“Let’s look at it from the other way around. Let’s consider your weak points.”
I opened my mouth, about to explain that I wasn’t a big fan of routine, that I didn’t like taking orders and wasn’t a particularly organised person, when it occurred to me that this might be a trick question.
“Well,” I floundered, “I’m very flexible and I’m… um… good with people.”
I attempted another winning smile. “People like me.”
She didn’t look convinced. “They do?”
“Yes,” I added firmly, because that was just plain rude. “Usually they do.”
There was a pause as we eyed one another, and I decided to give it one last shot.
“I have recently developed some new skills.”
The nail tapping stopped for an instant as she again looked at my CV.
“No,” I explained, “it’s not on there. It’s not really the sort of thing that…” I hesitated. I was on the verge of telling her just how much I’d learnt in the last couple of weeks from my first stab at private investigating, or what the more narrow-minded may refer to as poking my nose into other people’s business, when I broke off. What was the point? Somehow, she didn’t strike me as the kind of person likely to be stirred by tales of stake-outs and surveillance. I got to my feet.
“Forget it. I doubt you’d consider the experience relevant. Anyway, you have my number.”
From her look of relief, it was clear that we were neck and neck in our desire to bring the interview to a close. As I headed for the door, Marion called out, “I don’t hold out much hope.”
I turned back. Was she still speaking to me? No, I decided. She was merely expressing her own view of the world.