I thought I'd finally found the perfect job. Fifteen years earlier, at the turn of the century, there hadn't been a job anything like it. I'd tried many creative things; writing was fun for a while, until I found myself seeing flaws in everything I read. Painting, similarly, was enjoyable until I started seeing everything in terms of colours and contrasts. My art lost all meaning, and became just a mass of shapes and colours. A blur. I ended up drifting between mind-numbing jobs because at least then I could enjoy other things as hobbies.
Then the job appeared. The pay was poor, because there was such demand to be taken on for the task. Everyone wanted the job.
And yet nobody kept the job for more than three months. It didn't make sense to me - how could anybody not want to be a Leisure Tester? How could they quit? Finally, the job came to me. I'd been on the waiting list for two years. Now I've been in the job a month, and I'm thinking of quitting.
I still don't understand why though. The job is doing everything I used to do by choice - I sit in comfortable chairs, sleep in luxurious beds, watch movies, play games, and then I give my opinion and reasons. At first it was as good as it sounds.
I suppose part of the problem is working alongside other Testers. Their opinions start to insinuate themselves into mine. "I thought this chair was a bit lumpy", they say, and suddenly I notice it is a bit lumpy. Until I heard that, I had loved it. Now every time I sit, I see if the chair is lumpy. Most are.
All my furniture at home has been ruined. It's lumpy, it's cold, it's a suboptimal colour for relaxation. I get new furniture, and the next day someone will mention a flaw I haven't thought of, and my furniture is no good again. I don't enjoy movies any more, because I'm too busy criticising them. It used to be I could enjoy an action movie without lamenting the dire lack of cohesive plot. When these things have been pointed out to you a few times, you start to notice for yourself.
I expect I've had the same effect on some of the others - they probably now notice how boring their arty films really are. How the inventive plots are only inventive because they are nonsense. How the sodas they drink all taste alike and leave a nasty aftertaste.
None of us Testers appreciate anything any more. Janet quit the other day, and was found dead in the river hours later. She probably noticed, as the water entered her lungs, how it had an unpleasant consistency in the throat, and could do with carbonation. Perhaps next week I'll try a similar Test.