Saturday, 31 May 2008

I So Hope This Is True

Another snippet from the office email.

An award should go to the Virgin Airlines desk attendant in Sydney some months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.

A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin's 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, 'I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS'.

The attendant replied, 'I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out.'

The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, 'DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?'

Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: 'May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please,' she began - her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.

'We have a passenger here at Desk 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Desk 14.'

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, 'F*ck You!'

Without flinching, she smiled and said, 'I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that too.

Don'cha you just love it?

Thursday, 29 May 2008

It's All In The Mind

Now where were we? Oh yes, I remember. I was having a right old moan about the chaos theory which is my life. I was having a rant about how things never seem to go right, how my to-do list never gets any smaller and how I just can't manage to make headway with anything. I took comfort and advice from your comments, although admittedly I did have a snorty little laugh at the suggestion that I should get rid of the list and stop worrying about all that was on it (if only), and it was really good to hear that I am not alone in the battle to get things done in the face of constant frustration.

One thing I did manage to do was book a holiday. Bearing in mind that husband wasn't due to jet back into the UK until the night before we were going away (great planning, nothing to do with me), things went surprisingly smoothly all things considered. I'd spent the previous three evenings getting a few things done - washing, ironing, selecting a jaunty capsule wardrobe (as you know, it's very important to me that I remain stylish at all times, obviously) and generally sifting and sorting so that everything was absolutely ready for the off when we'd packed the car in the morning. Husband arrived home at 1 a.m., delayed courtesy of some dodgy landing gear (the plane's, mercifully, not his), yawning and knackered with coffee breath, a suitcase full of dirty washing and a bottle of Cointreau. He showered, fell into bed and slept like a baby (a snoring, stubbly baby if truth be told) until 8 a.m. the next morning when up he sprang, fully energised and ready for the off. How does he do that? I of course, lay awake half the night worrying about what I might have forgotten, my own lack of sleep rendering me slug-like with tiredness until lunchtime.

This difference between us got me thinking. Husband had been up for eighteen hours, travelled hundreds of miles, hung around in various airport lounges whilst the ground staff buggered about with bits of plane, but still arrived markedly more zingy than me. In contrast, I had been colour co-ordinating holiday clothes at home, eating chocolate, emptying the fridge and doing a bit of light ironing, but was absolutely drained and wondering whether a few days away was really worth all the effort.

At the risk of using a bit of psycho-babble, I think the difference between us is all down to PMA - positive mental attitude. He's got it. In bucketfuls. I think I used to have it but lost it somewhere along the way. Perhaps it's down the back of the sofa. Or maybe I just let my PMA desert me while I worried about trivia and wore myself to a frazzle dashing round doing things that don't really matter in the overall scheme of things. I think I've been so busy looking at individual pixels, I've sort of failed to see the big, wide screen picture. So the holiday, despite getting off to a shaky start, gave me a lot of time to think and proved to me that sometimes you need to get away from everyday surroundings to see things in a totally different perspective and realise what really is important to you. It's good to give yourself time to sit and stare, and just re-prioritise. Sitting on the quay-side, gazing across the river, or looking at the fresh May greenery of the woodlands - all these things somehow made a mockery of my self-induced pressures and limits. So why worry about everything on that damned to-do list? It's now gone, I am list-less and loving it.

As husband so rightly (but irritatingly) says, about virtually any subject, "it'll either be OK, or it won't". This may sound like a statement of the blindingly obvious (and one which sometimes makes me want to sneak up behind him menacingly with a cast iron frying-pan) but actually this philosophy is probaby why he doesn't waste any mental energy on trivial worries. Which is a nice trick if you can do it.

I'm giving it a go.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Hi Honeys, I'm Home!

Sorry, I should really have left a note saying I was about to bugger off, but time ran away with me and I just didn't get round to it. Decided on the spur of the moment to get the hell out of Dallas (or Birmingham, strictly speaking, but Dallas sounds so much more cool)and go for a swift break for a few days to restore the old batteries, which are now well and truly fizzing. We've been down to Dartmouth for the Music Festival which, although a bit wet weather-wise, was still brilliant. There's nothing like wandering round the streets with an umbrella in one hand and a hot pasty or beer in the other to revive a weary woman's sense of fun. And then the sun came out. Fantastic.

Will be back to blog some more when I've unpacked, opened the mountain of mail and stuffed the washing machine. Hope you've all been good while I've been gone. I'll be checking later.

So, what have you been up to then?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Procrastination Is The Enemy Of Progress

Or is it "the thief of time"? Or something like that.

I'm having a devil of a job making any headway with anything and everything in my life at the moment. I've got a "to-do" list as long as a roll of Andrex loo paper, and absolutely nothing, repeat nothing, is getting crossed off it.

First of all, the kitchen. Why-oh-why did you let me even think about getting it refurbed? The whole thing's turning into a complete nightmare. First of all, various men came into the house, stomped through to the kitchen scattering bits of other people's building works hither and thither, looked at my ceiling or cupboards or floor or windows etc., sucked air in through their teeth whilst shaking plaster encrusted heads as if I'd asked them to reproduce the artworks of Leonardo da Vinci by Friday. Replace a kitchen? This year?? And replaster your ceiling??? Sharp intakes of breath all round. They will see what they can do. They will try to get an estimate to me in the post by the weekend at the latest.

And do they? Of course they bloody well don't. Either they don't like the look of my kitchen, or me (fair enough I suppose). Or maybe we just don't look daft enough to pay an obscene amount of money for bugger all. Whatever.

Secondly, holidays. Now I know I'm not exactly Judith Chalmers when it comes to travel, and I have been known to get pre-holiday jitters par excellence from time to time, but I reckon the only way to conquer this syndrome is to continuously expose myself to it, if you'll pardon the expression. But can I get husband to co-operate and actually help choose somewhere to go? No, I can't. He travels all year round and would probably be just as happy sitting in the back garden for a fortnight, but I don't really go anywhere much and want to see more of the world. As I am sure Oscar Wilde would have said if I'd asked him, "I fear doing nothing with my life more than I fear actually living it". There's a big world out there and I haven't seen nearly enough of it.

And then there are the zillions of tiny little things which I should do which I don't ever seem to get round to - filling in forms, checking accounts, getting some exercise, phoning the "dink" man to remove a dent where some swine opened their 4x4 door and dented the little grey sports car (bastard), chasing up the insurance company re the hole in the roof, choosing some tiles, going to bloody work, having a life, etc.,etc. And trying to write something worth reading, that would be good. And so on. Blah, blah, blah.

You know the sort of thing. How do you sort your life out when it seems to be full of clutter and trivia, you can't make any progress and you haven't got any time to do anything? I'm tempted to ignore it all and maybe, like cleaning, it'll become invisible and after a while the crap will just cease to be important.

And what's more, I can't even blog properly at the moment. Feel too distracted. How sad is that?

I really am becoming a moaner. Sorry.

And by the way, I have absolutely no idea how these rating stars got here (please tell me you can see them too). It's a complete mystery to me. Have been trying to remove them but can't, worried in case I get thousands of "hated it" votes.

Bloody hell, another thing to sort out.

Update: They've gone! Was it something I said?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Lip Service

Still busy, and uninspired at the moment, so hope you enjoy another office email. I did.

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington recently was faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the girls' lavatories. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the caretaker would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Several memos were posted about this. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the toilets and met them there with the caretaker.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the man who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the caretaker to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee,dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers, and then there are educators....