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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Tell me what I want - what I really really want

Babies, according to a previously-respected project manager I work with.

I know, who would've thought it would be so easy, so typical, so - uncreative? All that existential angst so quickly resolved...

This exchange took place last week, at a work do - and to provide context, I should, I suppose, add that it was hot, we were all guzzling white wine like water (it was sooo cold - yummmm), and said lecture took place after the sambuca and tequila shots had been cleared away.

Personally, I feel context makes no difference. We are us, when we are drunk, perhaps even more so. We are responsible for what we say and do. I resent that all my skill, talent, and bloody hard work has been reduced down to some stupid cliche. Again.

I probably should have just laughed at him. Or ignored him. But I really had respected this guy - so I tried to explain. I know, I know, but I am incurably over-optimistic (and I was not-quite-sober myself).

You don't need me to tell you my explanation fell on sodden ears.

I'm bummed out, but also angry. Bummed out, because I really want to think things are getting better, that the increase in women in the workforce is changing old perceptions, and that intelligence and hard work might actually mean something (I KNOW already - please - leave me my illusions!) and angry because - HOW DARE HE?

I cannot imagine being so personal with a colleague - I mean, it so happens that I am just-not-that-into the whole reproductive thing, for many reasons, but what if I wanted *babies* but was sterile? Or desperatly looking for someone to provide sperm? I mean, he doesn't know, does he? (oh dear - you don't suppose that was where that lecture was heading, do you? urg)

And the whole background assumption that I could not possibly be fulfilled without breeding. Not by my career (mind - this was at a work event where we were attending as fellow *ahem* equal professionals), my partner, my life as a female. Which is the crux of it - men my age do not get these lectures (I've been doing straw polls and mostly they laugh because the idea is so ludicrous).

And that I would need SOME MAN to tell me this. Which also begs the assumption that I must be very very stupid not to have figured it out myself. Misguided, I bet he would say. But hey, you know what women are like!

See? I'm still really pissed off about this one. It's simmering. I still have to work with this guy.

"Is it always like this?" *

asked a nice American woman above the din on the tube this afternoon as we were detoured, herded, assembled and packed into airless - well, tubes, of course - once it became apparent that the circle line had somehow vanished.

ahh London in the summer, so sublime (beer gardens, cricket, Pimms) yet so wretched (everything else). Even the dog doesn't want to do anything today. He's just moping around before he flops listlessly onto the floor, quietly groaning and looking reproachfully at us.

I'm reading Dispatches by Michael Herr - his book of his experiences in Vietnam in the war. Amazing writing. I keep having to go back and read bits again - he makes every word count. Somehow the humidity and stink of London provides fitting atmosphere, and makes me think about what must be going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* yes, pretty much

Monday, 28 July 2008

Those Prickly Canadians

We are listening to Disc Drive on CBC this evening, as we do, via the nostalgia-is-just-a-bandwidth-away beauty of live streaming. The hourly news comes on. We do our involuntary start at how strong Canadian accents really are without 12 years of London to smooth the edges, and continue our activities (me: catching up on the day - aka mindlessly surfing; N: communing with our dog Humphrey via ear scritches and happy sighs). We are sort-of listening, until we hear a shockingly enthusiastic Canadian male (I keep forgetting how peppy your average Canuck is) detailing the new security measures around a previously-vandalised statue of Terry Fox.

Razer wire, perhaps? CCTV? Armed Response? Motion sensor lights? Guard dogs?

Nope.

Prickly plants.

ahhh bless.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Dispatches from Holiday 1

The weather gods (I would love to think they were goddesses, but lets face it, its unlikely, hum? I mean honestly, tornadoes?) have smiled upon me in my first few days of holiday, possibly only to remind me how lovely sunshine is before they pelt me with a fortnight of rain, but whatever. I'll take it. It was a balmy 28 Celsius, and we hopped on the bikes and rode up to the sea, stopping in a lovely pub with a huge tree in the garden providing much needed shade, and a cherry orchard where we bought sweet cherries for wine making. The woman at the orchard, when hearing our explanation for buying so many cherries (8 pounds???!) invited us back in a few weeks to pick wine cherries which would be ripe then. I think she means sour cherries, which would make great wine. She also mentioned they made a mean cherry brandy, the very thought of which gets me salivating.

The tide was out, and we squelched through the mud flats out to the water, which was nice in itself. There is something about mud in toes that is strangely comforting. Then back to the pub by the beach where we left our bikes to drink a fortifying pint before setting off back home. Us, not the bikes.

Once home, we fed our very enthusiastic dog (I thought you were NEVER coming back! Ever again! Woe is me for I am STARVING!!!) then lit the bbq for a protracted late afternoon/evening of snacking on bruschetta and halumi, joined by our neighbour, the lovely K.

I wasn't kidding about the rain - it really is forecast, but I'm sanguine. I enjoy puddle hopping almost as much as mud squelching.

As far as thinking, so far I haven't progressed much past "oh my god, shouldn't I be at work?" which is a bit depressing. I seem to have been assimilated. However, tomorrow is a long and languid lunch at our favourite restaurant to celebrate N's b-day, so that should knock some cobwebs out!