Thursday, 18 December 2008

The coat, the hair, the chest stress and a crane

Many things to tell you my little bolletjes (why I am addressing you as small meatballs, in the manner of Jean Paul Gaultier presenting Eurotrash, but in Flemish, is open for interpretation).

Part the First - the trip "up West" (non-English people, this is what the residents of fictional outer London borough Walford say when they head into Central London in popular cinema verité (ahem) television series Eastenders. "Getcha glad rags on and I'll take yar up West to see a show, Peggy!").

I have new hair! New, shiny, much darker and slightly longer hair. And new, non-orange eyebrows. I would take pictures but I have mislaid my memory card thingy. This should be deeply disturbing to my colleagues who are unaware of the fact that this new hair is not my own, but stolen from the head of some poor starving wench. However, their total absence of interest in normal human interaction makes a nonsense of this assumption. They have not noticed my hair getting longer and changing colour over night. A couple of them looked mildly perplexed, momentarily, but soon forgot in the heady contemplation of regional aid to crane manufacturers in Wesfphalen. Anyway. I sort of like it once I get a handle on my desire to flatten the fuck out of it. I like going to the hairdressers anyway, even though it does only happen once every two years. My hairdresser is mildly flash and "does" Kylie and Elle Macpherson and the like, and is quoted in magazines. But I knew him before all that, smug smug.

I mentioned the magazine thing to him.

"You were in Elle! I read it on the train, and there you were! This is happening more and more John. Soon you will be such a tremendous celebri-guru and you'll refuse to deal with saggy hairless people like me anymore. "

"Oh god, what was I saying?"

"I dunno really. Something about hair. I don't pay too much attention to that stuff, no offence"

"Some old load of crap spouted with a hangover doubtless. Much more importantly tell me what to do about the gorgeous Swedish boy with no legs" [a long story].

Apart from that I bought a new coat in Liberty, very pretty and thin and impractical and, inevitably, not in the sale. "Sorry", said the fey boy with the quiff and the skinny jeans falling over his concave buttocks, "I know it's on the sale rail, but um, it's, um not. Sorry". He looked so mournful and confused I didn't have the heart to fight with him. It is black and sort of heavy cotton, fitted, cocoon shaped, with 3/4 length tulip sleeves. I like.

Then I had lunch with Violet (culminating in one of those undignified bouts of what we call "granny fighting", where both of us try to grab for the bill. "It's my turn! Put that AWAY!" "No, it's my turn. I INSIST" while bored Eastern European waiting staff look at us disdainfully) and brought Antonia an offering of Belgian fondant Jesuses. Jesi? Jesu? There's fairly little call for the plural, which I suppose figures what with Christianity being a monotheistic religion and all. Antonia was rendered completely incapable for some time by the South Effrican blondes next to us talking about "horse physiotherapy". I was unable to stop talking during both these encounters, words spilling unbidden from my crazed flailing lips after months of speaking either French or lawyer. They were very patient and it was great.

I got home late with fifteen half-ripped collapsing carrier bags filled with heavy magazines and biscuits and small squirrelled-away apparently essential trifles, in a state of manic excitement. Predictably it has been downhill ever since.

Part the Second - the crazy and the sad

I have a terrible case of the lower abdomen doom today, combined with the upper chest cavity stressiness, classic symptoms of the crazy. I attribute this to:

- the lack of the sleep
- the missing of the London (it is NOT getting easier having no access to ready chopped stir fry vegetables and real milk in my extra dry cappucino and all the other lamentable trappings of London life)
- the continued woe of the elder child (he cut someone's finger by mistake* while I was away and apparently spent the day in inconsolable tears in case he got sent to see the headmaster. Poor poppet)
- the CFO's belief that it is All My Fault. "He's isolated because the teacher makes him sit separately because he's so messy and you KNOW where he gets that from" he said (I paraphrase, but it was, if anything, blunter than that) narrowing his eyes. I am refraining from flaying him alive, in honour of my quaker schooling. But it is making me feel part devastated and part stabby.

I was thrashing through this with BMF on email in a trembly lip fashion. Ooooh, the woe, the hardness, the sadness, the intractable, tragic nature of human relationships.. Then just as it was getting ridiculously sad we ended up mildly hysterical. "Dead end zombie jobs, relationships with uncertain futures and the damning certainty of fucking up my children's life! Damn, we know how to be festive! Pass the mince pies and sherry! Merry Christmas!". So then I told him about my coat and he told me about his new jeans, and I showed him this (which I am getting a bit obsessed with - go! Worship! The crane haiku is magnificent). He knows how to cheer a girl up.

