Saturday, 19 March 2011

Flexible viewing

Lily and I are in Candlebury. I'm idly looking at cards in newsagent windows, to see if the perfect job is there, calling me. It is not. Instead, there's the perfect maths tutor, the perfect Shaker-style bunkbeds and several perfect babysitters.

'I'm hungry!' Lily announces for the third time. We divert to a p√Ętisserie. I choose a pain au chocolat, Lily a chocolate chip swirl.

‘Let’s share them both,’ I suggest. I break Lily’s swirl in half and offer her the choice. She takes the bigger half.

‘I knew it!’ I say.

‘Well it is mine!’ she retorts.

As we walk along the road, with me surreptitiously munching from the brown paper bag like a drunk with his bottle of meths or whatever it is they keep in their brown paper bags, I spot a job ad in an estate agent's window. Flexible Viewing Assistant: evenings and weekends. Organised, well presented, enthusiastic and friendly. Yes!  I go in and, wiping the last flakes of Lily’s chocolate swirl from my lips and powder-blue cardy, present myself enthusiastically.

The girl looks me up and down. I am aware that, in contrast to her, I am devoid of make-up. Nor do I have home-highlighted hair. ‘You need to speak to Carole, our HR manager, but she isn’t here at the moment,’ says the girl, flashing her red nails. ‘Can you email her your CV?’

‘Yes, yes,’ I say brightly. Argh.  Haven't done a CV yet. ‘Could you tell me how much the ...’ Oh God! What do you call it? Salary? Wages? Pay? ‘Er, how much does it pay?’

‘I believe it’s £10 a viewing. And if it’s two viewings, one after the other, £15. Plus mileage.’

‘OK, great,’ I say, with my Enthusiastic, Friendly, Flexible Viewing Smile. ‘Bye, then!’ I add as we head out of the door. 
‘Nearly as bad as looking after dogs,’ I mutter to Lily, delving into the paper bag and breaking the pain au chocolat in half.

‘You choose,’ says Lily.

I take the bigger half.

‘I knew it!’ says Lily.

‘Well it is mine!’

‘Cor blimey!’ she says. ‘Hypocrite!’

We laugh and a
s we fall in step, she grabs my arm, throws it in the air and jumps under it. We walk back to the car arm in arm. All thoughts of job-hunting evaporate.

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