So anyway, like yesterday I went to a job interview and it was like totally groovy and just a sort of informal chat, y’know, about like what I did in my spare time and what was my favourite chewing gun flavour (yeah, I just so cannot believe they already heard of Southern Comfort xylose-free!) and anyway, at the end they said ‘Right, just gonna let you do a couple of little test routines here’ and they sit me in front of this computer (OMG I thought, what kind of scuzzy chav bitch has been using this keyboard before me, I might catch something awful from this spacebar and die writhing in agony on the floor of the number 67 bus) but anyway, I bravely took the plunge and began answering the questions on screen. And it kept saying, like, ‘Which of these words is most like you? And which is least like you?’ and I just wanna scream that all of these words describe my personality cos I just lurch from one psychotic interlude to another, and I thought I can’t answer these stupid idiotic questions without killing someone and if I don’t get a drink in the next 15 minutes for god’s sake someone is gonna pay big time! So anyway, I splurge through the moron-o-meter questionnaire hitting keys at random, trying not to fall asleep, and then when I’ve finished and I think ‘Great, I can go out now and get smashed to recover from this ordeal’ when bozo-man staggers back into the room armed with some pretty coloured tiles and says he wants me to arrange them into the correct sequence. Like, I just roll my eyes at this, cos he’s obviously got some kind of disorder – probably a neurological condition caused when a mercury thermometer snapped inside his urethra during a spasm of erotic drama – and I look at these tiles and the colours are just so stupid, I mean, what sort of drunk bag lady would even think of putting this stuff on her walls? One colour was like a dead alien corpse, grey-green vomit colour, while the other was a disgusting slimy bruised jockstrap colour. And there was a whole series of tiles gradually changing shade from one to the other, and the ones in between were even more hideous than the two at the ends which is like saying something and anyway, I couldn’t face any more so I walked – honey, even without the proper heels on, I mean Walked – straight on outta that god-forsaken hole and into a nearby pub where I made frantic efforts to delete the memory of the past two hours.
And then, OMG, they asked me if I understood anything about alkyd technology. ‘Yeah, don’t make me laugh, know about alkyds, right?’ They paused, a menacing neutral silence waiting for me to come adrift and slip over the edge of the path, into the mud along with the dead rats and the broken bottles and the beer cans and the bitter memories of young men who walked out of theology studies before they could hear the magic word that would catapult them into the maelstrom of permanent success. ‘Alkyds? Listen to this – you’ve got all these little molecules, right, and then they react with oxygen in the air and then they react with little blobs of blue cobalt – or is it cobalt blue? – anyway, they get gently knitted together into a lovely undulating fabric. But then, the little knitterings carry on, so that even after the paint has completely hardened, the tiny objects swarm here and there like the nanoscopic weevils that scoured away the robot and the people and the cars and the buildings in the remake version of The Day The Earth Stood Still. So over the lifetime of the object, the coating will continue to perish gently, and become tarnished by the rolling grains of time. Some units of the resin matrix will be joined together, while other segments will be cut loose and render the material more prone to fire.