Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Summer Moved On

*click*Houston, we have a problem*click*

*tch-tch*Roger that Babylon 5, please state the nature of the problem *tch-tch*

*click*Yeah: Houston we’re encountering a high degree of interference from a highly reflective surface in sector twelve: seeking permission to use the Photon Ray Emitter to delete? *click*

*tch-tch*That’s a negative Babylon 5: it’s just the Hungry Pixie out on a bike ride*tch-tch*

Sunday morning and, unaware of the problems my day-glo cycling jacket are causing to astronauts, I’m out the door slightly later than the last couple of weeks.

Not, I hasten to add, because my advancing years have made it harder for me to get out of bed, but because the colder weather is now definitely setting in. Just two or three weeks ago I had to get out of the door by 7:30-8am to ensure that it wasn’t simply too hot. Now, despite the clear blue sky, there’s a chill wind that forces me to keep the offending jacket on throughout.

A few other cyclists are braving the weather and some of the old-guard of really serious cyclists still nod and say hello as they pass (although increasingly more don’t). Aware that my weeks of cycling before the winter are now numbered I take one of my favourite 22 mile routes through the country lanes, past dismembered windmills and empty fields. About 15-16 miles into the journey I start to feel quite tired and, aware that I have not managed to get anywhere near as fit as I would have liked this year, I head for home (making the journey in a respectable 1hr 56 mins)

Monday morning and I’m on the train to yet another interview. The job I’m going for pays shed loads (1) more money than my current one, but is about fifty miles away. Ironically the train journey takes roughly the same time as it takes me to get across town on the bus (only 6 miles)

On the train I pick up The Metro and have to stop myself from laughing out loud at one of the stories. The Metro – a free paper that contains three day old news and celebrity gossip – is a constant source of inspiration for paintings (via the photos) and of unintentional mirth. Laughing out loud at the newspaper on a crowded train is a clear sign of insanity and approaching dotage - but I can’t help myself.

The story itself is not especially funny: it’s about a woman who has an intense fear of knees. Apparently when she was 11 years old her father put his knee joint out and ever since she’s been unable to bear seeing them or having hers exposed in case someone touches them.

Now, on the brink of getting married, she is seeking counselling – she is unable to wear skirts or go to the beach as only her partner, close family and a select group of friends can safely touch it.

And it’s this last comment that makes me laugh out loud: exactly how did she decide on the select group of friends? Was it a process of trial and error? Was there a “touch my knee and see if I’m fine” evening to which her friends were invited and were special badges allocated stating “Hi: I’m John and I can touch knees”?

The interview itself is not too bad – it’s not one of those god-awful ones where they ask you to give examples of a time when you were king of the universe and you are expected to second-guess whoever set the questions as to which buzzwords they were looking for. However it does transpire that despite the job I’m applying for being exactly the same on paper as the one I’m currently doing I’m not qualified for it and can only be considered for a more junior role – the salary of which will probably not cover my travel expenses.

She assures me that this is because, as a newcomer to the company, she is trying to put a proper process in place and as such has built a team of young people who are hungry for success. The implication seems to be that, with my advancing years, I may not be quite as hungry (I fail to mention my status as the Hungry Pixie – it’s generally best left until you get to know someone)

Now I know that I’ve occasionally joked about my age on this site, but I’m not THAT old and would still like to think that I can have some kind of career – but apparently I’m now past such things and can look forward to a lifetime of mediocre jobs, followed by a part-time job in Tescos when I retire.

I take the journey home and am woken early on Tuesday morning by the cats. The sky outside is not promising and is still dark when I leave – again reminding me that the halcyon days of my summer are sadly behind me.

I arrive at work and see the latest poster for the end of contract party – advertising that in addition to the High School Musical theme there will be a chocolate fountain and candy-floss machine.

I take an amused moment to re-confirm that I am glad that I have decided not to go: I mean – how old do these people think I am? Twelve??


(1) Shed-loads. Euphemism for having a lot of something - not clear why it is particularly sheds, as sheds are often small, but there you go!


smoke said...

i cant belief i only now found your blog. its briliant, i might just follow the pixie

Anonymous said...


Follow, but watch out for the glare.

This is an amazing post, my friend. I love the way you unfold the scenes and envelop them with such detail.


As for the job? Bastards. You'll find something that's right for you. And I'm finding myself in the same boat . . . just because I'm older doesn't mean I lack passion!

the watercats said...

