Posted: 29 July 2016 by Jo Griffin
The other afternoon I was stationed at the front desk and answered the front door to a chap I didn’t know from a bar of soap. He had a large oil painting with him and was reluctant to leave without palming it off on somebody.
Your correspondent’s explanation that there is another business at The Malthouse, albeit down stairs from us and through a different front door, was drawn out and painful. The rest of the DKA crowd listened with mild amusement as I slowly reasoned that yes, this was the right building…but no, he wouldn’t find the lady in question here….he would have to go out of the door and down the stairs. Yes, I was sure she wasn’t one of my colleagues. I know all their names, you see.
As the DKA Gatekeeper (which I prefer as a title to Practice Administrator and might change my autosig) I have the privilege of greeting everybody when they come a’visiting. I’m chums with the friendly delivery drivers, the flirty delivery drivers and the frightening delivery drivers. I know all the postmen and they very politely act like they know me. I’m the first person interviewees meet when they arrive (remember to be nice to the receptionist when you go for an interview! Really). I’m Honorary Mum to the work experience kids when they come in. I get to meet the consultants and the contractors and the clients and aren’t they all a lovely bunch. As DKA reception is a republic you all get the same tea or coffee and cake if you are lucky enough to be in on somebody’s birthday. You all get offered the Parking Permit to borrow and you all receive the same Death Glare if you forget to return it. I’m very fair like that.
I’ve been answering doors for a very long time which is why I’m so good at it. My earliest door answering memory is of when, as a small child, I beat my parents to it only to discover (then) Conservative Party Candidate, Toy Shop Owner and Local Big Banana Eric Snook on the other side. I was star struck and in awe. That is my only celebrity door answering experience to date, although one of the Sydney Buildings postmen does look like Duncan from Blue.
Now you might be feeling a little envious of my fun answering the door, but I haven’t even told you about answering THE PHONE. Yes! The mystery, who will it be? A buddy who I speak to on a regular basis or, who knows, potential new opportunities? Or, as likely as not, a cold caller or somebody concerned to know if I’ve been in an accident in the past 5 years. Those ones get short shift of course in my strictest teacher voice but as for the rest I do get very fond of them.
What you won’t know if you are one of my regular callers though is, I have probably formed a very clear opinion of what you look like and when you do actually visit the office in person I’m likely to be massively shocked to discover you don’t comply with the mental image I have for you. Obviously I couldn’t possibly put names to (imaginary) faces but I have a lovely Arthur Lowe chap who I enjoy speaking to, a delightful Bubble from Ab Fab and sometimes to my great delight Paddington Bear rings.
I do hope I never meet the last one in real life as there’s a very real danger that I’ll vault across the reception desk and cuddle him and that really wouldn’t do at all.