Saturday, 20 January 2007

A Hermit's Life For Me

I would normally describe myself as a fairly cheerful person, but there’s a limit to how cheerful I feel when indulgence in a major vice (sugar, and by extension a significant portion of my daily food intake) is severely curtailed. Suddenly I find myself grumpy for a number of reasons.

Mr. Lonie’s holidays have ended, ergo so have mine. No more lie-ins and equal division of housework and child wrangling. No more respite from Master Lonie’s favourite game of ‘let’s cry so long and loudly at Mummy’s lack of a marsupial pouch in which to carry me with her at all times, that the neighbours think Mummy’s horribly abusive and/or neglectful’. The house is already disappearing under mountains of clothes and washing-up, so according to the Law of Judgemental Relations, I’m due for a surprise visit from the dreaded in-laws. I can’t bear to imagine the exponentially worse state of the house, week-day dinners and my sanity when I return to full-time paid work in a mere two months.

Don’t get me wrong: having been unemployed or in a number of crappy jobs, I’m ever grateful to have decent work without an unwritten duty statement including tolerating sexual harassment, fending off sleazy bosses, dressing in demeaning costumes, copping frequent rudeness and verbal abuse, or trying to pretend someone’s feet aren’t eye-wateringly smelly or shockingly ugly. I am, however, hardly filled with enthusiasm to hear, “We’ve moved [from our prime position, into an unpleasant corner somewhere], and by the way you no longer have a desk,” from yet another new boss who arrived during my leave. After my last stint, I was considering seeking work elsewhere, but the prospect of having to re-write my résumé, CV and statements against generic selection criteria (all of which have been lost in both soft and hard copy) makes me groan with dread.

Meanwhile, I’ve squandered my last foreseeable opportunity for decent writing time on blogging and less profitable pastimes. Sure, blogging’s a fun hobby but it’s not going to earn me a living sufficient to quit my day job as John Howard’s lowly minion. Yet I can’t seem to stop, and while my meagre creative energies are divided between novels (yes, that’s a pathetic plural) and blogging, none are done to my satisfaction (or at all). Nothing makes one grumpy like realising one has irrational, half-analysed self-imposed psychological obstacles to achievement that would fill a large portion of a Dr. Phil show.

And so it is that nursing such crotchety thoughts, I’ve frequently caught myself with a frown on my face, directed at no-one in particular but fierce enough that innocent people have shied out of my way at the local shopping centre. Though my first thought when in the midst of such a dudgeon is Flee my death-glare or perish, you meaty logjams! I’m persuaded to exert some control over my truculent mien by the next thought that occurs to me: (inward groan) What if one of those disgustingly perky, interfering nitwits accosts me?

You know the ones: the gormlessly smiling strangers who think it an incumbent duty to approach people they’ve never seen before and whose circumstances they know nothing of, to impart their singularly useless advice.

“Cheer up, it might never happen!” or “Smile! It’s not the end of the world!”

When I was younger and more anxious to please, I dutifully complied although part of me seethed at the presumptuousness of such a suggestion. For one thing, my natural resting face can sometimes look a little pensive or glum, even when I’m not. For another, what if ‘it’ had already happened? How did they know my pet hadn’t just died, or I hadn’t just been informed by the doctor I had two weeks to live before a drawn-out, horribly painful death, or I hadn’t just learned a colossal meteorite was, in fact, shortly to bring about the end of the world?

These days I’m rarely in the mood to humour morons. Like the three drunken boys who interrupted my somewhat frantic search for a wilfully stray Mr. Lonie (also drunk) before he could get almost beaten up again, to leer at me and say, “Aaaaaaaay! Smile!”

I turned on the death-glare instead. Even through their alcoholic fog they registered something had gone awry.

“Lesbian bitch!” they slurred at my retreating figure. The satisfaction of denying my initial nice-girl impulse was worth their unimaginative, knee-jerk reaction to an unexpected ego-bruising.

The last fool who dared thrust his fatuous platitude on me copped an earful back. I was pregnant, stressed and unwell, waddling uncomfortably through the shopping centre while Mr. Lonie (ever the gentleman) strode ten paces ahead. Just when I was thinking if some cretin tries that ‘cheer up’ crap on me, I’ll rip out their tongue and slap them with it, suddenly there it was, forcing its way through my unwilling auditory canals: “Smile! It’s not the end of the world!”

Nice, polite Lonie didn’t stand a chance against hormone-drenched, verge-of-nervous-breakdown Lonie. The most she could do was muffle the outraged scream into a passive-aggressive mutter that was nevertheless clearly audible to Mr. Moron and his missus.

“Shut the eff up!”

The effect of this small release of pent-up tension was, sadly, short-lived. The people I’d just sworn at were our neighbours.

3 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Tell me about it! I hate it when some smirking chimp tells me to cheer up when I've just been pissed on by a monkey. That's jungle life for you. Ever thought of walking around with a baseball bat in your hand? I don't know what effect it has on drunken louts, but it scares the shit out of lions.

foodkitty said...

remember what your mother told you about the west wind blowing...Ooops, maybe I should just smile gormlessly in the background on this one...for fear of what might happen.

Lonie Polony said...

Hi gorilla bananas :) No, I haven't taken to carrying weapons yet. I'm actually a non-confrontational person when I'm not strung out waiting for my next sugar hit.

Lol foodkitty! I won't swear at you, I promise. It was a real departure from normal character and I've learnt my lesson ;)