Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Things I Have Learnt This Week

1. Inflation is a dirty word.
Now possibly I missed the lesson in General Studies at school that explained the British economy in a nutshell, as I did with telling the time in French. I was pulling a spectacular sickie to avoid a Chemistry test and coincidentally shot myself in the foot with regard to ever being able to tell the time whilst in France. Fortunately I can still manage to direct myself to and from Charles De Gaulle airport to Monsieur Bertillon's house in an emergency, so all is not lost.
Anyway, I don't get it. The vagaries of inflation and interest rates are to me what class and decorum are to Kerry Katona. It's no good. I've had it explained to me more times than I care to remember, and still it's as clear as mud. I've long since consigned it to the list of Things I'll Never Understand, along with cricket, Poker, and cats' mood swings.

2. Men learn the art of deception at a very young age.
A stark illustration of this concept was shown to me today. As I watched my 16 month-old son inverting himself on the kitchen floor in a slightly alarming example of the well-known yoga position 'Upside Down Delinquent Crab', whilst emitting the noise of an industrial-strength fire alarm because I wouldn't let him have the pack of chocolate mini rolls he'd just found in the cupboard, I was reminded of the lady at nursery who'd remarked, less than an hour previously as I picked The Ginger Prince up, 'We can't wait to have him in our 2nd year class - he's so placid, isn't he?'

3. However blonde I am, my friend Jade will always beat me hands down.
This evening she is juggling with the problem of having sold a pasta maker to a lady from West Yorkshire, who is on her considerable way across the Pennines to collect said machine from Liverpool as we speak. Not, in itself, a problem, if it were not for the fact that Jade has just realised she sold the pasta maker over six months ago to someone else whilst she was pregnant.
I add the fact that she was pregnant since obviously it's a well-known fact that women can be a little forgetful when they're about to push an elephant through the eye of a needle. In Jade's case, however, it's a fairly terminal condition. I can list, without any sort of cerebral effort: the time she left her grill on for 3 weeks while we were in Australia, and couldn't remove the twist-off petrol cap from the motor home because she was pulling it; and the time she arrived at Silverstone race track ready for a day of work team-building, only to find everybody else was waiting at Brands Hatch.
I love you, Miss Jade, you're ace. Although if that pasta woman's arrived, it could be RIP, Miss Jade....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sod's Law

It occurs to me, on this cold, dank January afternoon, that aside from the law of gravity, and the law of offside (although I'm convinced this law is mere mythology - every person you ask gives you a different version of it), the law that plays the most important part in our day-to-day lives is Sod's Law. Alanis Morrisette wrote a song about it - a complete arse, those black flies in your Chardonnay. And even the 'unsinkable' Titanic fell foul of Sod's Law. Imagine finding the only thing in a huge chilly ocean likely to rip a hole in your nice shiny new boat...a ruddy great iceberg. What are the chances??

Sod's Law decrees that when you prise your way into your car of a dark, icy, mid-winter morning, after grating your fingers getting the ice off the doors and virtually gassing yourself with the anti-freeze, the first thing you hear when you turn the ignition on (aside from the asthmatic mutterings of the engine) is an advert for some far-flung exotic holiday on the radio.

Sod's Law also says that the shortest queue for anything is always the slowest. Always. This law is carved somewhere on a boulder at Stonehenge, it's so ancient. Queueing at check-in? Quick, get behind this tiny queue with just a couple of old people in it. Then stand there for light years as they shuffle over to the desk with a suitcase that seems to be rammed with some kind of heavy furniture for a two-week stay in Tenerife, and is twice the normal baggage allowance. Listen with disbelief to their conversation with the delightful easyjet lady, who is shouting and using her limited knowledge of signing, because they are tone deaf. To change queue or not? Change queue. Now find yourself behind a shouty family of fifteen from Liverpool, none of whom is claiming responsibility for the fact that they haven't got a passport between them.

Queueing to pay at the petrol station? Pick the shortest queue behind the nice lady without a basket full of grocery shopping (remember when petrol stations used to be manned by mechanics? You could buy fuel. And that was it. Genius, no?). And yet, find that she's being served by the delightfully camp but desperately slow man who looks like Joshua Rosenberg, the BBC news reporter with the unfortunate lithp. Er, lisp.

He asks her how her son is, tuts at the price of nappies (I wouldn't worry about it, there'll be an effing sale on by the time you've finished scanning them through), and debates the wisdom of altering daylight saving time (well, it was light when I came in...). Meanwhile, you're turning a virulent shade of scarlet, and wishing you'd gone, for the first time in your life, for the pasty-looking silent teen goth on the next till.

Queueing at the bar? Here's a near-space between the rows and rows of people waiting. You get your little finger actually touching the bar, which is practically as good as being served, no? No. The woman next to you has a cleavage that could swallow whole streets, and after being served within milliseconds of getting to the bar, she is now ordering a round for 27 people.

I could go on. But I won't. I'm watching my cheese on toast under the grill, and Sod's Law says if I take my eye of it for one single second, that'll be the window in Time where the temperature of the cheese reaches ignition point, the grill explodes and my whole house burns down. Sod's Law, you see?