‘Oh f**k’ !

Friday was one of those great days filled with limitless possibilities. One of my agencies was holding an event (conference / workshop / sales pitch) at Millbank Tower in London so this meant a long commute free day for me and a few hours, in the morning anyway, of getting out of my immediate work frame of reference.

Opting for the Circle Line round to Westminster at 0800 it was fun to see a different sort of commuter than my usual 0700 finance and construction worker dominated journey on the Central Line. It was almost like taking a vacation. School kids and mothers, nannies, shop workers etc. By the time I got to Westminster and walked alongside the Houses of Parliament I was truly in the ‘ambling-in-London-in-fall mode’.

I suspect being in this state made me more observant to those who were not and as I looked ahead coming towards me was a happy, suited, Euro-type, youngish man smart overcoat (1st NB velvet collar – I keep saying this IS the year for velvet !), iPod buds in, staring intently at his Blackberry. (2nd NB When you chart man’s evolution just after learning to walk upright will come being able to walk and work on a smartphone!).

A few feet away his expression changed and he visibly mouthed ‘OH F**K !’

No words, just the distinctive mouthing of that catch-all phrase followed by a slight colouring up of his face and an increase in speed.

I took evasive action since he was now locked in the ‘zone’ and oblivious to oncoming traffic that was not contained within a tiny screen.

For the remainder of my walk along Millbank and The Thames I considered how his day had been changed in a second. His sunny disposition being replaced with a look of horror / fear. The irony is it was all his fault. He had made the decision to start his working day BEFORE he got to the office.

That’s the joy of portable communications YOU decide when to engage. That’s why they have off buttons, silence features etc. Using them should make things easier for you, not harder, but you must use them responsibly. A lot of things are deemed urgent, very few are important. You need to learn to filter.

I bet he would have had a much better start to the day if he had waited until he had switched on his email when seated at his desk with his 2nd cup of coffee. Then again he may just have received news that his Great Aunt from Madrid was paying a surprise visit but I don’t think so.


The Conference was fun. Stimulating and very relevant to what was in my own in-box so I had no need to feel guilty about neglecting my own email !

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