while I’m banging my head against some bright red foam cladding on an upright scaffold pole and throwing up the fishy stars and ice cream I had 2 minutes ago, I’m noticing that the parallel worlds of soft play areas and program management are inextricably linked. I’m in both of them at some point in most days. no, I mean, I’m actually in either a warehouse by the airport converted to a roller skating/rope netting and dayglo platform hell, or in the office trying to work out whether a PPD comes before a PRD or whether I’ve used the wrong paradigm or something, while I’m looking out the window at a 17 year old on the way to Top Shop to meet her mates with similarly inconsequential vests. In either case, I usually end up sat in the corner dribbling while children run around me in insane circles, flailing me with Tamagotchis hung with Scoobie string and doing that horrible squawking noise with means I’ve told them its either time to go home or time to go to the bathroom, depending on which reality I’m in at the time.
I mean, soft play is something of a misnomer. 1cm of bin-end foam wrapped round a girder and covered with stretched latex doesn’t cushion the blow of the equal and opposite reaction of my head crashing into it as I plunge through a pair of giant sponge rollers at the end of some labyrinthine world of rope tunnels, things covered in rubber bats and plastic vortexes at 70 degree angles, after I’ve heard the unmistakable cry of a poleaxed child who I think is mine at the very top of the evil construction although I can’t really hear because in these places, well, you just can’t really hear. its like some kind of infant cacophony torture aimed at displacing you through sensory overload until every child in the place sounds like yours and they’re all crying like hyenas in a high pitched screeching kind of way that makes your ears bleed. I just have no idea idea where I am at that point, as I pick the shreds of moulded plastic from my receding head and the blood trickles onto the padded floor. which I have to pay to get cleaned probably.
similarly, I follow some equally mindnumbing paths through the chaos that is my flimsy grip on the world of something approaching adequate program management, which will almost certainly see me teetering on the edge of a 100 foot platform, covered with grease and nails, labelled ‘life cycle’ or something just as terrifying and just as I think I’ve selected the path that bears the unbearable lightness of delivery, an enormous foam hammer crashes onto my cranium and somebody in the darkness flicks on the devil’s PA and cackles something about business requirements so loud that my ears bleed and so I’m flapping about wildly in the hope of catching hold of at least 1 document that has something on it I wrote in 2002 but is still relevant and its at that point that I crash into the cliffside of scope creep and am dumped unceremoniously onto the rocks of dependency, which are made of sharp, pointy dayglo plastic by the way, and I end up on the padded floor, picking the shreds of moulded plastic from my receding head and wiping off the spittle before anyone notices.
there’s some kind of magical doorway that links these two anti-Narnias somehow, but I’ve not come across it yet. its probably only visible from the outside and it has ‘staff only’ on it. and it probably revolves. forever.