Monthly Archives: September 2009
I am always amazed at my own reaction to the sound of the postman’s footsteps on our driveway. It has been several years since postmen and postwomen were the sole channel for written communication with the outside world. In those days (yes, I do remember them), there was always a sporting chance that the daily post would contain goodies such as handwritten letters, useful information that was certainly not considered junk and, best of all, cheques. Now that we have email, texting, Facebook, Twitter and other such wonders, the postman’s visit promises bills, reminders of bank account-breaking appointments with the kids’ medical consultants, and little else. So why do I have this Pavlovian reaction of racing heart and the irresistible urge to go and check the post? The answer is in the question, I guess: conditioning. Now where are those biscuits?
A little education is a dangerous thing, they say. Personally, I think a reasonable amount of education can be even more dangerous. I mean, the term “blissful ignorance” didn’t just come from nowhere. Some days – usually when I’m driving down our road for the fifth time, or finding myself confronted with the daily puzzler of “what can I make for dinner in ten minutes from virtually no ingredients” – I genuinely think I would be better off if my education had stopped sooner than it did. That way, I simply wouldn’t know about a lot of the stuff that causes me headaches on a daily basis.
Do I really need to know that Anna Karenina threw herself under a train in response to the pressures of modern womanhood? And speaking of Tolstoy, I would definitely be better off without the knowledge that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Aaargh! I don’t want to recognise myself or my family in epic tragic figures, thank you!
There are definitely days when I almost believe that the guys at The Fast Show got it right about education turning women into venomous harridans – just going by myself, of course.
In this spirit, I’ve recently been conducting an experiment with myself as guinea pig. For two weeks now, I have read nothing but fashion magazines and chick lit novels. So far, I’m feeling pretty good. (I had a brief slip last weekend when I unthinkingly bought the new Colm Toibin, but I remembered myself and haven’t looked at so much as the cover since.) I reckon I’ve undone at least the first few weeks of my undergraduate degree already.
If I persevere and apply myself, I might even be able to erase that Master’s from my mind forever.
Having been a model baby in the sleep stakes for several nights, Bot undid all her good work this morning by waking up at 4 am. (With a very impressive, whooping, gasping, catch-you-in-the-throat croupy cough, it must be said.) Now, almost six hours later, Bot is home sick from the minder’s, sleeping off the effects of her broken night, not a trace of the cough remaining, while I squeeze in some work before she wakes up again and the planned gym visit (yes, really) postponed to another day. Not for the first time, I give thanks that I work from home. I don’t think my clients would see the funny side if I turned up to work with pyjamas posing as daywear, bed hair (not the sexy kind), and bags under my eyes so huge that if I were at the the airport, Ryanair would slap on an extra charge before you could say “Did you pack those yourself?”
Mums on the edge have to take their comforts where they can. I made it to the gym today. The boss lady kindly did not linger over the fact that I had extended my maternity break well beyond the bounds of biological possibility. I did my round on the machines feeling conflicted, as usual: yes, I am back at the gym, but I should be working. Still, there are worse things to agonise over. Such as: my gym tops no longer cover my belly when I do my stretching exercises. Remembering the new positive me, I valiantly turn it into a goal: get gym top to cover belly by Christmas! Watch this space (not the one between the hem of my top and my trousers).