A Lesson In Holiness

He Who Brings The Coffee has a new pair of jeans. They’re this sort: jeans.jpg

   You know, the ones with the holes in them. May I remind you of the fact that I haven’t got an ounce of discernment in me when it comes to differentiating between something that’s the height of fashion and something that your granda would wear.

“D’you like my new jeans?” asked He Who Brings The Coffee, striking a little catwalk pose. I looked nervously at them, the usual feeling of dread setting in. The options were: (a) he’d got a new pair of super-trendy jeans and was genuinely very proud of them, or (b) he was planning on doing some gardening and was therefore wearing an old, scruffy pair of jeans and taking a hand out of me. Either one of these could very possibly be true, as far as I was concerned. Hence my dilemma. If I said “Yeah, they’re lovely, where did you get them?” and Situation (b) turned out to be the case, he would roar with laughter. If I said “Those have seen better days, haven’t they?” and Situation (a) turned out to be true, he would be horribly offended.

Either way, there would be no doubt that I am thick as champ when it comes to clothing-related issues. My palms sweating, I decided to go for secret answer (c), the say-what-you see option. “They have holes in them,” I said quite simply.

He looked impatiently at me, and I panicked. Now desperate, I took a stab in the dark. “They’re… really cool.”

He looked pleased, and wandered off. I slumped over my desk, feeling drained. “Zed,” I asked carefully, as she approached me with an amused grin on her face, “Are those new jeans or old jeans?”. She patted my arm reassuringly. “You got it right, pet.”

Relief. Pure, unadulterated relief. People need to please stop asking me what I think about their clothes. Chances are, the answer will be “I don’t!”.

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Is This What It’s Like For Normal People?

This morning, I woke up at 7am.

I did not oversleep, and the alarm did not fail to go off, nor did it scare me by playing an unexpectedly loud tune.

I showered and dressed. The cat did not trip me up, attack me or do anything vaguely entertaining.

I had breakfast. My porridge did not explode, and I did not choke on anything.

I had a cup of coffee and read Hebrews Chapter One. I had no blinding revelations, and I did not lose track of time in what would have been an amusing last-minute panic to get to work.

I drove to work. My car windscreen was not frozen over, the traffic was not a nightmare, and nobody cut me up causing me to lose my temper in a comical manner.

I arrived at work on time. I did not see a horse, have any misunderstandings or arguments with my boss, or overhear any surreal conversations.

So far, nothing has gone wrong, nobody has phoned to shout at me or sell me something, and everything is very calm.

It’s all very well, this lasting (and quite frankly, boring) serenity. But what’s a girl to blog about?

I’m bored.

Inspired By You (#8)

The Housemate suggested:  A great topic would be how wonderfully you and TH are getting along. And how you never want her to leave… ;) and how you have Kat back because TH brought another cat into the house and now Kat hates her. A lot.

So, TH has now been residing in Casa de Hails for about a month and a half, and we haven’t killed each other yet. It has, as I suspected, been quite odd having someone else in the house – but I think it’s good for me. Forces me to consider someone other than myself for a change. Also, it’s fun having someone to sit up late with, having deep theological discussions and also learning how to say “butt” in a Nashvillean accent.

The Kat issue could have put an end to the Happy Housemates situation, of course, as I am a jealous girl who does not take kindly to finding her beloved in bed with another woman. Happily, TH resolved that little difficulty all by herself, when she decided it would be a good idea to bring me a thoughtful gift. You can sense the sarcasm, here, and I want to make it clear that it is not directed towards the thoughtful gift (anyone, anytime… feel free) but the fact that the gift turned out to be a small and rather boisterous kitten. I still bear the scars. Quite literally – Kat flipped out and scratched the hell out of me.

We were sitting quietly in the living room, Kat and I, just minding our own business, curled up on the sofa, maybe enjoying a little light conversation, as we are known to do of a Saturday evening. Enter TH and a six-inch tall kitten. Scamper scamper scamper went the kitten, lolloping playfully across the floor. Kat shot off the sofa in terror and hid behind it. Moments later, her head appeared around the side of it, and she began to growl. Actually growl. I didn’t know cats did that. Not that there was much time to reflect upon this new discovery, for Kat suddenly pounced on the kitten, which hissed and spat in a manner that suggested it thought itself to be much bigger and more fearsome than it actually was. Much growling, scratching, howling and scuffling ensued, and, fearing a murder was about to take place in my own home, I dived in to extract the kitten from the scrum. TH helped in her own special way (sitting on an armchair with her legs pulled up out of claw’s reach and her head in her hands, squealing and trembling).

