Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Irritable, My Arse.

Is it possible to have PMT every day of the month? Now even I'm starting to wonder. Unless it's Vicky's constant hair-flicking that's causing me to be so grumpy. Today I manage to fall out with both Max and Johnny. Talk about narrowing one's options.

Max announces that he's going to be late home again tonight - while we're having breakfast. Mrs Bloom has "asked a favour" and he is going to fix a new bolt and security chain to her front door after work.

"But what on earth has that got to do with selling furniture?" I say.

"Nothing," says Max. "But it's not a bad idea to keep your best customers happy in a recession. And it won't take that long."

I can't think of anything to say to this that wouldn't involve unintelligible mumbling and swearing, so I don't bother. I rely on some passive-aggressive huffing and glaring instead. It is only seven-thirty in the morning, after all.

Not that my restraint has the desired effect. Max just raises an eyebrow and says,


Gah. Why do men always think that women's justifiable irritation must be solely due to their menstrual cycle?  I'm sure I read an article* that suggested that, while women are noticeably more irritable in the days immediately before their period, they are still less irritable than men are all the bloody time.

Unfortunately, Max's idiotic question provokes me to actual speech, and I point out that there's no such thing as Post-Menstrual Tension. And that we'd need a far better sex-life if his awareness of my cycle was to be anything like as good as his knowledge of the economic climate. This goes down about as well as you'd expect.

It does seem that Max has his finger on the pulse of the nation, though: work's all about the economic climate, too. Unsurprisingly, I suppose. I have no idea how to reassure worried constituents at the moment, anyway, but Vicky rolling her eyes at everything I say to them really isn't helping. I can't wait for Marie-Louise to come back to work.

By mid-afternoon, I'm wondering whether I can get away with unplugging the phones and blaming it on BT, when there's yet another call. It's Johnny.

"What on earth are you doing, calling me on this number?" I say. Very quietly. There are ears under all that straightened hair.

"What?" says Johnny. "Speak up, woman. There's no point in me phoning to hear your voice if you're going to whisper."

Oh, bloody hell. How does he expect me to have a conversation with him while Vicky is listening in? I decide that, if it's only my voice that he wants to hear, it won't much matter what I actually say, so I can pretend he's a constituent.

"Ah," I say. "So you're not happy with what Iain Duncan Smith has said about people needing to travel further to work?" (It's the best I can do off the top of my head.)

"What? What are you talking about? Of course I'm happy with it - I travel an entire bloody continent, you idiot," says Johnny.

His tone resembles a grumpy constituent's rather too convincingly for my liking. Not to mention that his job is hardly typical, is it? But I plough on regardless.

"Well, I see your point," I say. "Spending large amounts of money on travelling to work is all very well, if you have a full-time job. But all those poor people on zero or four-hour per week contracts, who get short notice of their shifts, or are sent home early, are indeed in a wholly different position."

"Molly, what the hell are you talking about?" says Johnny.

Honestly, sometimes even International Directors of Global Oil Companies are very slow to catch on. Vicky's still earwigging - so there's nothing for it but a two-pronged approach. I start typing an email to Johnny, while still talking to him.

"I will be happy to raise this with the Minister for Work and Pensions," I say. "I'll send you a copy of my letter, and we'll take it from there."

At the same time, I hit send, and my email saying: "Johnny, get OFF the phone!" is on its way.

"For God's sake," says Johnny. "Oh, hang on. Ah. I see. Well, I'm sorry to interrupt your vital work." Then he hangs up. Was that tone of voice really necessary?

I send another email:

"There's no need to be sarcastic."

Johnny's reply comes straight back:


Can someone please tell me the point of having an almost-lover who is just as annoying as one's husband?

*Article - here it is. I rest my case. I may even send a copy to a certain oil baron, and print a copy for Max.

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