Friday, 3 September 2010

Trained monkeys, Dr Snuffleopagus and the Drama Queen.

Things are really looking up. Today's the last day of Recess, and The Boss still isn't speaking to me, so Greg has to do surgery again. The usual suspects seem to be otherwise occupied, and work is thoroughly uneventful - which is just how I like it.

To add to my joy, Josh phones at lunchtime to tell me he's got an interview at the cinema on Monday. Bloody hell. So all my worrying about his unemployability may have been for nothing.

I'm not used to everything going so well, so I get a bit nervous - with reason, as it turns out. My whole evening is interrupted by various members of my family. First Connie phones.

"I hate my new job," she says. "I wish I hadn't applied for this bloody internship now."

"Why?" I say. Doesn't she realise what an honour it was to be selected? There aren't many internships as prestigious as this, nor that are as well-paid. Connie's earning almost as much as Max - though I haven't told him that.

"A trained monkey could do what I'm doing," says Connie, hiccuping with outrage. "Or a robot. And my boss is awful."

"Oh, well - join the club on that one," I say. I am still working on the principle that, if it isn't cancer, shut up about it.

"He hates women, and only speaks to me when he has to, Mum." God, this is like deja-vu. My maternal sympathy finally kicks in.

"Oh, poor you, Connie," I say. "I know all about that one. Give it another week, and then speak to him about it if it doesn't get any better."

"I would, Mum," she says, "But I can't pronounce his name properly. I can't call him Dr Snuffleopagus, which is what it sounds like, can I?"

This might appear to be a minor problem, but Connie takes such things very seriously indeed. She was once reduced to tears of embarrassment when she phoned the kebab shop to place an order, and couldn't understand what the man who answered was saying. She couldn't handle asking him to repeat what he'd said more than twice, in case he thought she was taking the piss - so, instead, she lost the plot and had to pass the phone to Josh - who presumably reminded them that his father was dead, and negotiated a discount.

I finally calm Connie down a bit, and am looking forward to an early night, when I get a text from Dinah.

"I've had bad news," she says.

This doesn't sound like something to discuss by text message so I try to phone her, but she doesn't answer. Instead she texts again:

"I don't want to talk about it." Oh, for God's sake. I text back:

"Then why bloody well text me in the first place FFS*?" I am definitely becoming more impatient by the day.

There is a lull, and then three texts arrive in quick succession. In them, Dinah spells out her distress at being diagnosed with a serious illness when she saw her GP this morning. Now I feel terrible.

"God, I'm sorry, sis," I type. "What is it?"

Back comes the reply, as quick as a flash.


What the hell is that? I didn't even know Dinah was feeling ill. Or not any more than usual, anyway. Hypochondria runs in the family.

"Dinah, I've never heard of HPD, I'm sorry. What is it?"

"Histrionic Personality Disorder."

I almost collapse laughing. Max thinks I'm choking and starts trying to do the Heimlich manoeuvre on me, until I fight him off.

"What the hell's the matter with you?" he says. "Are you hysterical or something?"

"Probably," I say. "Dinah's just been diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder."

"How did it take them so long to work that one out?" Max says. "That's just another word for Drama Queen-itis."

Later, I go onto Facebook to try to work out where Josh has gone for the evening, and notice that Dinah has updated her status. It now reads, "Dinah is finding it very hard to cope with her HPD diagnosis." I resist the temptation to leave a sarcastic comment, but the effort nearly kills me, and now I need a lie-down. Attention-seeking Facebook statuses always stress me out, even though I make it a matter of principle to ignore them. It's never a good idea to encourage nutters, whether at work or in your private life.

*FFS - for those of you over the age of thirty-five or who do not have teenage children to keep you abreast of what's hip and happening in text-speak, FFS means "for f*ck's sake."

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