The Mysteries

It’s what I hope is my last day in the office, doing more push to make sure the email account transfer worked, and to parse the big pile of books I left for colleagues for any hidden gems that I actually do want to keep.

Walking in, I was reflecting on my time here. It’s made all the more poignant by ending up in the same building that I had my first office in, and indeed my interview (which I recall was marked by uncharacteristic bullishness). Circle of life, and all that.

And because it’s the same building, I was confronted with the acrobat sculpture that has dangled here for at least 18 years.

For me, it’s one of the mysteries of this place.

I have no idea why it was chosen, given the building has no obvious links with either gymnastics or visual arts.

I also doubt that it’s ever been cleaned, given the build-up of dust on the (few) flat surfaces.

And I never got to the bottom of the semiotics of the piece, a topic of numerous discussions in the mid-2000s with my colleagues specialising in gender.

Those queries and unknowns now pass into the big pile of stuff that I’ve never got round to addressing during my time here: they might not have been that important at all, but it is now my movement away that makes me think it would have been good to find out.

Which is the more general point: in a perspective of being in a role or a situation for an indefinite period of time, it’s easy to leave things for later.

Just as I did a lot more sightseeing around London after I stopped living there, so too with work: curiosity often gets trampled by familiarity.

Which is a shame, since curiosity is perhaps one of the most valuable attributes to bring to pedagogy. If you can get someone genuinely interested in a subject, then they will bring themselves a long way in the process of learning about it.

So why not take some time to explore the mysteries of your place of work and your situation: maybe you’ll find some enlightenment and open some doors.