Sorry for the silence; I'm working longer hours than I thought I would be. The Doctor and I are kind of having a stand-off as a result. He's taken to lying across the hallway in the dark so I trip over him when I get home. Then I feed him extra food because I feel bad about stepping on him. Then, after he's stuffed himself, he ignores me for the rest of the evening. He'll give out eventually; the need to have his ears scratched usually outweighs his sulks by about the 48-hour mark.
It's not that the extra work isn't rewarding. I'm seeing parts of the Empire I never knew existed. Yesterday I got to sit in on a new class for people who are afraid of round shapes. A surprising number of people seem to be affected. It would totally suck if they worked in a kindergarten.
The Empire's also been giving me new teas to test at home so I can give them in-house feedback. My kitchen bench is covered in growing numbers of packets. Every time Mum sees them, she makes a little "Huh!" noise and rubs her ear. (She may have some kind of rash; I'll ask her about it later.) Anyway, I tried a new tea last night - Sienna Siesta - but I don't think I can tell the Empire anything useful because I lost consciousness half-way through the first cup. Perhaps I wasn't concentrating hard enough; I'll try again tonight.
On the down side, there's someone I'm trying to avoid at work. I don't like having to do it, but I don't have a choice; every time she sees me, she starts asking questions. And I'm not supposed to answer questions to lower-level staff. (Did I tell you about the staff levels? There are five. I'm Three. She's One. You can see the predicament.) Actually, I think she's kind of jealous of how quickly I've progressed. The head of the Empire (I'll call her 'J') and I were in the Intra-Conscious Reading Room the other day -- well, J was behind a screen and I was behind my supervisor who was behind four Level Fives but you know what I mean -- and she said that jealousy was one of the most corrosive emotions the human mind could create, and we should always take care to avoid it. I'm sure J has spent her whole life ignoring people who thought she was too beautiful. She does seem to be very good at tuning negativity out.
Right. Off to have a second go at Sienna Siesta. Fingers crossed I get better results this time.