time there were no Poles to be seen. So what happened? "They've been sent on another job." So what do you have against them I enquired?" "I just don't like them" came the reply. "They come over here, they take our jobs and they do it at a lower rate making life harder for us". So ever the advocate of the dark side I put forth the following for discussion. "Imagine your office in the US, running short of manpower, put out a call to the UK office for some hardy men like yourselves. In return they were prepared to pay you less than they would pay the home grown staff but for you it was still double what you currently earned and of course there was the bonus of being in the US of A? What would you do?" Silence. Then alpha Male 1 replies "well once you put it like that I guess I can see it from their point of view." Alpha male 2 nodded vigorously (obviously overcome at the depth of my reasoning).

So there you have it. I have single handedly built a bridge across Europe. Now for the Middle East........