Monday, 20 December 2010

So This is Christmas

“...And what have you done?” the song impetuously demands. Quite a lot actually. Mainly involving avoiding being swept along with hordes of shoppers heading for Lynx gift sets, bread or both. Which feels like a lot, I'll have you know.

Possibly caught driving his sleigh whilst under the influence of sherry. Whoever she is.

Like the gynaecologist who sees so much pussy day in day out that the last thing he wants to see when he gets home is the one belonging to his long-suffering wife, I’ve been doing so much copywriting lately that updating this lil blog o’ mine has fallen down the list of my priorities. Not that I’m complaining about the workload; it’s nice to feel like I’m actually using my degree for something and working from home definitely has its advantages, especially in the winter months.

And due to the weather, work, and the UK’s oft-blamed public transport system, it looks like my Brighton home is where I’ll be nestled this Christmas. Enjoying the sound of silence (which could’ve been a blog post all of its own, but one that would’ve indubitably fallen upon deaf ears, ho ho), interspersed with “Jingle Bells” as brought to you by animals of Youtube:

and this amazing mash-up of every Christmas tune ever from the prolific Casetteboy which more than capably fulfils my need for an injection of Christmassy schmaltz.

Prior to Annual Gift Day itself, I’ve got some clock burning to do and a sex shop party I may attend, so life’s far from dull. And why celebrate the birth of a person I’m unsure whether I actually believe in the existence of anyway. Spending the day in quiet reflection seems appropriate, even if that reflection happens to be my mug in the bath tub taps or television screen.

What I am sure of is seeing some of my friends and family, somehow, before 2010 is over, that I hope everyone gets the Christmas they deserve wherever they may be, whomever they may be with, and that I wish a prosperous 2011 to all.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

P's and Queues

Just got off the phone to a recruitment agency. I was surprised that they answered at all, it being a Sunday, so proceeded to express my surprise and delight at not having to leave a message and having someone to talk to in an accordingly friendly manner.

“What can we help you with?” came the gruff reply. Clearly somebody resents not being able to spend the whole day in their dressing gown. As I currently do. Over my clothes. Which are padded with cushions and pillows. Not forgetting the three pairs of socks. And the halogen heater strapped to my back.

Which sadly emits more light than heat.

“Err, yes, I’m having trouble using your website to submit my hours...”

“The Out of Hours team doesn’t deal with that. You’ll have to phone back on a Monday.”

“Oh gosh yes of course silly me dreadfully sorry to have troubled you...”


This is just the sort of daily interaction Lynne Truss objects to in her self-proclaimed extended rant of a book, Talk to the Hand, subtitled The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life, sub-subtitled ‘Or Six Good Reasons to Stay at Home and Bolt the Door. She (or Ms Truss as I’d better refer to her) describes occasions where we end up apologising when we feel we’re owed an apology. I increasingly feel this way when dealing with shop assistants and check out operators. I’m terribly sorry I need to interrupt you to give you some money to pay for some of your wares, you must be awfully inconvenienced, I’ll be on my way now and try not to trouble anyone else on my way back to my shell. Then when walking home, ill-gotten goods in tow, I mentally kick myself as they are the ones that are supposed to feel grateful I’ve spent money in their shop and be the ones thanking me.

Take a recent Christmas shopping trip to HMV for example, located in the murky depths of Brighton’s Churchill Square, home to every shop you can think of on every other high street in Britain, the bus depot and several thousand shoppers. Which is several thousand too many. Already fazed after spotting a Bieber biography (isn’t that guy like 12?) I hastily selected a suitable gift (which turns out to be Part Two of Two, so now I’m faced with a return trip to find Part One) and joined the queue. I was served by a scene princess who was engrossed in conversation with her colleague, a Zac Efron lookalike, behind a raised dias of a counter just so we little shoppers know our place.

“Hello! I’d like to see how much money I’ve got left on these vouchers to pay for this if I may.”

(SP swipes cards, continues yapping to Zac about her weekend).

“£4.11 to pay” (stuffs book into bag, even though I had one open ready to put it in. So much for Brighton being a green city).

I hand over money. “Thanks, bye!” I say to the back of her head as she gives her beloved Zac her full attention, FINALLY, now that pesky customer has gone.

Another occasion, this time in the Morrisons of St James’ Street. I’m trying to hold in seething anger as customer in front of me talks to check out girl about perms for what seems like hours. Check out girl starts scanning my stuff with barely a glance in my direction. “That’ll be £some money please”. I hand over a note. Meanwhile she is still talking to the previous customer, swopping numbers of hairdressers on bits of till receipt, opening the till to stuff my money in and slamming it shut again. I remind her that I’m owed some change. With a sigh she re-opens the till and fishes it out. I leave feeling like I’ve just been a bloody nuisance when all I’ve done is ask for what’s rightfully mine.

Thanks to Ms Truss, I now know I’m not alone in getting really peeved when I think back on my (increasingly rare, if you can’t tell) dealings with the outside world and its inhabitants. I won’t go as far as shouting at boys on skateboards like she does though, because I think they’re kinda hot.

He can't hear you from up there anyway.

I used to work behind a till so I know what a difference it can make when someone is pleasant. I even mastered the ability of breaking off conversations with colleagues to give full attention to customers. I might become one of those people that says “PLEASE” where I’m felt a please is owed. I’ve already become one of those people that shouts “helps if you press the bloody button!” to the person on the other side of the road when I’m waiting for the lights to change who is babbling away on their phone and looking up and down the road wondering why on earth the traffic isn’t slowing. Let this serve as a warning to anyone who intends to go out in public with me. If there’s anyone left after that tirade. Hello?