“Oooh, you look well!” She beams you a chirpy smile across the yard, halting you in your progress with the heavy load of rubbish for the bin. You force the pained grimace into more acceptable lines, unwilling to scare the nice old lady.
Why is it that you only ever hear those words when your hair is wild, you wear no make-up, you’ve had no more than three hours sleep and have just fallen down the stairs? When you have cursed the alarm clock that makes you crawl back upstairs to turn off its insistent clamour two hours after you reluctantly rose to start a day you could wish you had missed. When the bathroom scales say there are several alien pounds of flesh you were not, until this moment, acquainted with…and which have no call to have invoked squatting rights on your hips when the budgie eats more than you do. When, in fact, you feel that roadkill is probably more attractive and certainly has more life in it than you…
“It’s probably the extra weight…” says your boss, who is also your son and can, therefore, afford to
level such insults offer such consolation with impunity.
The little, white haired old lady who wouldn’t harm a fly is innocently putting you through a meat grinder as she squints short-sightedly at your face with all the intensity of a mosquito zeroing in on its supper.
“Have you been on holiday?” Visions of warm, white sand and the tang of Mediterranean salt are dredged from memory… No, that’s not a sun tan… that’s weathering from walking an all-too-energetic hound at stupid o’clock in all weathers. You listen with polite envy… even if a package holiday to a crowded resort-with-organised-activities-and-line-dancing is your idea of hell.
“Never mind,” says the evil and filial genius, “you’ll get a day off next week…” he omits the required 4am start the day before that means you’ll be a zombie through the day off….
“Have you hurt yourself?” she asks solicitously, looking at the splinted appendages. You mumble something incoherent while she recounts the horror story of her brother’s hip replacements and a friend’s amputation…
“Cheer up,” grins the boss. “It could be worse….”
When we’re out of coffee? I don’t think so….