Last night Steve and I were at a focus group. There's a local cafe we like to go to, and the owner, David, is considering opening it in the evenings as a kind of wine bar or similar, and wanted to get ideas from people in our age group about what we want from a night out, what we don't want, how viable the concept would be and so on.
He's a really nice chap, so when he asked us if we'd come along, we agreed immediately - me for definite and Steve if he was out of work early enough. The additional promise of pizza, drinks and cake being provided had nothing to do with it, I swear.
The focus group itself went well. I think David got what he wanted out of it, and the participants managed a lot of intelligent but structured discussion. After about an hour I had to pull my chair away from the table and have some painkillers and sit with my head between my knees for a bit, doing breathing techniques, but after ten minutes or so I was able to come back and join in again, although I was definitely a little spaced.
Which was why I thought I might have been imagining it when David offered me a job.
Except everyone was looking at me. And I had to turn it down. I mean, can you imagine me waitressing?
"Certainly sir, one large coffee coming right up. Could you please come through to the kitchen and carry it through for me? Thank you so much."
"Yes madam, we do a range of hot and cold foods, but if you want something hot would you mind supervising me using the oven? That's awfully kind of you."
"Do take a seat, I'll come and get your order just as soon as I've managed to pick myself up off the floor..."
It was by quoting these scenarios with a smile on my face that I gently turned David's offer down. What had happened is that with my stick being on the floor, and with me participating in discussion with a group that included his other young staff members, he saw how I would fit in with the group and completely forgot about my physical limitations.
Can't see it working myself. And those little scenarios are even assuming I managed - each day I was due to work rather than when I happen to wake up having a good day - to get myself washed and brushed and made-up and dressed in an ironed uniform, get myself into town on time, and then work for a full shift. Even the taxis into town and back are £7 each way, I'd have to be able to work a minimum 3-hour shift to even turn a profit. Riding the scooter into town is for when I have lots and lots of time.
Thing is, it's one thing to resign yourself to not being able to work and therefore not seek work, and quite another to be offered a job and have to turn it down. Not a crappy job either - if I was healthy I would be happy to work for David as a waitress. Probably while looking for something that was more "career" than "job", but nevertheless, it would be preferable to being on the dole, or working somewhere soulless like McDonalds.