You're joking!?.. a chocolate fountain and a candy floss machine!... ? I'd say you're quite mad for not going to that party!... lol... You'd have to remove my big fat arse from the chocolate fountain while I frantically tried to anoint my candy floss in it... yummmyumyumyumyumyum.....
As for the job hunting thing... don't get me started! Unemployed, no formal education, no training, no qualifications (except for hard labour involving beasts of various sorts), never had a job that pays more than 100 a week... and now, after applying for many menial jobs (kitchen staff, waitressing, cleaner etc), I've concluded that I need to un-learn english. I might have a chance of employment then.... fecking employers, they're all C*&$*.. (excuse symbol language and angry rant... ) Loved reading your articulate wordyness once again, :-D.. cheers!

Roxanne said...

seriously - there was a party at your workplace offering candy floss and high school musical? really?

i am no longer the youngest person at my work - someone even called me a mentor once (shock!) - but there still is no candy floss yet!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Smoke - thanks for visiting. Hope y'all come back soon. I will return the favour

cheekofgod - thanks. It's amazing that with an increasingly aged population we're still so centred towards the under 25s

Watercats - thanks for the vivid image of your arse covered in chocolate! Fair enough - chocolate is an incentive: but three hundred sweaty call centre types sticking things into it whilst drunk doesn't exactly scream Health & Safety. You should definatley get a foreign accent and learn to drive a bus

Roxanne - yes, absolutely true: High School Musical themed party. The image of some of our managers getting dressed up as school girls is enough to turn milk into cheese

Lydia said...

I do so love the way you write and make me laugh. It's a gift, I tell ya, a real gift.
I about lost it with the part about not advising the interviewer about your status as the Hungry Pixie. And the High School Musical theme party? God I hate even normal office parties!

Friko said...

Haven't been for quite some time, but the standard of writing and the giggle factor are no less good than they were.
I can see that I ought to pop in more often again.
Having a shorter journey to work allows for more writing time, surely; how's the novel coming along?

Argent said...

I'm not quite pushing fifty yet (giving it the odd gentle nudge, really) so I can relate. When the bailiffs turn up in November, I daresay all I'll be fit for is Tescos or working in a Charity Shop. Hate chocolate fountains and candyfloss (chocolate comes in BARS, dammit!). great post

india said...

thank goodness i'm able to scrape together the odd quid by staining cloth with gum leaves
it's twenty-five years since i blitzed an interview and i can't even begin to imagine how i would answer one of those stupid "tell us how you handled the end of the universe" questions
let alone
take orders from some git who was in nursery school when i was driving exhibition trucks in the outback
mind you...i still have weeks when there's not much but 101 ways with lentils on the menu

keep writing. i like chuckling.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Lydia - thanks for the comments. I think the idea came from our resident "Pink And Fluffy" team - IE the team that no one is entirely sure what they do, but it's connected to the so called "motivational" ideas!

Friko - the journey is about the same, maybe slightly longer but less bothersome (trains are still slightly nicer than busses, even if no more reliable) so if i have to take the job i will use the time to write. Making slow progress - hope to update shortly

Argent - maybe we should both apply to Tescos together? They won't know what hit them!

India - it must be great to make a living from something you enjoy: i'm so far away from that right now that i would happily eat lentils until doomsday to get there. In thought of which i did post a recipie for lentil mousaka a year or so ago - if you want the ingredients let me know xx

india said...

thanks..i checked out your lentil moussaka. ours is similar except that none of us can cope with celery
and we like brown lentils best
have you tried lentil "sausage" rolls? lovely with a stiff G & T...

Michael said...

Fear of knees = Genuphobia
It is kinda funny in a gentle, head-shaking kind of way.

Why are you looking for a new job? (Maybe I missed this somewhere.) What do you want to be when you grow up (smile)?

Anonymous said...

Was there someone who told you that they didn't know what "shed-loads" means? It seems pretty self-explanatory.

You are not condemned to mediocre jobs. Your opportunity for the bigger and better awaits at the end of you finishing your novel or selling your paintings or photography.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

India - nope, not tried lentil sausages. Wonder if you can get gluten free ones

Michael - not fully stated reasons yet, but will post soon about this. Would love to do more creative stuff, but hard to make a living out of it

Samurai - well, we keep hoping that this will happen one day...