Part the third - the internet lifts me up on its html wings

Just as importantly, all your support on my recent wobbles has been so, so, extraordinarily wonderful. Truly. I was toying mechanically with the chocolate plate this morning, but I heard Pearl's (um, cyber?) voice telling me that chocolate is not my friend, and all your urgings not to let a bad day become a habit again. So I didn't. I came home and ate crackers and felt mildly cheered. Yay the internet. Where have you been all my life? Seriously, this is a million times better than group therapy. I didn't even tell the group therapy lot about the bulimia. They would have sent me away to the eating disorder group and kicked me out of the depressives coven, leaving me to wail in the corridor with nary a tissue to my name. You lot are non-sectarian and without fail supportive and wonderful. No wonder the CFO views you with small stony eyes and suspicion.

And this last fact means I must post this now, before my spouse type person returns home from the nineteen fifties.

*Admittedly, I do wonder quite how one cuts someone's finger "by mistake". An involuntary spasm during which he found himself taking other child's hand and applying scissors to it?


Anonymous said...

We would never let you cry alone. And the fact that you can stay away from the chocolate while living in Belgium says you're pretty damned strong.

I'd be in a perpetual state of chocolate-induced coma.

Congrats on the hair success!

expateek said...

You're adorable. Dying to see new hair and eyebrows.

Probably the CFO is put out because let's face it, tortoises have neither hair nor eyebrows.

Just small suspicious eyes, and scrabbly little claws that make funny thread pulls in your lovely upholstery fabric.

Perhaps he should just take a chill pill and cool off in the crisper drawer. That's what it's for, right?

Anonymous said...

what does it say about me that i laughed MY ASS OFF at the fuckyoupenguin blog? that i am a sad, sad, bitter woman who delights in all that is wrong and evil and snarky? i think the answer is "yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" that blog is the best thing to happen to me in days. something is really wrong with me (and you, too, apparently).

the cfo and my own '50s husband would hit it right off. he also views my time on the computer with suspicion and distrust. do you think it's because we're lawyers?

bonnie-ann black said...

thanks for the new addictive website .. FYP is hilarious, and reading a whole bunch of the entries in a row is sort of like gulping down a box of godiva dark chocolate alcohol candies... hysteria making.

i have no 50s husband, but if i were you guys, i'd hand him a dishtowel, a string of pearls and an apron and tell him to time travel back to the days when he would have been happier.

my word is "bagna"... does that sound like some eastern european middle aged woman with a tough attitude? i like it. i think i shall put it on a t-shirt... "Don't mess with this Bagna!"

Anonymous said...

You must find the memory card so you can show us pictures! I have a minor thing for coats myself and your new one sounds lovely.
Go get some good sleep. I think that's been my problem this week as well (rough coming back to work after a week lounging at the inlaws)...

Anonymous said...

There's nothing more bittersweet than a day trip in the city you love. The coat sounds completely intimidating and magnificent.

Too bad you can't ship the CFO off for a little taste of group therapy. Why must they irrationally provoke when they're terrified? It sounds like a cleaning service would improve his mood but those things must be expensive in Europe even during non-recession times, what with those bothersome human and labor rights.

I was just remembering your mentioning lingering food smells in the hair. I briefly wore a wig as a teenager and used dry shampoo when I couldn't handle the washing process or the fear it wouldn't be dry by the next morning. "When" meaning every day.

Word verification = "eurad" which sounds like a punny children's valentine's day card, custom-made for this purpose.

P said...

Waiting anxiously for pictures to fill my drab beige cubicle life with joy.

Red Shoes said...

undignified bouts of what we call "granny fighting"
Oooh, perfect way to describe that. I'm excellent at that game, by the way. Too excellent. I'll pay for meals I truly can't afford out of some insane need to win. It is, as WV will attest, a "mockstra".

brought Antonia an offering

Awww, I'm jealous you've met Antonia. I'm a huge fan of her blog. I don't squat on it as I do yours (yours is the first blog I've EVER commented on in all these internet years, so you can see why I don't understand the boundaries as everyone else seems to), but I do read it regularly.

No wonder the CFO views you with small stony eyes and suspicion.

*sigh* Silly CFO.

Oh, and I"m so glad you got a day to go and have fun and be pampered and buy beautiful cocoony things. You deserve it.

katyboo1 said...

Yurs, the whole Belgium/Chocolate thing is a tough gig. I once met a recovering alkie who had moved to the Czech republic to get away from heavy drinking. This was hilarious poor man. He even ended up working in a factory where they made liqueur chocolates bless him. Still he stayed sober, so maybe it's the hair of the dog type thingy.

