Well, the new job continues – on a learning curve that’s a bit like the North Face of Everest, but without the snow. (“It’s only a Part 8″…. “What’s a Part 8?”) I haven’t had a learning curve this steep since… well… ever, really. Even during my first pharmacy job… ahem… years ago, my degree had given me some of the real-world professional skills to cope in the workplace. The same is not true of the Graduate Diploma in Law. I can quote a lot of case law, but I have no idea what a Part 8 is. (Part 8 of what? And what happened to Parts 1-7? Is there a Part 9?) Luckily, everyone in the office is nice and is willing to explain things in short words.
Then there was the problem of the Mobius T-shirt. You will, of course, be familiar with the Mobius strip – give a strip of paper a half-twist and join the ends together, and you’ve got a Mobius strip. It’s a mathematical curiosity, because it’s an object with only one side (the 3-D version is the Klein bottle). Sometimes, if you put a T-shirt in the wash, it comes out with a weird sort of tangle that looks a bit like it might be a Mobius relative – except of course it can’t be, because however you tangle a T-shirt it still has two sides and you can always untangle it. However, the Conveyancing Chap brought in one of his wife’s running singlets which, he said, had got itself tangled up in the washing machine and proved extraordinarily resistant to being untangled. He’d spent hours trying, and had brought it into the office to see if anyone else could figure it out.
Now, I’m usually pretty good at that sort of thing, and I enjoy it (as was demonstrated in the Budapest Palace of Miracles), but I couldn’t manage it. Despite considerable effort.
So Conveyancing Chap gave it to Accounts Lady when she arrived (as the next victim), who gave it one look and said “It’s meant to be like that.” We stared. Then Trainee Solicitor (Female) arrived, and agreed with Accounts Lady. Indeed, the running singlet was supposed to have twisted straps. Conveyancing Chap and I retired, discomfited, having demonstrated our complete lack of fashion knowledge.
What I want to know is, did Conveyancing Chap’s wife know the straps were supposed to be twisted? And if she did, was giving it to him to untangle some kind of devious marital tactic? And if so, what was it supposed to achieve? Just keep him quiet for a few hours (I think that was my father’s aim when he gave me a Mobius strip and recommended that I find the other side) or drive him to despair?
In addition to problems of non-Euclidean sportswear, it’s also Ramadan in the office (it being a Muslim firm – as far as I can tell, the non-Muslim workforce consists of me, Conveyancing Chap, the receptionist and the cleaning lady). Not being Muslim myself, I end up doing fasting by proxy (since it’s a bit rude to scarf cake and coffee in front of people who can’t share), which only means that I get the same dehydration headache as everyone else, but without the spiritual development. Apparently, if you’re fasting properly, it makes you want to watch cooking programs a lot. Who knew? Good job I’m not fasting properly, if that’s the case: we don’t have a TV at home.
So, there we go. The beginning of my career in Law. Let’s see what next week brings!