29 May, 2007

Strange Encounters

I’m having a strange stiff correspondence with some admin woman in the children’s prospective new school in the UK. She is one of these very middle class women who clearly has a problem with the fact that I use her first name (and my own first name) instead of keeping everything on a Mrs So-and-So basis, as if we were two Edwardian women with pokers up our arses.

I suppose I should be charitable and just let her have her way, particularly as actually I think it would be rather entertaining to revert to title and surname – it would be like going back in time. But it bugs me that it bugs her. Let’s face it, I’m her customer. I should be able to call her Bogface, if I want to.

It seems to me that if I can call the chairman of Very Big Bank plc by his first name, I should certainly be allowed to call Mrs Uptight School Administrator by her first name. No doubt she thinks it’s all very “American” and cringes every time I do it. All I can say is, Move into the 21st century, woman.

Speaking of strange foibles, I was at dinner with a woman the other day, who on sitting down at table declared that she was pleased that the seating plan recognized her status as the most important person at the table, by virtue of the fact that the United States congress (or senate? Can’t remember) had confirmed her in her current role and she had received her commission from the President himself.

This was obviously meant to be ironic self-inflation, so I asked her if the President, on handing her the commission, also had to hit her over the head with a baton.

And she said, “No. Well, I received the commission from Bill Clinton, who’s a friend.”

Later on, it occurred to me that this was an odd thing to say. She doesn’t need to tell me that she’s a friend of Bill Clinton to impress me. I’m Chinese, for God’s sake. Her being twenty years older than me is all it takes to win about as much cordial interest from me as anyone can reasonably hope to gain in the context of a dinner party.

And why did she go in for the ironic self-inflation line if she didn’t want to go down the ironic self-deprecation route conversationally? Hmm.

Got some alumni bumf through the post yesterday, which led me to the newly-published book of an absolutely dreadful woman that I used to know at college. Praiseworthy review in the Guardian (note to self: time to switch to the Telegraph) and considerably more measured review in the NY Times. Here is an extract:

“But the Christian god will never win, for still, still proudly anarchic, in thunder and cunt, cock and lightning, the raw core of our human spirit is still untamed, full of will, eloquent, complex, kinetic and fleetly wild.”

It’s hard to think of anything I could say which might damn the woman more eloquently than her own prose-style. What I cannot understand is how anyone can read even one sentence of this drivel without reaching for the sickbag, let alone contemplate forking out twenty quid for it.


Blogger Fumier said...

If you start using expressions like "I am in receipt of you letter of the 3rd inst., the contents of which are duly noted ... ", would she realise you are taking the piss?

Or would that make it stiffer?

4:06 am  
Blogger 962 said...

I believe you should always start a letter "refering to the captioned"
that certainly makes my arse pucker without the thought of a red hot king knobberler up the posterior orifice of an edwardian lady.
Talking of which, the lady writer at the end perhaps requires said poker, what utter crappy writing, and why is it such closely guarded interlectual drivel has to go hip by introducing saxon names for our body parts.

Ho hum

7:07 am  
Blogger FBT said...

Suppose it's to show how wild, free and untrammelled by stifling convention she is, the banal overheated old ratbag.

I never mentioned the temperature of said pokers - must be your own particular perversion!

7:11 am  
Blogger hugh said...

hienoJudging by "documentaries" like Bowling for Columbine, An Inconvenient Truth and The Fog of War, Americans do self-promotion without irony or self-reflection.

Not just Americans either...

8:12 am  
Blogger Icedink said...

The school lady and the dinner guest sound as dreadful as the author. Commend your likely switch to the Telegraph.

9:44 am  
Blogger 962 said...

fbt said "I never mentioned the temperature of said pokers - must be your own particular perversion! "

What can I say, one red hot poker will be the end of me and my fantasies

6:46 am  
Blogger Troika said...

Tell her you want to be addressed as Ms. Ms is a fcuking awful word and impossible to pronounce.

I am sure it will annoy her.

9:04 am  
Blogger dgny said...

I would urge you not to take advice from anyone without children, especially Mr. Horse Tat or whatever it was on his forehead.

This woman is all the difference between your children having a lovely homecoming and your having to joinn me in Antwerp in the fall...come to think of it, annoy the hell out of her!

12:16 am  
Blogger 962 said...

Th great thing about these sort of people is that wield an innordinate amount of power which has never really been delegated to them. This is usually due to an ineffective person above them seeking an easy life.
Typical scenarios exist as follows
1) The doctors receptionist, encased behind a glass screen dicatating the surgery proceedures. A bit like the lady on "my hero" the Doctor sits behind her in some kind of awe.
If you are ill you would expect sympathy not the spanish inquisition encased in glass requiring you to bend to communicate with said mengler type character.
2) similar scenario with the expats PA. Him relying solely on her skills to deal with all his needs and secretly imagining slipping his hand over her small pert breasts, her alienating everybody else in the office while she strides up and down in here imagined role as the office manager.

Love them both to death and usually give them a serious tongue lashing should they step an inch out of line.

1:52 am  
Blogger dgny said...

ooh-errr, a tongue lashing? No doubt Fumie is jealous.

I'd put her on par with customs and immigration officials. Powerless and yet omnipotent.

2:48 am  
Blogger FBT said...

Never mind, I will just sic LSS on her when we get back to the UK. He'll have her eating out of his hand in no time.

3:59 am  

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