Saturday, April 12, 2008

The man

It's a Friday night. A night usually reserved for dates, getting wasted with your colleagues at the subsidised company pub, talking in tongues with an attractive stranger, falling into bed at 3am with your makeup on, and many other such scenarios that usually involve large amounts of alcohol and an element of personal risk. Which is what life's about right? Then there comes a time where at 10pm on a Friday you find yourself sitting on the edge of your bed in your sensible pyjamas, horribly sober, makeup meticulously removed, applying E45 foot and heel cream, and wondering where it all went wrong.

We went house hunting south of the river today. As soon as we parked on a particularly leafy street in Kew, I started to feel anxiety rise up through my body, settling in my chest. I don't know what it is. Perhaps I've lived in central London too long - but if there aren't ten police and ambulance sirens within five minutes, a heroin addict trying to hustle me for money, horrendous traffic - both human and vehicular, and a vague smell of vomit on the streets, I get antsy.

This place was far too clean, quiet, and, unbelievably, filled with bird song. Not a jack hammer in earshot. I mean who can take all that fresh air and peace and quiet? It worried me.

Certainly un unfair thing happens when you have a child - your priorities are expected to change. No longer are you permitted to look for a place based on it's proximity to an Odd Bins, cheap mini cab firm, or an all night kebab shop. Noooo, now you're supposed to want stuff like a reasonable sized garden, being close to decent schools and the local park, and well away from any reputable strip clubs.

I'm not sure when this move thing is going to happen. We're thinking of hiring one of those companies who work for you, the buyer, and go out and do all the hard work. Read: bugger around looking at all those 'charming' houses estate agents try to palm off on you that have absolutely zero of your specified requirements, and exist on a disused fork of the District Line.

I want a company that basically does all the research for us and short lists places with a nicely typed accompanying Powerpoint presentation of what's what in the area: Local schools, shops, doctor's surgeries, the whereabouts of resident teenage gangs etc. The important stuff. Oh yes, and a Starbucks. There has to be a Starbucks.

I had an Ocado delivery this week. I started unpacking the fridge stuff as the delivery guy brought things into the kitchen. Noticing all the microwave and 'Easy to cook' meals, he looked at me with a condescending smile and said, 'Oh, microwave eh? Radioactive eh? And proceeded to tell me that Ocado do this wonderful organic vegetable box - 'Seasonal you see, so you never know what you're going to get. Makes life interesting it does. And you can make soups, stews - experiment. Good for you, good for the baby. Life's all about trying new things.'

What is it with me? I never get the strong silent delivery man. No, I get the philosopher king who wears a woollen beanie and probably meditates on his allotment. He mostly likely delivers groceries because it's a more honest form of making a living than prostituting his mind to the man.

OK, so basically I'm sore about the fact that he called me up on the ready meals. I tried telling him it was because I had a baby and finding time to cook from scratch was tough, but he didn't buy it. He looked at me and his face read: You are poisoning your body and thereby your baby too. Or at least in my insecure projecting state of mind that's how I read it.

Today I redeemed myself by using the 'oven cook' option to prepare our risotto with spinach, cheese, and pancetta. It meant a excruciating 25-30 minute wait, as opposed to the usual 5 minutes in the microwave. But feeling residual guilt, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

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