Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Teeth, tickets & fire alarms

9 October 2014

It is one of those days.  First, I arrive at my dentist’s to find that my dentist has run away.  Then, his replacement turns a twenty-minute appointment into a sixty-minute archaeological dig.  At the end she announces proudly that she has located the nerve.  I kind of knew this already. 

She says she is going to put some hydrogen peroxide on my tooth to stop the bacteria.  I ask if she would like to revise her guess in light of the fact that I am a chemist.  She says perhaps it might be calcium hydroxide after all.  I can live with that.

Then she tells me I need to start using a special hyper-expensive toothpaste.  Excuse me?  What is the point spending sixty minutes in the dentist’s chair if you still have to clean your teeth afterwards? 

But perhaps it is the Red Bull® stains which are causing her concern.

I drive to the station.  There, I fall out with the car park ticket machine.  This machine has an unhelpfully large number of buttons, not to mention an entire qwerty keyboard, but all of the buttons have the effect of increasing the number of days I would like to park for (except the button that is supposed to have this effect, which is actually just a yellow sticker and not a button at all).  By the time I have reached 21 days, 19 of them due to the big red button labelled CANCEL, I decide it is time to remove my credit card and run.

So I run.  And then my train is cancelled anyway.  Possibly due to the big red button.  And things do not improve when I get to London.  I fall over on an escalator.  Inelegantly.  It rains as I walk to my hotel (only on me, you understand: everywhere else is sunny).  At the hotel entrance, the automatic door turns into an automatic wall and refuses to let me in. 

The last straw is when I get to CIPA for a meeting with the Informals.  We are all set to discuss how the Informals and the Formals (ie the Sober-Suited Ones) can work more closely together.  We have our papers out.  We have done all the hellos and how-are-yous and who-are-you-sorry-I’ve-forgottens.  And I have just started speaking when the fire alarm goes off.

In theory, I know this is caused by the electrical contractors lurking in the basement, who have taken “rewiring” to a whole new level on more than one occasion in the past.  But it is hard not to get paranoid when everything you come into contact with goes wrong.

We file out of 95 Chancery Lane and continue our meeting al fresco.  It is amazing how quickly you can get through an agenda when you are standing up and shivering and have no papers to remind you what you’re supposed to be talking about.  We must try this at Council.  Anyway, I think the Informals are pleased with the result.  We have offered them financial support but organisational autonomy, the perfect blend of the formal and the informal, the constitutional equivalent of “smart casual”.  But since no one has been able to take any notes, we may never know who’s agreed to what.

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