Saturday, September 22, 2001

Yes, it's the morning after, and I'm woefully contemplating the lack of evening wear in my wardrobe. There is one dress I can borrow which is perfectly respectable, but which is likely to shock the rather stuffy people I'll be with, but I shall have to negotiate the terms of lease which I suspect will be something like: You borrow the dress for a night, I don't get nagged into doing housework a week. And if the knee length buckled boots are thrown in and I get my make up done for me ... it might be a month! Thinks: is it worth having one night of black tie dressing up if it's followed by a month of being Cinderella pre-prince?

Friday, September 21, 2001

My professor emailed me today, in a rather muted way: I'm back at University. I'd actually just become reconciled to not going back, as there was one exam I just couldn't pass - it was a complicated matter of an uncongenial subject and a mind block and - ok, if I'm being honest - just not working properly for it and leaving too much to the last minute. But the University has looked at my other work and acknowledged that yes, I did try, even if I didn't get 100%, so I can come back, but if I screw up again, I can just kiss goodbye to any chances of graduating. So I did a little dance of joy and told my manager, who was properly pleased, and who conceded that I could get exam days off instead of having to take them as holidays.

I wouldn't normally go to an AGM to celebrate: it was just an unfortunate coincidence, though I went to the pub afterwards and found myself sucked into going to a formal ball in a couple of weeks' time. One woman, with a particularly unfortunately Roman profile, came burrowing through the crowd to me, wanting me to attend the Christmas party, and I said yes, sure. I won't be going to many others! It's expensive and out of town (the hint is: the hotel offers free transport back to town). So how do you get out to the hotel - it was crowded, and I was a bit blurred, but I think I was a bit silly there. I'll just have to put it down to a new experience.

And I have a book on order by my hero Thomas Pyzdek!

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Well, haven't felt much like writing recently. It's barely a week since the American tragedy and I'm still trying to come to terms with it. I've only had a peripheral brush with it - a friend who works in New York, a remote work colleague in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it's clear that this is going to be one of the defining moments of this year, perhaps of this century.

It's certainly made me reassess my priorities.

Later: well, you gotta laugh. It's a week and a day since this tragedy and the big thing at work - the thing which is really getting people hot under the collar and ready to pop, is the car parking situation.

There are three car parks. One is in the building grounds. One is in the old building grounds, across the road. One is five minutes' or so walk away.

The process used to have something to do with seniority, with a wave towards special needs - the more infirm you were, the longer you'd worled with the company, the closer your car space was to the building.

That, perhaps, acted as a motivating factor to keep people from leaving. I don't know, not being a car driver.

But there's now a new process. The discrimination process has just been republished, saying that women are not to be discriminated against, so what happens? They get discriminated FOR, by having priority in the car parking spaces!

And, since it's all very environmentally healthy, car sharing pools get priority too. Except that one pool consists of a senior manager who lives at X and a junior, but up and coming female, who lives at Y. X and Y are at different parts of the city - to get to Y from X, senior manager has to make a considerable detour, which he wouldn't normally do ...

Another car sharing pool consists of two cyclists and one foreign visitor, who has since gone back to Germany.

Practically everyone else seems to have been allocated places in the far away car park and after the initial indignation, methods of retribution are likely to be extreme: taking the train/bus to work instead of the new car (though, personally, I'm not sure that this noble intention will survive more than a few days of being crushed in a hot and croweded train, then having to wait twenty minutes for a bus, having to stand most of the way and realising that the journey took four times longer than usual). Another very senior manager is just going to work the hours he's supposed to, instead of all day and half the night plus most weekends, as normal. Another senior manager whose knees are a little crock, due to having ejected out of an airplane he was piloting, and who has (of course!) been allocated to the far away car park, is merely looking sad.

The Health and Safety officer, who allegedly devised all this, is getting VERY unpopular. Oh yes, and the people - surely there must be SOME people - who have the favoured car parking spaces are keeping an extremely low profile!

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