Blood everywhere. All of it mine.

“Give Kat some time,” suggested TH. And so we supervised the agitated Feline Housemates all evening. Kitten scampered a lot and Kat growled constantly, looking completely insane and sounding a bit demonic. At breakfast the next morning, I watched helplessly as TH cooed over the kitten, the kitten got its head stuck most endearingly in the back of a kitchen chair, and Kat sat on the stairs and growled. “I think,” I said quietly, feeling like a parent telling her child that the dog has gone away to live on a big farm forever and ever, “I think we have to return the kitten.”

“Awwww!” said TH, looking crestfallen. “Are you sure?”

I leapt off my seat to rescue the brave but completely witless kitten, who had wandered over to tease Kat and was subsequently being torn to shreds, accompanied by much howling and hissing. “Yes,” I panted as I emerged with a rather traumatised kitten, my face white, my arms covered in deep scratches, and my hands dripping blood, “I really don’t think this is working, do you?”

She couldn’t really argue with the blood. We returned the kitten (there was no need to explain why; the guy took one look at my face, arms and hands and said “Oh right,” and that was that) and purchased some Dettol on our way back. Kat spent the rest of the day glaring furiously at TH, and has not betrayed me by going to sleep in her bed ever since.

And we all lived happily ever after.

The Incredible Surviving Door

Long-time readers will recall that I had to get a replacement back door for Rio the Clio back in May, following an unfortunate incident with Mrs. C’s gatepost. Well, incredibly, I almost wrecked the same door last night. I am thankful for the fact that this time, I am able to use the word ‘almost’. I am also amused at how utterly ridiculous the story would have been if I’d had to explain to the car-fixer-people how I’d destroyed another door.

Parked at the side of the road in Ahoghill, the neighbours and I returned to my car to make the journey home. There was a lot going on – I was talking to Joy, who was returning to her own car, I was waving at Red, who was walking down the street, and I was checking that all four interns had deposited themselves safely in my car, with all doors closed. Which they had, although there was a lot of general Loudness which I was casually blocking from my mind due to the other activities with which I was preoccupied. With a final wave to Red, a shouted farewell to Joy, and a glance in the wing mirror to check that the road was clear, I indicated and pulled out from behind another parked car.

Screams of horror and disbelief filled the air. Wait, wait, what are you DOING?! – NO! – The door, the door! – Dirk! – Stop, STOP! – I panicked, braked, swerved, and squealed all at the same time, completely clueless as to the reason for the uproar. Glancing behind me, I saw Jay practically hanging out of the car, grabbing the previously closed door and pulling it shut. The car came to a standstill in the middle of the road and I sat there in a state of dazed confusion.

“Where,” I said through gritted teeth after taking a deep breath, “is Dirk?”

E1 was sitting beside me with her head in her hands. “He got out of the car.”

“Why,” I said with forced calmness, “did he get out of the car?”

“To fart,” she replied in a quietly despairing voice.

Jay leaned forward from the back seat. “Dude, you almost tore your door off!” he informed me quite unnecessarily.

My nerves thoroughly shot, I pulled over to the side of the road, several metres away from where I’d originally parked. Dirk was nowhere to be seen. In the end I got out and walked back, where I found him forlornly sitting on a wall at the last spot where he’d seen my car. “Where did you go?” he asked sadly, looking as impossibly innocent as only he can do. “I thought you’d left me here.”

I have learned my lesson. Always pay attention to the general Loudness. Sometimes it can mean someone has left the vehicle at the request of other passengers with sensitive noses.

Or maybe that sort of thing only happens when you keep the sort of company I do.

Where Do You Blog?

Over at Is It Just Me? we’re being asked to reveal our surroundings to the blogging world. Where do you blog?

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I blog in the kitchen. What about you? I don’t usually take part in these meme things, but this one’s quite interesting – there’s something weirdly intriguing about seeing where someone’s sitting as they’re writing the material you read on a daily basis. Anyway, the request is this: take a photo of your blogspace, then hop over to the original post and leave a comment with a link to your photo.

Stalkers of the world, unite!

British Telecon

There’s some sort of scam going on out there in the telesales world. This may not be the most blinding revelation that anyone has ever experienced, but allow me to express my disgust (and extreme bewilderment).

