Casual Words

On occasions I confess to being overwhelmed by the number of words there are to choose from; I call it cognitive overload i.e. I’ve got too much on my mind and I can’t remember the word I would REALLY like to drop into the conversation about now! And then there are the occasions, like last Wednesday evening, when I should have paused for breath before speaking. I had gone to pick up a colleague (who has become a friend) and her husband opened the door. In all the years I’ve known said colleague I’d never actually met him or seen any evidence that the gentleman actually existed. I’m not saying I doubted his existence but we’d never clapped eyes on each other.

I had parked the car further down the street than necessary as I couldn’t see the house numbers in the driving evening rain. Consequently I had only taken one stick to the front door and was a tad wobbly coupled with having a full bladder. There seems to be something about the distance between Barry and Cardiff Bay but the ladies is invariably foremost on my mind when I arrive at my destination. This occasion was no different. So the events unfold like this. Door opened by husband and I say ‘hello’ followed rather too quickly by ‘so you do exist!’. He looks blankly at me a little stunned. At this point my colleague appears round the corner and I ask for directions to the loo post-haste! Brief conversation about whether I would prefer to go up or downstairs and I go downstairs as its nearest. The loo is combined with a shower and is entered through a sliding doo – this is an architect’s ‘great use of (limited) space’. For that read I can’t hardly squeeze myself in and have to turn sideways wiggling as I do!

When I go back into the lounge I apologise to my colleague’s husband saying ‘sorry that was awfully rude’ to which he responds ‘only a bit’! Oops I obviously have offended him without intending too. Humble pie is then eaten with a VERY large spoon as we discuss having the Guardian delivered to our respective Kindle’s. Noting that I miss the crossword he reaches for a book of (cryptic) crosswords and I am too embarrassed to say the quick version is my limit!

On the subject of ill-advised words I had a coffee with someone who had recently started on-line dating (purely as research for her degree you understand). The person in question is an attractive young woman and I have no doubt takes a gorgeous photo which will be enticing to the gentlemen using the site. I use the term ‘gentlemen’ loosely of course. The day after signing up she had received over 50 responses and is frankly appalled by how forward the tone of the emails is. I have already moved into big sister mode asking if she is being safe i.e. not giving out personal information etc etc. I shudder to think about how vulnerable she is and it’s a nasty world out there! One response stands out and she tells me what the email said and I quote ‘I’d sell my granny to the Taliban to get a date with you’. Talk about insensitive and inappropriate and a little too forward so soon in the correspondence. What the author of the email couldn’t possibly have known was that the young woman’s brother had just returned from Afghanistan. As a trainee journalist she politely responded to the point making it clear there would be no further contact! Go girl!

Imagine my amusement when I heard an interview about Angela Merkel where it was revealed that she has a great sense of humour and is not averse to sarcasm on occasions especially if she’s asked a question she considers ridiculous. I’m liking her more every day as the way she conducts herself around less able colleagues (some of whom are frighteningly in charge of European countries) is worthy of respect. Not afraid to say it like it is cited Observer today where she is quoted as saying she never thought our own Mr C was really on board vis-a-vis the recent negotiations. Hailing from the former East Germany Merkel is down to earth, pragmatic and apparently a bit of a homemaker (identifying one of her main achievements to be plum loaf). Multi-tasking on a continental scale is an enviable attribute. I’ll add Angela to my fantasy dinner party guest list along with Ms Lagarde (swoon) and Eddie Ladd the Welsh performance artist.

Eddie Ladd is someone I have admired for a long time; her insightful and incisive creative mind is brilliant. Augmenting technology and tradition to seamlessly craft articulate performance Ms Ladd is wonderful! Last weekend I saw her sing for the second time as part of Diamond Age with Janek Alexander. The gig restaged work from 1984 with lyrics resonate of the period and frightening currently at the same time. Eddie wore a masculine suit and tie ensemble straight out of the Specials; wow I very nearly fainted with the impact of her performance. Ms Ladd moved to the music quite mesmorisingly; once again I was entranced! Where pray is my fan I feel the need for fresh air…

Those piercing eyes … are simply to die for… any idea where I might learn to do this…would surely be good for business! Steely sophistication rather like Ms Lagarde in my humble opinion add in a dash of Ms Merkel and I feel a next First Minister coming along. If only our politicians had the gravitas these European Grande Dames have in sophisticated spades..

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