Saturday, August 14, 2010

Working Week.

As well as handling the advertising for many dick-swinging big-shot blue chip companies, I also deal with people who run their own small businesses and who are – more often than not – barking mad. The former are unbelievably difficult to deal with what with their talk of ‘MPUs’ and ‘skies’ whilst declaring the ‘banner’ to be ‘dead’ – I have no idea what they mean but have people who do - insist upon 'meetings' and keep saying things like “I can get this cheaper with a really rubbish company who won't deliver” as if that were a really valid bargaining strategy.

The latter are much more fun. I believe I’ve mentioned Insane Client before now. I shall call her ‘Carol’ for the moment. I am a fastidious note-maker. The following is – tragically – verbatim from my notes of genuine conversations with her:

Outgoing Telephone Call 06/08/2010 11:24 Comments: Re-book. Briefly considered changing the mobile phone number in her advert AGAIN but decided against.

Outgoing Telephone Call 04/08/2010 11:34 Comments: Carol has again called - wanting to change 'pets allowed' to 'pets welcome'. (?) Done.

Outgoing Telephone 03/08/2010 16:40 Comments: Carol called to change the mobile number in the advert once again. Claimed the old one was 'attracting the wrong sort of people'. Amazing.

Outgoing Telephone Call 30/07/2010 10:52 Comments: Booked for another week, good as gold.

Outgoing Telephone Call 23/07/2010 11:45 Comments: Re-book for next week.

Outgoing Telephone Call 20/07/2010 10:22 Comments: Checking adverts - all is well.

Outgoing Telephone Call 15/07/2010 14:02 Comments: Copy amend and rebook for next week.

Outgoing Telephone Call 09/07/2010 11:18 Comments: Wants a call on Monday - waiting to see if a booking comes in.

Outgoing Telephone Call 05/07/2010 12:30 Comments: Got hold of Carol after she slammed the phone down on Thug Colleague. Changing mobile number in advert once more - this time due to an 'irate holiday maker' smashing her windscreen during the weekend. Booked for the week.

Outgoing Telephone Call 21/06/2010 11:18 Comments: Booked for another week. New mobile number again.

Outgoing Telephone Call 11:50 Comments: Bit hassled, will call me back on Monday morning.

Outgoing Telephone Call 15/06/2010 14:21 Comments: Reassured Carol once again that we are definately getting the payments through and that I will call her to re-book her advertisements.

Outgoing Telephone Call 15/06/2010 14:15 Comments: Carol called to check that she has paid for her adverts on her pre-paid account - money still hasn't gone from the bank apparently. Assured her I would double-check all is well at our end. She seemed happy with this and went to feed her cats.

Outgoing Telephone Call 10/06/2010 16:05 Comments: Carol is puzzled that this weeks’ payment does not seem to have been deducted from her card. Feels that 'someone' is 'playing' with her. Assured me that she wasn't 'accusing' me 'of anything'. Sending her recent statements.

Outgoing Telephone Call 09:41 Comments: Carol phoned to check the status of her advert. Seemed satisfied that it's the same as it was when she called 15 minutes ago.

Outgoing Telephone Call 10/06/2010 09:30 Comments: Carol called in to change her telephone number yet again - claims the entire T-Mobile network is down.

Outgoing Telephone Call 04/06/2010 13:17 Comments: Driving on the A1 - wants a call later.

Outgoing Telephone Call 25/05/2010 09:07 Comments: Carol rang in to change her mobile number in the advert yet again.

Outgoing Telephone Call 21/05/2010 11:00 Comments: Rebook. New mobile number. Again. Much anguish regarding 'the news' and the continuing Alnwick cat poisonings. Genuis.

Outgoing Telephone Call Interested 17/05/2010 11:26 Comments: In the doctors - call her later.

Outgoing Telephone Call 14/05/2010 14:39 Comments: She'll get back to me.

Outgoing Telephone Call 07/05/2010 13:58 Comments: Re-book for week.

Outgoing Telephone Call Interested 29/04/2010 15:02 Comments: Carol has excelled herself with tales of rabid dogs, cat-poisoners and the fact that she's having to change the mobile number in her advert yet again because the old one is attracting 'disableds'. Brilliant. Re-book for the week.

If I worked for a mobile-phone company I would be able to retire by now.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

I Do Loads of Gardening. And a Small Amount Of Thinking. I Preferred the Thinking.

