It’s dinner time – that time when you never quite know who you’re fellow diners will be until they turn up or, indeed, what fascinating topics of conversation they will bring to the table. Tonight we are blessed with the presence of a rather short stout lady in a tweed skirt. She has short hair and wears glasses, so she must be intelligent! The physicist has arrived…
She seems rather detached. Possibly from reality. We try to engage her in conversation but she is clearly on a different plane of existence. She says nothing for about 20 minutes and then launches – for no apparent reason – into a monologue about the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Refusing to be beaten, I ask her what it does and she responds with another monologue about particle physics. Wow, she really is clever!
“Shame about the ferret then” I throw into the mix recalling the recent breakdown of said collider due to the cables being gnawed through by said creature. I am immediately put in my place. “Actually it was a weasel” she replies and launches into another diatribe about the maintenance schedule and the complexities of the machine. This is truly fascinating stuff – although I am forced to nudge my better half who has just snored lightly having fallen asleep from the sheer boredom of it all. She never was one for technology.
“Well that was really interesting” I offer, lying through my teeth. “You know an awful lot about your subject. Have you been working on the project for long?” “Oh no” she replies, “I don’t work for CERN!”
“So what do you do then?” I ask. “I’m a teacher” she replies. “Physics?” I ask. Clearly a science teacher at ‘A’ level at least.
“No” says she. “I teach English at Primary School.”
Clearly a wasted talent…