Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Significance Of Talking To Someone Low-Paid As If They Were A Husky.

God, my tooth hurts. I can hardly think straight - and I can't even afford to go to the dentist. Why isn't NHS dentistry free at the point of delivery, like every other form of treatment? I can never understand it.

"It won't just be dentists that we'll have to pay to see soon," says Max, in a doom-laden voice. "What with these bloody NHS reforms. Do they think we're stupid?"

"Um," I say - which is about all I'm capable of, given the pain caused by moving my jaw. Not that I'm talking to Max anyway, given the petrol fiasco.

"Do the Tories really think we've forgotten what they did to the NHS last time? It's like the bloody 80s all over again," he says.

Then he glowers at the TV, and changes channel.

"I've had enough of the news," he says. "It's not as if it's ever good these days."

"I've had enough of my job too," says Josh, as he comes into the room. "And I bloody hate the general public."

I know exactly what he means but, as he's only just started working, I probably shouldn't encourage him. Even if that does mean saying a full sentence. I am a responsible parent, after all.

"That's a bit strong, Josh," I say. "What's happened to make you feel like that?"

"Where do you want me to start?"

Josh sighs even more loudly than Max does when I moan about the amount of TV we watch, and then goes on to explain that he had to serve a really unpleasant man just before his shift finished.

Apparently the guy wanted seven ice-creams, one for each of his five children -  or snotty nosed kids, as Josh puts it  - and two more for himself and his wife.

"Well, that doesn't sound too bad," I say. "Seeing as most of the profits in cinemas are made from over-priced food and drink, aren't they?"

"Yeah," says Josh. "But he'd left it 'til about a minute before the film started, and the ice cream was frozen so hard it was almost impossible to get out. So there I am, struggling to do it as fast as I can, when the scoop breaks. You won't believe what he said to me then."

Max and I both look curious, one of us far more convincingly than the other.

"Mush," says Josh. "Mush! As if I was a bloody dog."

"Rude bugger. He sounds a right chav to me," says Max, who's genuinely paying attention now. "Though I don't know how anyone can afford to go to the cinema these days, let alone buy seven ice-creams while they're at it."

"And cokes," says Josh. "Large ones. But he wasn't short of money, Dad. He was loaded. He pulled a great wad of notes out of his pocket and made a big deal of unfolding it in front of me, while muttering 'pay peanuts, get monkeys.'"

Oh, dear God, Max is right, isn't he? Only nine months since we got a Tory government and we're already back in Thatcher's 1980s. Max looks at me and says,

"You thinking what I'm thinking, Mol?"

"Um," I say. "Loadsamoney."

*Loadsamoney: if you're lucky enough to have been too young to live through the 80s, then here's an explanation of Harry Enfield's plasterer. I may suggest Josh considers learning a trade, once I can speak properly again. I have a feeling it would be much more useful than Film Studies, and probably more lucrative too.

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