Deciding that the hoe just isn’t cutting it – haha – I get the fork-thing out of the shed, although God knows where it or indeed the hoe came from.

I’ve ignored the borders for seven months and they’ve become an extension of the lawn. I shall have to dig them over.

The lawn itself is not too bad. A couple of shirtless fourteen-year-old radge-packets come around every couple of weeks armed with a strimmer and in return for enough cash to enable them to purchase either ten cigarettes or two bottles of White Lightning they sort the lawn out for me. I’m of the impression that if I ever declined their kind offer of help I would shortly find myself without windows but it’s a good deal nonetheless.

I stab the fork-thing into the ground, promptly hitting a rock and sending shock-waves up my right arm. I swear, drop the spade and then have to jump back so it doesn’t clatter onto my feet.

Picking the fork-thing up, I heroically try again. It sinks into the ground without any trouble and I press my foot down onto the bridge of the fork and sink it completely in. Using both arms I apply a bit of leverage to the fork-handle. Nothing.

Fuck this. I decide to push down on it with everything I have. I promptly rise up, the fork doesn’t move and my legs are thrashing about mid-air just like that paragliding Russian donkey.

I look around. No-one saw. Therefore it did not happen. Excellent.

After two hours of this nonsense I have managed to dig over my borders and have removed anything that might have even looked like a weed. An elderly neighbour wanders by.

Elderly Neighbour:
Oh that looks better. I’ve just got back from the States you know. Bit jet-lagged so I can’t chat.

I’ve never spoken to her in my life. I also notice that, by way of luggage, she is carrying a Co-op carrier-bag and nothing else. I sort-of doubt her tale of jet-setting, but am too exhausted to get into it with her. Besides, she’s doing me no harm.

I get a glass of water that I cannot drink because my arms are fucked and keep trying to pour the liquid over my shoulder instead of in my mouth.

The garden looks very tidy. It also looks a bit barren now. I’ve properly gone to town on the borders and there’s not a living thing left.

It seems that my desire to exert some order over the garden has also robbed it of what made it interesting in the first place – it’s ‘garden-ness’.

Maybe this means something. Perhaps it’s ‘symbolic’.

I shrug to myself and go to the pub.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Telephone Conversation With My Much More Intelligent Daughter.

Five weeks ago

Her Mother:

Favourite Daughter:

Her Mother: NOW. Here. TALK.

FD: [skipping the whole ‘seven years old’ thing and becoming ‘thirteen’]*sigh* ‘llo?

Me: Hello.

The above exchange is repeated five times.

Me: Are you just going to keep saying ‘hello’?

FD: What?

The above exchange is also repeated five times. Each time I hear her slight amusement heighten with my frustration.

I decide to raise my game. I have yet to receive a Father’s Day card – for reasons that have been sensibly explained to me by her mother – but I reckon if I bring this up I’ll crack her.

I know. 'Emotional manipulation'. I'm very proud of myself. To be honest I didn't have high hopes for its success anyway.

So I’ve been very sad. Do you know why?

FD: [almost audible shrug]

Me: What day was it last Sunday?


I’m in trouble here. I’ve foolishly done this, will tar her with irrational guilt and will also incur the wrath of not only her future self but her right-now mother and - God – it was just meant to be a joke.

Favourite Daughter: We were really…. and we didn’t make one at school and there wasn’t time …

She sounds very ‘little’. I feel totally dreadful. This has back-fired.


Faourite Daughter:

Something has changed in her voice. Almost imperceptible, something I like to think only her father would notice. I’ve a horrible feeling she’s about to be devastating without even trying.

Me: [Very suspicious] Yes?

FD: Well. You said ….[her voice takes the tone of ‘got you’ that she’ll employ with any slip-up that I or any man she’ll ever meet will make] you’d WRITE to ME first.

I think about the last goodbye I said to her and remember that I did promise this whilst trying not to let her see how sad I was feeling.

Me: Well, I…..

Fuck’s sake. I’ve been busy. Work. Writing stuff for sarcy websites. Christ. I’m shit aren’t I?

Silence. She does not chuckle.

Me: Well …. [It’s impossible to describe. We both know I’m dead in the water. And I can HEAR her satisfaction at the small victory even though SHE ALSO KNOWS SHE’S NOT ENTIRELY IN THE RIGHT. But that I’m just in the right side of wrong]

Me: Anyway. I love you.

FD: I know.
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