I too am gagging to see the new do.

Potty Mummy said...

Perfect post as ever. And I will remember your magnificent chocolate denials as an example in my own attempt to shun the chocolate (though for much lesser and more trivial reasons) over the next week or so.

Am off now to devour what the mice have left of the tree biscuits instead...

Elsie said...

Thinking that the way out may be through the door - CFO launches own blog, and prepares spreadsheets for the world on tortoise vitals,sharing joys and miseries unique to big fans of slow-foots. You spend the twelve evenings of Christmas blogging side by side by the fire, children playing nicely at your feet.

La Belette Rouge said...

I wish I could take my hair off and send it to your fab hairdressers. You sound even more gorgeous than ever.

I miss East Enders back in the Peggy Mitchell and her rapscallion boys. Her boys could use some hair from a third world wench.

The bloggy support is astounding. I cannot imagine where I would be without the support I have received in the last season d'enfer. I admire you for your honesty and for reaching out, mon petite bolletje.

Anonymous said...

I too am eager to see the new hair and eyebrows. Poor Lashes and poor you. I also went to an oppressive school when I was his age--they enacted it in a special all-girls fashion with actual flower-arranging and artful baking competitions in addition to the extremely low tolerance for anything remotely free spirited or undainty--and I feel for you both. I also suffered from frequent childhood attacks of existential terror. And yet, in the end, I wound up being both rambunctous and a relatively productive member of society, so I think it will be okay.

SUEB0B said...

Apropos of nothing except that you are British, did you watch "Shameless"? I recently found it on Netflix and watched the first season, rapt and confused by the language. Though now I say "MASSIVE" all the time, which is annoying but I can't stop.

River said...

"why I am addressing you as small meatballs...
Because, like small meatballs, we are lovable.

word verification is "agony", much like what we feel when saying no to chocolate.

Waffle said...

DCup - thank you for not letting me cry alone. It would be snotty and pitiful and end with chocolate.

Expateex - those claws play havoc with cashmere. I will not be letting them near my new coat. Tsk.

Lisa - I don't know. Why? Is it not punishment enough for us that we are lawyer? Seemingly not.

Bonnie-ann - do you think he has been watching too much Mad Men? Bagna indeed.

Ptooie - I promise. Oh, sleep. That would be great, wouldn't it?

Vanessa - I must try the dry shampoo plan, it sounds like total genius... Damn those enlightened labour laws. Pff.

P - Don't build it up too much. It is very black. But I do promise pictures.

RedShoes - I am so flattered that I made you comment. Hooray! Antonia is great. So much fun coming out of one so small is fantastic.

Katyboo - onoes, imagine him eyeing up the the liqueur chocs. Badness! Poor man.

PM - damn those meeses. Maybe you should just embrace it and tell people they are part of the 'theme' for your Christmas.

Elsie - I love that vision. I am clinging to it. Pff.

Belette - you're right. The Mitchell brothers could definitely do with some offcuts..

Red fox - look! You're next to a red weasel in the comments! Thank you, that does give me some hope that he might survive his cultural reeducation in the ways of neat colouring..

SueBob - Yes, it's great isn't it? I like Sheila best.

River - you are. You truly are. Delicious.

bonnie-ann black said...

Too Much Mad Men. oh yes... that's the answer .. it gives men a false idea of women's position, while making them feel as if the angst of their little gray organizational lives entitles them to feminine slave-itude. curse you, Mad Men!

as for poor Lashes -- i have very strong feelings about those types of schools that want to "normalize" everyone. i hate that "everything you need to know, you learned in kindergarten" (or grade school) crap. and the fact that i didn't go to kindergarten (and skipped 3d and 8th grades) gives me every excuse for continuing my iconoclastic behavior. all schools do is prepare you to be a wage-slave: be on time, respect your superiors, play well with others, don't talk out of turn, don't act up... don't think! (but am i bitter? oh, no!)

i had a brother in law who used to complain that my nephew (age 5) didn't color the people "properly". so i bought the kid a sesame street coloring book and dared the BIL to tell him what was a proper color for a muppet. corporate cog!

my word is "devise" which is what i shall be doing. devising the means of the destruction of the corporate culture of gray mice!

Juci said...

Okay. This is gonna take the stalking that some of us do on your blog to a whole new level, and I don't even know if it works like this, but next time you need (or want) a new hair, I'd love to give you mine. It's auburn and slightly wavy, and it's pretty healthy - I've never had a split end in my life.
This is probably the most ludicrous idea I've had this year, but I'm serious. :)

Waffle said...

Juci - that's the best and strangest offer EVER.

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