Yesterday Mother Dearest and I went to an Oundle gathering (I’m not going to lie – we’re big on the village scene). It was tremendous. However, early on sneaky old MD palmed me off onto a bloke called something extravagant and absurd like ‘Beverly’.
‘So what are you doing in Oundle then?’
‘I’ve just finished university.’
Pause. Damn. Now, inevitably, here comes The Question. I try to head him off with
‘It’s a lovely...’
(Interrupting) ‘Right. So what are you doing with yourself then?’
Too late. Agh. Taking Boris Johnson as my model, I mutter non-words and shift from foot to foot, hoping Beverly will interpret this as an answer of sorts and move on. The temptation to shout ‘GCSEs’ and dive for the nearest bush is overwhelming. Those were the days.
‘Ah well I’m sort of – ah – living at home.’
‘Bit of temping, y’know ...' [Not strictly true – two weeks pending at a publisher thanks to the charm of a delightful friend]. 'And, erm, applying for jobs.' [Not true either. One job. Didn’t get it.] (Nervous laughter.) [From me, not him] 'I’m doing bits of writing as well, talking to editors...' (Gabbling now) 'Er, and teaching the violin a bit, and I’ve, I’ve just startedablog.’ [I’m not a wastrel! I’m not!]
I finally stop and gaze into the middle distance. When I was applying for Cambridge (good old days of youth when things were simple) we had the odd practice interview. The advice given me was always the same. Say what you think – as clearly as possible – then stop: ‘Please Kate if you can resist the temptation to talk about nothing for a further five minutes you should be fine.’ The advice comes back to me now, slightly late.
He looks at me. ‘What’s it on?’
I pause, considering. [This is Good Interview Technique, remember, and I’m now applying it to real life. Observe:] ‘Well, it’s about...’
He interrupts. ‘You’ll never get anywhere with a blog you know. Just silly, all that stuff, crazy. Now a friend of mine, he’s...’
And then I realise. While I was writhing about trying to construct a socially acceptable account of how I’m spending my time, my chum Beverly was merely searching for a window of opportunity through which to segue into conversation about himself.
|Good hiding place?|