Halifax seems to be pulsating with hysterical excitement at all the summer events and festivals going on (Paul McCartney! Tall Ships! KISS!) but the intensity of my summer programming is such that all this means for me is great difficulty in finding a parking spot.  

Anyway, here is the newcomer, exhausted after a two-and-a-half hour French class in the morning, (including a test and a presentation, all in French) followed by a race to Spring Garden and a desperate struggle to park the car, finally standing in the elevator of the building where her office is located, holding a coffee in one hand. She is bored. Several dull grey hours of light office-work stretch before her. She wants to go home and read a detective story. (In fact, she could read a detective story at work, if she wanted, except she couldn’t lie down to do it.)

The elevator doors slide open. There is the sound of laughter. Two tall women step in. And both are dressed in identical wraparound dresses, with a strong zebra print. One of them is blonde, the other brunette. They are both in their early middle ages. True to stereotype, the blonde one is laughing ditzily, almost bending over with laughter, while the brunette one is forcing a polite I-am-not-amused chuckle and has murder in her eyes. (OK- maybe I’m reading too many detective stories- but she is not pleased.)

I cannot help breaking my golden rule, and I ask them “Completely by coincidence?”

Blondie is laughing too hard to answer. I thank god silently that she is not my colleague. Brunette says: “I got this dress first, and I thought it would suit her, so we went to the shop together to try it out, and…”  Blondie jumps in,  gasping with laughter: “And I thought it would be such a laugh to buy it and put it on, and turn up at the office like this together… oh my God…” and she starts hooting again. Brunette rolls her eyes.

I reach my floor and jump off,  leaving the freaky zebra twins behind and thanking God for my nice quiet office… and  I take this little incident as a warning to never, ever go shopping with a mad colleague.


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