*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!