Friday, 3 November 2006

Escher Designed My Office Building

I don't need to be told I have many faults, not least of which is an appalling bigotry towards the stupid. I know that disliking someone for a fixed and involuntary trait such as their lack of intelligence is as irrational as haircolourism or partialitytocapsicumism, but it's really people who fail to recognise their own stupidity, and behave with appropriate self-censorship, that I can't tolerate.

An erstwhile colleague of mine was one such person. She was a nice enough lady, but honestly, many things she said and did made me wonder what our organisation regarded as an acceptable score in its compulsory IQ test. Once, she told us how she'd managed to lock herself out of her apartment, having also left the stove on, and called, not a locksmith, but the police. Doubtless she imagined each whistling constable on the beat is issued with a skeleton key with which to open any lock in the city, à la a certain Simpsons episode. Then there was the time her son's car was stolen, and she decided the best course of action was not to call the police (who had probably flagged her phone number with a 'Do not respond' by then anyway), but to drive around in her own car looking for the stolen one. Because apparently it's common practice for joy riders and parts thieves to considerately park the car at the kerb nearby when they're finished.

It was therefore with some chagrin I realised she and I had been paired together for ad hoc shiftwork. I groaned inwardly at the prospect of recounted asininity and stupid questions (yes, there are such things) stretching over a twelve hour period while I attempted to prevent my incredulous scorn from showing on my face.

One night, she complained about walking the distance to the main stairwell to deliver printouts to colleagues downstairs.

"Why don't you use the stairs round the corner?" I asked.

"Because there are more steps."

Flabbergasted silence while I wished I'd practised harder at maintaining an inscrutable mien.

Just in case you're wondering, we didn't work in a Dodgy Brothers construction where the floors were at crazy angles. Nor was one set of stairs designed for short-strided midgets. And because I thought maybe the sleep deprivation was making me crazy, I counted the steps in each stairwell, just to make sure that of course, they numbered the same. It's not rocket surgery.

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