The postdoc wants to become a better person. In particular, she’s training her compassion. So whenever someone with a permanent position tells her they’re really stressed, their student messed up some important piece of code and they keep coming home well after their spouse has gone to bed, she listens intently, and nods, and murmurs I’m so sorry, and generally tries to put herself in their shoes.

Trouble is, those shoes invariably feel bloody great, and she finds her mind wandering in the decadent pleasures of being busy and important.

Now, she’s trying something new and imagines her interlocutor without shoes. Like a little crab or a flat fish. She doesn’t know whether that will make her a better person.