My son and I went to the Scottish Motor Fair at Knockhill Racing Circuit a couple of weeks ago. For me, it was a combination of business and sort-of-pleasure. I had decided to make a Top Gear-style video to introduce the car design enterprise challenge I was developing. In the end, the clip came out as noisy, laddish and overly obsessed with style and speed. So, a success with respect to the original criteria, then.
Retreating from the trackside as my fingers were becoming too numb to operate my camcorder, I strolled around the budget car stands. I was admiring a Korean hatchback when I was approached by Hyundai Girl 1. She asked if she could be of any assistance. Something about her suggested that she had been employed for the duration of the show on the strength of her pleasing appearance rather than an extensive knowledge of good value, quality Pacific Rim automotive products.
Before I could answer, Hyundai Girl 2 appeared. "Excuse me, isn't it Mr S?"
she miscalled me by the name of a colleague from 10 years ago. It was a female colleague, but a much respected one, so that was OK.
We chatted for a while. I had never taught Hyundai Girl 2, real name Laura, but she had played Anne Frank to my assistant sound engineer in a school play. Knowing all the actors and actresses in a drama should make it harder to become emotionally involved, but somehow watching the Nazis come to haul off pupils seen on a daily basis made it much worse.
That is to digress. I left Laura with a feeling of mild sadness. Was this how it would be from now on? No more getting to know kids, no more shared memories? I looked wistfully in the direction of my new base, then my son reminded me that the Jet Pack Man was going to race an Aston Martin.
It was the Institute of Physics summer school that made everything fine again. I had a couple of evening gigs there and hung around for most of the rest of the time. I got to know in person teachers who had been mere email addresses in the past. Great fun, though I can't see many of them turning up as Hyundai Girls in the near future.