Showing posts from December, 2009

Another letter from Santa

Dear Fran I have received letters recently from all three of your grown-up children expressing some real anxieties; I understand they are all coming to stay with you over the Christmas period. They seem to feel there is no one else to appeal to and have asked me to contact you, taking on the role of a mediator. Whether I will be successful in getting you to modify your behaviour is in doubt; after all, we have corresponded before, haven't we, without much success in this regard*? I have read their letters and the grievances they express - some of the material was quite distressing - and have compiled the following list of things I think you should keep in mind if you want to make Christmas bearable for your offspring this year. 1. Perhaps it is time to stop hiding a Brussel sprout amongst the children's Christmas dinners. They didn't find this funny when you began doing it twenty years ago and don't find it funny now. They feel that now they are adults it should

Reasons why I should just ignore everyone's needs

Okay, so it's a dark winter morning, and I'm on the bus. (Is she ever not? When does she sleep? How does she go to the toilet?) I'm loaded with my handbag and various bags of schoolbooks and marking. I look like I've left home for good, but I'm merely on the way to work. The bus is crowded. Even though I could have done with a double seat to myself (because of the bags, because of the bags ... what were you thinking I meant?), I've had to squeeze in next to a woman who's in the window seat (Window Woman, from now on). She has that mad rabbit look in her eyes that belies someone who's anxious about where to get off the bus, and that means she's got to get past me at some point, but I have no other choice. I will now present the rest of the disastrous narrative in a series of numbered points. It helps me to distance myself from distressing material. 1. As soon as I've sat down, Window Woman makes a slight movement towards me. I think it'

Evidence that I am finally losing it. (Okay, then. More evidence.)

I have amused myself greatly with my own foolishness today. Was on the bus (where else?) and opened up the book I'm currently reading or, more accurately, struggling with. You might have spotted in my 'What I am currently reading' sidebar that I was complaining about a book by William Trevor in which he seemed to have introduced a wide variety of sub-plots which I was hoping would come together at some point. I knew the novel was all set in Ireland, but apart from that, couldn't see any links at all between the characters or their situations. Chapter by chapter, it just seemed to get even more complicated. Still, I was determined to persevere. In fact, I was even a little proud of myself for sticking with a postmodern narrative. I'm an English teacher, after all, I comforted myself. I ought to be able to cope. Opened up to the seventh chapter. A new character, a new story, a new setting. That was it! I slapped the book shut. English teacher, or no English t

Reasons why stretched earlobes can still be useful when you're old

Granted, plain earlobes are just boring. I mean, there's a nice little piece of flesh, just aching for a diamond or a dangly silver thing, and if you just leave it as it is, in the end it's just a little piece of flesh: redundant or what? And I don't know about you, but I have enough little pieces of flesh hanging around my body doing nothing useful; I don't need more. So I may as well decorate the bits that are decent enough to be on show. I'm not sure I'd go as far as some, though. For me, the delicate silver stud or the faux diamond are as far as I'm prepared to take earlobe enhancement. But there's now a fashion, and not just in remote tribal areas, for making the holes in your earlobes massive by putting, firstly, small discs in the holes in them, then bigger discs, then bigger ones, etc etc, until they'll take jewellery the size of dinner plates. But what happens when you get old? You wake up one day. You're 73. And suddenly, the gaping