Job interviews are a phenomenon I am fairly sure only Dr Who can fully get his head around. With his comprehensive knowledge of timey wimey stuff I eagerly await the episode where he gives a full and convincing explanation about how time can be so quick during the inevitable ‘write nonsense about a hypothetical totally unrealistic and unrelated to the job you are applying for’ test element of the selection process and yet slow down to such an extent that it is always a surprise when you leave an interview and people are still not taking the intergalactic express to commute to work. Surely that sort of time-bending shenanigans is just begging to be tackled in an episode of Dr Who.
The elasticity of time within a job interview has made me smile when you get asked the stock job interview question:
Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Me: *thinks* The way its going, still in this interview.
It’s a tricky question to answer though, what are you supposed to say? “Hopefully sitting in your chair” seems a little impolite, but unless you are interviewing for the position of Champion of the Earth then surely it shows a distinct lack of ambition to just say "doing the job I am interviewing for." One thing I can say though is that I am glad that as far as I can remember I wasn’t asked the question on Sunday 22nd June 2008. Because sometimes life throws something so outlandish at you that it is impossible for you to foresee what is coming.
N, B and I (which incidentally could double for the name of a bank which folded in 2008) were on a coach. Nothing too disturbing about this you might think, and you would be right. We were on our way to enjoy a great day with friends from the meeting, a day, by the way, on which I would discover the crippling truth that I have the turning circle of a Barton’s bus and can back-pedal about as well as my two year old daughter, I certainly can’t claim to have fluid hips. Nonetheless, currently we haven’t even got to my humiliating sporting performance, instead we are merely on our way.
Taking a coach must be one of the nicer ways of getting around. Full of people you get on with, chugging its way through countryside giving ample time for relaxing and just enjoying the journey. Except there’s a problem, because suddenly, from the depths of her car seat your daughter announces, to anyone that will listen, that she needs the potty. We are, at this point, probably 30 minutes or so from our destination so there is no chance of holding it in. There’s only one thing for it. My wife, who is sat next to the full daughter, begins the process of unstrapping La Leaka whilst I unpack the potty and place it carefully in the empty seat next to me. My wife then transfers the saturated one across the aisle of the coach to me. I then undress the little girl and place her on the potty making sure she is secure in the seat. I don’t know if you have ever tried to undress a small child in the rather close confines of a coach seat in preparation for them to do a wee, if you have you will know exactly what sort of a contortion act it requires, whilst all the time you have one hand clamped on your son or daughter’s mouth to stop them blurting out to the entire coach exactly what you are doing. If you haven’t been in this situation, what have you been doing with your life?
I’ve already mentioned that perhaps I am not as flexible as I may once have been and my lack of flexibility was shown up greatly in this manoeuvre. I have no idea what anyone else on the coach is thinking at this point and frankly I don’t want to find out. We had been relatively stealthy up until this point, and so whilst the people behind us are probably wondering exactly what we are doing, the people in front I hope have no idea. Having placed my daughter down we sit like this for a while, it becoming clearer and clearer as the time passes that there isn’t going to be a wee and that the whole thing has been an elaborate attempt by my daughter to make my wife and I look like idiots. But, due to our stealth, I think we’re going to get away with it.
Having established from my daughter the fact that she isn’t going to be producing anything this time I begin the delicate trick of getting her back into a fit state to be passed back over the aisle to my wife. You’d think that this would be as easy as doing what I had just done in reverse. No such luck. Unfortunately it seemed, as I was trying to pull her trousers up that my daughter had developed a third leg and was using it to thwart me at every turn. Suddenly, instead of just trying to pull her trousers up I was faced with battling some Lovecraftian monstrosity who was determined to show up her parents in front of, literally, a coach load of people. The battle was fierce, and raged across both of the seats. I’m afraid to say that at some point the potty was lost to the floor, along with the book I had been reading and my bag. Happily however, despite a stirring challenge, I emerged victorious, the strange third leg turned out to be nothing more sinister than an arm, I should have spotted the signs really, it came with fingers and everything, and, N having been transferred back to her car seat and safely strapped in, normality was restored.
Next time I get asked the question, this incident will flash before my eyes and I will answer with all honesty that I could barely begin to imagine.