Ahh, Mr. Photocopier. So we meet again. I have travelled thousands of miles across the seas just to let you spit your inky crap all over my hands.
It should have been a brief encounter, I only had ten pages to copy, but the display was shrieking CHANGE TONER. Beside the copier was a sign that said SEE SHAUNA IF TONER NEEDS CHANGING. As far as I knew I was the only Shauna.
I'd been shown how to change it four times already, but it's like changing a tyre. You can watch it being done a million times but performing the deed yourself is a different story. Being a stubborn buffoon, I wasn't about to ask for another demonstration.
No worries, I said, taking the new cartridge from the box. I studied the diagrams. All I had to do was stick the cartridge thingy on top of the long thingy, then pull this little plastic thingy that empties the ink thingy until it says STOP. Righto.
I gave the plastic thingy a good firm tug, just to show it who was boss. Sure enough the STOP message came up. But it didn't stop! I'd pulled too hard! The flat plastic thingy that holds the ink inside ended up in my hands and the whole apparatus just sort of exploded. Ink powder vomited into every crevice of the copier, black dust pouffed up into my face.
I stumbled back into the office, "Help! I've cocked up big time!"
Two colleagues came to investigate. "Marsho, that is the fuck-up of the year."
I wanted to cry. Today on the bus I'd decided I would write a Proper Entry, not just another episode of Shauna Screws Up. Where's my profound travellers experiences? My personal growth? They fetched me an old t-shirt, a bucket and some paper towels. I spent the next hour on my hands and knees, scooping out ink by the handful. I scrubbed and swore and entertained passers-by with renditions of Mammy.
The ink was a sneaky, omnipresent bastard. As soon as I wiped it from one place it would laugh and splatter elsewhere – on the screen, the buttons, under my nails, over my official Talented Athlete Program shirt.
But as I sat there trying to pull back my sleeves with my teeth, I tried looking at the situation in a different light. If I was back in Australia at my old job, would I have spent the morning on the floor with a bucket of water, colleagues cackling at me, ink up my nose? Oh no. I'd have commanded some admin slave boy to tackle the task!
So really, this was a new and exciting experience. I brushed and scrubbed, brushed and scrubbed; slowly and tenderly uncovering lost bits of machine from under the rubble like my own Pompeii.