So, in events not unrelated to breakfasting at the Wolseley, I pop over to discuss financial matters with my Mother. (This is to be a very quick discussion, because I have very little money to discuss. I look forward to getting on with the rest of my busy day, and allocate approximately 8 minutes to this meeting. I am excited to allocate the 52 remaining minutes to convincing my builders to perform a ‘Queen’ medley for me). ‘I don’t have any money.’ ‘Gosh, how unfortunate for you.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I recommend getting a job. Actually, my PA is away. You could come in and do her holiday cover.’
I think about this for a moment. I know nothing about being a PA. I think I will be perfect. I begin by assuming I am to start whenever I feel like it. My Mother thinks otherwise. I therefore turn up terribly hungover. The receptionist looks concerned. I airily put his mind at ease by walking into the wrong room.
A kindly lady points out where I am meant to sit. I am sitting opposite a lady who explains that she is also doing holiday cover. I do not feel reassured. She begins to tell me how dreadfully tired she is. It seems she has stayed up til 1am preparing her massage tent. I have little idea of the office protocol for dealing with these revelations.
Her boss comes in with some urgent work. The lady sighs laboriously, and explains to her boss that she is terribly tired, so cannot really cope with these urgent requests. I look up, tactfully gaping at her. Her boss keeps her temper, and explains that it is imperative that the work is done. I try to show my support for her boss through widened alarmed eyes. Her boss wonders if I am OK. I decide to tone down my support. The lady does the work wrong, and her boss reappears. The lady turns to her, ‘Look, I really can’t deal with you right now. As I said, I’m very tired.’ Her boss calmly reiterates the importance of finishing the work correctly.
I decide to go to talk to my own boss, who handily also happens to be my Mother. ‘You absolutley must come downstairs and watch this temp lady. She has lost her mind.’ Unfortunately it seems my Mother is busy, so I re-enact the scenes as best I can. I realise that this lady could not be a better new colleague for me. I am looking fantastic by comparison. And perhaps she’ll give me a massage.