Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Second Sex?

Have you ever wondered why it is that in many public places the Ladies bathroom does double duty as the Disabled toilet? I can understand why the bathrooms have to be combined when it's a small concern, for example the café where Big Man and I frequently go for Sunday brunch - just a little one-woman concern that has complied with access regulations by providing facilities for wheelchair users. But why lump them in with the Ladies toilets? It can't be for reasons of space since I imagine a urinal takes up no more extra floor space than a wall-hung hand drier. Could it be that it's expedient for civic planners to combine two disadvantaged groups of people together? Has anyone noticed a joint Men/Disabled loo recently?

pic from here


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Weird Science

Today we had a visit from a company that specialises in showing animals to old people in care homes. They have visited here before and this time I'd asked for some unusual animals. We were hoping for a meerkat but were willing to settle for a chinchilla or a parrot. When the very nice girl-animal wrangler arrived she told me that she was sorry, she didn't have a chinchilla and wasn't quite sure why we'd been offered one. Plus the parrot was two now and had started kicking off so she'd left it at home (we would've liked that! It would have woken my sleepy residents up a little!). 'Do you have a meerkat then?' I asked, ever hopeful. 'Oh no!' she chuckled, 'they're really difficult to look after!'
The science bit was looking less weird with every passing minute.

In the upstairs lounge only four out of twelve residents were awake and ready to greet the animals who, it transpired were exactly the same ones as we saw last time.....a fat guinea pig, a lopless big rabbit and apparently a hairless creature, the species of which none of the residents were quite sure of when I quizzed them later (I wasn't able to stay for the whole show). I was sitting beside one of the residents, an old Scots lady called Mhairi whilst she was petting the rabbit and she asked the animal-girl a question in quite a soft voice. After asking her to repeat the question three times and still not catching what Mhairi said, Animal-Girl turned helplessly to me. 'What are you saying Mhairi' I said to her, having only caught the word 'mother'.

'Is its mother a dog?' was what she was trying to ascertain. Phew! Weirdness resumes!!!

Pic from here

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Hello, I'm Resting Bitch Face

resting bitch face  a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.

High up on the list of 'people who annoy me' (ie. most of the people I meet) are those, almost always men, who try to get a laugh by saying insulting things about you, belittling you. By this I mean they will say something quite personal about you in order to a) make themselves look clever and b) make you look stupid. These men are normally attempting to cover up their own inadequacy and I would imagine, tiny appendages. Most times this would make me feel ridiculous and small - it happened fairly frequently in my barmaiding days, normally when I'd refused to serve someone who had clearly had a skinful - especially because I knew that if I answered back, or replied in kind, it would incite the man to be really mean and personal. And who needs that when they're just trying to earn a few quid? Sometimes though you just have to call people out on their behaviour, if only to stop them from doing it to younguns who are not quite so confident. Because it's a form of bullying really, don't you think?

We have a resident whose previous carer comes to visit him a couple times a week - let's call this ex-carer fellow Geoff, shall we? He's maybe my age; a real Sotonion (calls people 'mush') and clearly doesn't have a job or he couldn't come to our place during the day like he does (that's conjecture on my part though since I haven't cared enough to ask him). I've chatted with him briefly but no deep meaningful conversations; thought he seemed okay and he seems fond enough of the resident he comes to visit. So far so good. A month or so ago I was serving out the lunch to the residents and I had my phone on playing music, singing along, when Geoff, who was sitting at the dining table with his friend called over 'don't give up the day job Keshling'. Now I don't claim to be Shirley Bassey but I know I can sing a bit so how rude is that? Uncalled for, personal rudeness. I confess I was taken aback, I mean, who asked him? Why comment at all? On that occasion I said nothing and let it ride, however other than saying hello I haven't spoken to him since.
Today I came out of the lift to walk to my office, maybe ten steps. Just walking, carrying some photocopying, minding my own business. Geoff was sitting outside the lift beside his resident; there were a couple of other residents there plus one resident's wife, a woman whose face is permanently etched with the expression of someone who has a lemon rammed up her arse and the demeanour to go with it (more of her another time). Geoff piped up 'cheer up Keshling, you've got a face like thunder' (obviously the aforementioned resting bitch face since I was neither happy nor sad, merely looking forward to a little sit down) and I decided, there and then, that I had to nip this in the bud. Without breaking step I told him 'make one more personal remark about me and I'll slap your face'. He was startled, clearly, because when I came out of my office almost immediately and said 'was that happy enough for you?' his mouth was still open. 

You might think I over-reacted, being that I am the thinnest-skinned person I know (absolutely the thinnest-skinned person in the building according to my boss Andre) but really, where do you draw the line? Should I allow him to carry on, getting more and more personal and clever with himself or do you think that's just banter, part of male/female relationships? I'm well able to slap Geoff down but what about the younger carers like Sam who has just started and is so eager to fit in, or one of my Polish colleagues whose English isn't fantastic; who nevertheless realises they're being laughed at but can't quite formulate a response? And does having resting bitch face mean that you have to put up with stupid comments from people who are, to all intents and purposes, strangers to you? It's bad enough having Big Man asking 'what's the matter with you?'constantly when all I'm doing is watching TV intently. But I think really, what irked me the most was somebody who barely knows me thinking it was okay to be personal. One thing's for sure, Geoff won't be making that mistake again any time soon.

What do you think, resting bitch face or just complete bitch?

Wednesday Addams, queen of the Resting Bitch Faces