Friday, 6 July 2007

An Impostor In My Midst

I’ve been back at my job at the Department of Meat Products for just over three months now, and I think the nightly dreams about work are finally abating. The intrusion of tedious real life into the realm of fantasy was quite tiring for a while – it was difficult to feel refreshed after a night spent contemplating the ingredients of various lunchmeats, and composing media releases assuring the public that, contrary to recent scaremongering, polonium-210 is not an ingredient of polony.

It seems, however, that the mingling of the mundane and the fanciful is not a unidirectional flow, because lately I’ve noticed odd things happening in my office, as if the lovechild of Gumby and Thursday Next has been strolling around in the Harry Potter books displacing random characters and scenarios in a fit of plasticine pique.

Snape has been wandering our corridors for some time, although I’m pretty sure she’s not an embittered sadist of uncertain allegiance, with a penchant for black and an inadequate hair-care regimen. Then there’s L’Estrange, but I think he’s probably a lot more reasonable and easy to work with than a slightly unhinged, murderous fugitive. We even have a Justin Finch-Fletchley, or at least that’s how I’ve secretly thought of the poor boy ever since I discovered his name was Justin Fossington-Bligh or some such mouthful.

What’s really discombobulating is that someone seems to have cast a rather powerful Confundus Charm over my colleagues and supervisors, such that they seem to think I’m possessed of attributes that make me want to look over both shoulders before asking, “Who, me?”

“You’re a real people-person!” one supervisor enthused at a compulsory feedback session, while I tried to keep from scoffing audibly at his kind but obviously ill-informed praise. I always thought being a people-person meant you had to like people, and enjoy dealing with them on a regular basis, rather than being a solitude-loving homebody who writes vicious personal diatribes on an anonymous blog.

“You’re a very eloquent speaker,” a co-worker assured me after I confessed my nerves over upcoming talks my boss seemed (erroneously) to think I was qualified to give. This time I could not keep the scornful disbelief off my face. Had she not heard my last disastrous work address, during which the whole auditorium laughed at something I intended to be perfectly serious? Had she not witnessed me stuttering awkwardly to strangers at job-related functions, trying and failing to appear erudite by using words such as ‘panacea’, only to have them pause momentarily before gently correcting me to ‘placebo’? Of course not, or she’d never have uttered such an untruth.

Then there was this statement which issued, unfacetious and apropos of nothing, from the mouth of my befuddled boss: “You’re always so cheerful in the mornings!”

It was on hearing this that I knew with certainty something was awry in the Department of Meat Products. Seemingly the only one left clear-headed and rational, it is therefore left to me to ask:

Who am I, and what have I done with the real Lonie Polony?


jan said...

Personally I'm glad you don't see yourself as others see you. Then we wouldn't have gotten this totally hilarious post.

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hazelblackberry said...

Lap it up while it's coming your way, and, you know, maybe use it to bolster your confidence.

I'm now experiencing work dreams and it's all bad. Baaaaad.

Lonie Polony said...

Jan - it's amazing how often insanity gets mistaken for cheer. I'm not sure where the other false impressions came from...

Mutley - um, and you're telling me this...why?

Hazel - Poor you. Work dreams are always bad. Unless, maybe, you're an idle riche.

Diesel said...

Your standards are too high. I think that for most people, the ability to use either "placebo" or "panacea" in anything resembling a sentence denotes great oratory prowess.

Rosanna said...

It's very good to allure to traits you have, while not actually possessing them yourself.

Saves time and effort learning them.

You do seem very deft at Potterverse, so I have to applaud that.

Lonie Polony said...

Diesel - Sadly, the work crowd I run with expects a command of English which I can barely maintain. Maybe I need to get a different job - street junkie? Something where the vocab isn't too challenging.

Rosanna - Yes, I am embarrassingly old to know so much about Harry Potter, although I can claim 'moderate fandom' rather than dressing-up-and-calling-myself-Hermione involvement.

Angela said...

Hi Lonie! The last sentence really speaks to me, so I had to post and send a hug. Your comment about insanity being mistaken for cheer also touches me on a deeper level than I wish it would, and finally - CONGRATULATIONS! I need to come by and visit more often. I didn't realize you were pregnant (and a part of me is insanely jealous). Hooray for you!