Now, as someone who answers the phone all day, every day, I’ve obviously heard every sales tactic in the book. You’ve got the phone people from India or somewhere, you know, where there’s a time delay of about 4 seconds between you saying hello and the distant click that precedes them replying “Uhhh… ‘ello? Am I speaking vith thee pairson who pays thee tillyphone beels?”. I have learned to hang up before the click, so that technically I’m not hanging up on them, because as far as I’m aware there’s actually no one on the other end of the line.  Crafty, eh?

Then there’s Mr./Ms. Enthusiastic, usually with an extremely grating Geordie or Manchunian accent, who nearly bursts your eardrums in their extreme excitement about what inevitably turns out to be toner or a Sage upgrade, in the hope that their joy will be infectious. Also worthy of a mention is Bored Salesperson, who is not as disinterested as you might assume. He/she will come on the line and talk for five solid minutes without once taking a breath, asking you a question, or changing their tone of voice. The idea is that by the time they eventually pause, you’ll have lost the will to live, and will be so desperate to get rid of them that you’ll agree to buy 80 rolls of toilet roll and several hundred bin liners from them just to shut them up. It’s extremely difficult to make your first words “Sorry, I’m not interested” when, quite clearly, neither are they.

However, this latest one is incredible, and stands apart from the rest by its sheer audacity and outright deceit. They get a couple of different people to call you, right? The first is another Mr./Ms. Enthusiastic, who knows you by name and sees you as a close personal friend.

“Hello, Hayley?” “Yes.” “Hayley, HI!! It’s Claire, here, you know, from Company X, we spoke last month – remember?” “Uh…” “HI! Gosh, it’s great to speak to you again, how’ve you been doing, alright?” “Uh…”  “You guys are probably still really busy there, aren’t you?” “Uh…”  “Yeah, I won’t keep you long, it’s mental here, too. Plus I’ve got the mother of all headaches, one of the guys here left this week and we had a MAD party for him last night, I think I went a bit overboard on the old vodka, you know how it is, HAHAHAHAHA, anyway, I owe you an apology – I am sooooooooo sorry Hayley, but you know how you agreed to do that ad in Fake Publication Y, and I promised I’d send out the copy and all the details, with the invoice, well, I’m honestly so, so sorry but I totally forgot all about it! I went away on holiday the next day, and when I came back it just totally slipped my mind, and I’ve just come across my own memo and I can’t believe it! I’m so sorry! My boss will kill me if he finds out. But, look, I swear I’ll get it off to you today in the post, will that be OK?” “Uh… OK…” “…I promise I’ll get it sent right now, I’m so sorry for the delay, it’s totally my fault. Thanks for being so good about it, I’ll get my colleague to give you a follow-up call to confirm all your details and so on, is that OK?” “Uh… yeah…” “…and we’ll get it moving ASAP. Thanks ever so much, Hayley, you’re a star!! Sorry again. Talk to you soon! Bye!” “Uh…. bye.”

Dazed and confused, I try to continue with my work as the sneaking suspicion that I’ve somehow been ‘had’ creeps into my frazzled mind. Kate and Zed throw me occasional concerned glances, but evidently decide to let me work things out in my own head. The phone rings.

“Hi, Hayley? Paul here from Company X. You were just talking to my colleague, Claire, about your order?” “Uh… yes…” “Won’t keep you a moment, just ringing to confirm your details…”

He goes off on a very efficient-sounding checklist of company details, and I helplessly confirm them, because everything he’s saying is in fact true. And yet, somewhere in the midst of it all, there is the vague, unspoken and ominous understanding that I have Agreed To Something. But now it’s too late for me to say “What are you talking about?” without sounding like a complete and utter nitwit.

Honestly. You hang up and your head is spinning, as you wonder what on earth has just taken place. “Did I agree to something ages ago?” you find yourself wondering, even though you know perfectly well that there’s no way you would’ve. Doubting yourself. Doubting your own memory. Doubting reality.

So you see, they have found the perfect scam for me. Confusion: it’s the way forward in sales tactics.

The Usual Suspect

“Goshdarnit! Something has gone wrong with our servers. It’s probably Matt’s fault. We’ve just been notified of the problem. Hopefully this should be fixed ASAP, so kindly reload in a minute and things should be back to normal.

Tried to get on to my blog just now and was greeted by this message. It made me giggle. Poor Matt. I identify with him, and feel that we should have a similar message at my workplace, to be sent out to customers at regular intervals:

“Oops! Something has gone wrong with your order. It’s probably Hayley’s fault. We think she’s bored, but nobody will take her off our hands. Kindly check back in another month or two, and until then, don’t judge us.