On Friday morning, I bumped into someone I used to work with, lo these many years ago, before I left New Zealand. He looks much the same more than a decade down the track – maybe a bit smoother and healthier even, as if he’s ageing in reverse. The Irish accent that used to cause me trouble, especially after a beer or two on a Friday night, has softened so he’s more comprehensible. But otherwise he’s the same – chatty and friendly and full of updates about the people we both know.
I’d been telling Travis the night before how much I’d enjoyed working with him and with all the other guys (it was a blokey work environment) in the IT department of my university. I’m not sure exactly why I liked it so much because it was a dodgy place in many ways. My first supervisor there went to the pub at lunch time and came back a couple of hours later slurring and incoherent. He was no use to anyone in the afternoon. The other guys were variously socially inept, overly aggressive, sexist, and so on and on.
But I always found ITS a comfortable and safe place to be. Perhaps because the culture was so tolerant (in fact even proud) of the eccentricities of its members. We were all free to be whatever we wanted to be, no matter how annoying or odd. I appreciated it.