Many years ago in a math class, I told my teacher the following statement during a lesson on Pythagoras, “I will not need Pythagoras, (or his Theory), in order to fold nappies!”

This – at the end of a long argument between he and I about whether or not I really needed to learn mathematics. I’d have to say that my obnoxious comment was spur of the moment. I was willing to say anything to get out of learning maths.

At that point in my life, I could make change from a note, do basic maths fairly quickly in my head and had no desire to learn the relationship between letter’s and number’s in algebra, (or formulas for working out the area of a triangle.)

To this day I have no clue about algebra? (I once tried to do some very basic algebra homework for 5 and I got every single sum wrong.) I wasn’t surprised at all – I just don’t get why the alphabet had to get all up in maths’ face in the first place?

I did need some mathematics in my life in order to bring home money, but it was the kind of math I was already good at, so for years I convinced myself that I was right, (Mick Green – math’s teacher to the clueless – could eat my shorts!)

I have no ambitions to be clever beyond stringing words together in a fashion which promotes people to want to read them.

I never have had any real career aspirations, just a desire to  earn enough money to eat, wear clothing and occasionally get legless drunk….

Don’t think I wasn’t interested in learning, my intolerance belonged only to maths. I was a very keen history and English student, and science was fascinating for many reasons – I’m still hooked on reading, learning, taking in facts.

So – now you have a credible history of my feeling’s toward anything remotely hard to do with numeracy, you can completely commiserate with me about the following….

Work is Hard.

I’ve had to use my brain in my previous jobs a few times over the years, (not much.) Getting people pissed is not rocket science – mostly I pulled beers and processed sports and racing bets through a machine that did all the hard work for me. I spent time working with Poker Machine’s and paying people a tiny percentage of their money back. (Maths, see?)

I work efficiently and very quickly. Like someone on crack – which works behind a busy bar, but doesn’t translate to the office environment.

I haven’t worked in an office since I was pregnant with 3, back when we did everything on paper/ in ledgers/ on typewriters. I have just started working in a 2015 office…

I am like a dolphin in a sandpit.

There’s that, and then there’s the nature of the business – Building Design is what “they” do.”They” being Fitty and his father, (let’s call him FIL, as we do here in blog-land when referring to our father’s-in-law.)

When I agreed to “help out at the office”, I thought along these lines; filing, data entry, emails, answering phones, being friendly to the clients, being cheerful, cleaning up, wandering around the street “getting the mail” etc. (I find it hilarious every day when I go to the Post Office to get the mail and see all the other office-bots!)

When I first started “work”, I sat beside Fitty learning how he does what he does. I cleaned the office areas I could get to, made cups of *gender stereo-fucking-typical* coffee, ate cake and made numerous funny references about Fitty and I working together, (which cracked us both up.) Fitty is Satan at work, but those first few days were pretty smooth nonetheless.

Week two saw me sitting at FIL’s desk learning about what he does...

Now in the ten years Fitty and I have been an actual “thing”, I have enjoyed FIL’s company – we share a love of bottles.

Bottles with wine in them.

We have polite conversations about the children, Fitty, the house renovations etc. Not once have I let on that I am Stephen Hawking level intelligent! In fact, FIL once jokingly called me out on incompetently made toast at a family breakfast!

I cannot fathom the amount of confidence he has in me to even ask me to do some of the things he expects me to do in his office?

FIL stands there speaking to me like this: “Can you get the <insert acronym for yet another form/standard/requirement>” that I don’t yet understand, so speaking in capital letters is not really helpful?

I’m just standing there like ——-? Wot?

But I go, and I get the forms, and I pretend to fill them out, and then I ask him to check them, and lo and behold?  I get a bit wrong, because I am not a building designer with a college education who has been doing this since Jesus was a baby!!

His expectations are like, high!

My anxiety is flourishing in this environment.

Fitty thinks it’s funny, because he has been dealing with wavering level’s of my anxiety since the beginning of time our friendship 30 years ago, but let’s just ask my sick to the stomach, non-stop hot flushing, sweaty-panicky-heart-racing body if it’s funny Fitty?

“You’re doing great!”

Nope. I’m not. I’m holding my head above water. I’m learning on my own curve, which is not even close to the curve Fitty and FIL can achieve or expect, but it’s a start. Ya know?

“I know what I’m doing! It feels awesome!”

Some days I feel like that – then FIL asks me to establish things like – area, lot size, dimension’s, square root’s, finding the scale, figuring out the directions/slope/lay of the land – that’s MATHS!

Fucking hell people!! It’s like every time I identify or admit a weakness, Fitty will lure me into a situation where I have to step up and face it, or humiliate myself.

I hates him right now. (But only at the office), as evidenced the other afternoon where the process of walking out of the office door together changed our dialogue from “fuck I hate you“, sticking his foot out at the bottom of the stairs threatening to trip me – to us both bursting into loud laughter as we passed into the afternoon sunshine on our way home where we immediately fell into giggling and cuddles on the bed!

I don’t know how I’m able to put up with his stress-driven snappiness at work, but so far I just imagine smacking him and it’s working. I have not yet accepted the fact that me being gullible enough to “help out at the office” has resulted in a full time 9 – 5  actual “Job”.

Cool for me huh?

Fitty thinks I should end this blog with something hopeful like, “one day this dolphin will cease to feel like it’s flopping around in a pit of sand and fly gracefully through the waters”, but I snorted and said it would be more realistic to end it like this:

One day I might cease to feel like a dolphin in a sandpit and instead feel like a slightly overweight walrus flopping onto a rock saying with an exhausted sigh… “made it!”


Nathan Edwards / Newspix via Rex USA