Posts Tagged ‘outrage’

Sitting outside a cafe the other day, enjoying the sunshine, my husband and I watched a chap attempting to parallel park his rather smart car. He made a total hash of it, managing to scrape both wheels along the kerb in the process. He leapt from his vehicle in a state of abject panic, crawled along the pavement, handkerchief in hand and frantically rubbed at the scuffs now apparent on his now not so gleaming alloys. Husband, who also drives a rather smart car, smirked and proceeded to tell me that on meeting a colleague in their office car park recently, the colleague remarked, on noticing husband’s scratched wheel trims:

“I see your wife has been driving the car, then.”

My response to this was not one of outrage, as you may expect. I calmly asked if he had put his colleague straight on this minor detail. Husband shrugged nonchalantly and continued smirking because he knows that I know that he concedes that I am a much better parallel parker than he is. He just won’t admit it. And if it helps him to save face with his co-worker, then who am I to care? – I’m never likely to meet the idiot. The fact that my parallel parking skills were honed because of the demolition of a low ornamental wall while parking nose-in-first during my early driving days is neither here nor there: we all have our flaws.

Husband also knows that I will get him back for this in some shape or form eventually: it’s part of our ongoing battle of wits – the trick is not to get reeled in.

Nevertheless, this got me wondering if I have ever been truly outraged by anything, and of course the answer is yes. Frequently, as it happens, but there is one episode which for some reason, sticks in my head. I’m not usually one to bear a grudge, especially one that lasts for over twenty years but I think you might agree that this one takes the biscuit. Picture if you will, the following scenario:

I was on maternity leave from the way I then earned my living with my louder-than-any one-else’s-wailing-infant in tow.  Son and I had been invited to one of those new mother-baby coffee mornings where you all sit round discussing horrendous birth details, comparing your off-spring’s developmental rate and competing over how much you paid for the Osh Kosh dungarees you squeezed your child into that morning. (Well, we do live in Surrey).

I was taken aback when asked by an immaculately turned out new mother (no sick stains anywhere in sight, brushed hair, clothes that matched – that sort of thing), what my husband did for a living.

I don’t think my out has ever been more raged. In that moment I understood what had compelled Jane Austen to write all those dreary books.

I had never met this woman before and after her opening gambit I rather hoped I’d never meet her again. Annoyingly, due to a severe lack of sleep (which carried on for at least five years), I was unable to come up instantly with a suitably crushing reply, mumbled something about him being in building, and left it at that. Unfortunately for me he works in an area of building where to know one end of a screwdriver from another isn’t a requirement; neither is the ability to put up a set of shelves unless accompanied by a lot of unnecessary swearing and several trips to the DIY store. (With reference to my first paragraph, I think that’s one-all).

However, there is a sequel to that ghastly coffee morning. I did meet four other Mums with whom I hit an instant rapport and who, like me, vowed to never attend another morning like the one we had just suffered. We set up our own independent, exclusive group and met up regularly while our boys and one girl were small, planning outings to the park, picnics in our gardens, celebrating the birthdays as they rolled by. Our infants, now in their early twenties, have all gone their separate and very different ways but still meet up once or twice a year to catch up with each other.  And as for their mothers – well, we all met up recently, as we have done for years – and do you know what? I still only have a vague idea about what any of their husbands do for a living.

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