Double Double Vision

I’m a slow learner. I know this. I can tell from the way that I carefully repeat the same mistooks over and over again. Maybe I’m just very good at practising those errors.

Anyway, after the episode with Joe and Matt, you’d think I would have been on my guard. In a sense I was, it was Matt who was in one of classes the following year; I did return Joe to his teacher in exchange for the correct twin on several occasions. Actually, telling them apart was easy, once I realised that there were two of them and looked for the little differences.

Of course it didn’t help when I met Jill. As I said, I’m a slow learner.

Jill was (in fact she probably still is) one of the amazing team of cleaners at Previous School.

Now being a cleaner in a school is a tough job: they are asked to do a large amount of work in an impossibly short time and for very low wages. Plus they get the extra bonus of doing yet more work to try and cover for anyone who is off for any reason. Despite this, every cleaner I’ve encountered takes a real pride in their work and does their utmost to keep their designated area of the school looking immaculate. As I said, they are an amazing group of people.

I was in my fourth year at Previous School when Jill started to clean my classroom. She was fantastic, she cleaned a very large area to an incredibly high standard. However I was a little surprised when the next year we acquired an extra mobile classroom and she turned up to clean that as well. (Yes, I’m sure that you are way ahead of me by this point).

I sympathised at this addition to her workload and we chatted as we always did. I was amazed at Jill, she was like a whirlwind: she’d be hoovering up in that mobile classroom, then 15 minutes later she’d be in the main corridor cleaning away.

It took many, many weeks for me to work it out. The penny didn’t drop until Jill performed an amazing conjuring trick. I left her hoovering the mobile classroom, walked up the path to the main building, opened the door and came face to face with… Jill. Now I was pretty sure that I wasn’t in an episode of Jonathan Creek, so clearly something had gone a little awry.

In situations like this one, it is of the utmost importance that you make yourself look a total idiot, so I did. I stared at Jill in an open mouthed, baffled and bemused kind of way. Then I asked some really stupid questions, “How did you do that? How did you get past me?” I couldn’t get my head round it at all. I could still hear Jill hoovering in the room behind me, how could I be talking to her?

Jill was laughing, not in a mocking kind of way, just gentle amusement. “Didn’t you realise there are two of us?” she said, “Jackie thought that you just couldn’t tell us apart, but most people can’t, so don’t worry about it.”

What makes things worse, is that I felt the need to own up to the fact that it was the second time that I’d failed to notice that I was working with twins. When I told her about Joe and Matt, I thought she’d be amused, but she was mortified. Why? Because she’s their Mum!

Anyway, as I said, I’m a slow learner. which might explain why I’ve now repeated this error three times at my current school. To fail to notice one set of twins might be considered a misfortune, but to fail to notice five sets looks like carelessness.

Must. Try. Harder.

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