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Posts Tagged ‘The Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady’

The other day my husband was talking to me about his bicycle when a car hooned down our street. “Dickhead!” I blurted out.

“What? Are you talking to me?” my husband asked, knowing full well I wasn’t. “All I was saying is that I’ll have to stop frequently to make small adjustments on my bike tomorrow morning. I can’t see how that could possibly offend you so.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I was talking to you, you… you… Stop-Start Cyclist.”

And lo! The Stop-Start Cyclist was born! Together, my husband and I went on to workshop this new character, having him say stuff like “Oooooo! My tweed cape keeps getting caught in my spokes!” and “Damn it! I have to find a way to wear my deer hunter hat on top of my bicycle helmet without it slipping off every three minutes”. As if he didn’t have to stop enough with all this micro-adjustments to his Precious Bicycle with his teeny-weeny incy-wincy tools, dabbing his brow with a lavender-scented handkerchief in between turns of the spanner. 

This character we’d conjured from thin air made us laugh long and hard, as you often do when you’re exceedingly tired, and that might have been that.  

The next day, however, I found myself thinking more about the SSC and realised how apt a superhero alter-ego it was for my husband. (We all need one. Mine’s the Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady. What’s yours?)

You see my husband, like a lot of people I know, suffers from a back condition for which he is forever trying to discover a cure. Sometimes he thinks cycling is the only thing that makes it feel better. Other times he proclaims cycling to be the Devil’s Own Transport and takes the bus instead. Quite frankly, I struggle to keep up with it all. On any given day it could be a case of “Four wheels good, two-wheels baaaaaaaaaad” or the complete opposite (I’ll let you work out what that is).

And so, the Stop-Start Cyclist is a hat which fits.

You must understand that this the same man who complains that sleeping under the summer-weight duvet is the equivalent of being made to sleep outside with a thin layer of wet tissue paper spread over him. But then, when I change over to the winter-weight duvet, this is the man who complains the next morning that he has “Hot Bed Poisoning.”

And this is the same man who upholds basmati rice as being exactly what his body needs and how it makes him feel energised and grrrrrrreat! And then when I offer it to him the next day, he grimaces and exclaims “That stuff is pure venom…” as if to accuse me of trying to kill him slowly but surely by way of long grain rice.

And this is the same man who I can never be sure how he takes his tea because it changes with Every. Single. Cup. 

Admittedly, there are many many things in which my husband is never ever stop/start with: his love, his loyalty, his support, his snoring. But blogging about those things isn’t anywhere near as amusing. 

And there’s another thing for certain: a life’s journey with the Stop-Start Cyclist can never be staid or boring. You never know what you’ll have to stop for next. And if stopping and starting means it’ll make him happy and maybe even one day free of back pain, I’m happy to just go with the flow (or lack thereof).

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When I was at university, I was going to change the world through the power of Physical Theatre and the rhetoric of Feminist Performance Theory! I suspect these days that that my alter-ego, The Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady, has more effective weapons at her disposal – pathetic sobbing and incessant whinging about the unfairness of the Late Pass Policy being two of them. But at university, I was Young and Idealistic and Full of Passion and prone to Capitalise Letters Even More Than I Do Today. 

Now, nobody knows exactly what happened, but during my final year of university, my rather over-inflated notion that I was put on this earth to do “Something Significant” got somehow deflated, and I slipped quietly out of the spotlight and into the shadowlands of administration, new media project management and happy homemaking. Oh, and the blogging. Don’t forget the blogging.  

Seventeen long years have passed since I last went to see an undergraduate theatre production. And another seventeen may well have passed, had my friend MM and I not been invited to see our mutual friend, the fabulous Mzzzzz E, perform in such a show. 

Of course, this required me to step onto the campus of a place I had worked at (in an administrative capacity, no less) some 14 years previously. I was pretty confident I knew where we needed to go, but hesitated because of some construction work ahead. Before we knew it, some guy in a shirt and tie and carrying a gym bag swept up behind us like some Shirt And Tie Superhero and asked us if we needed help. Turned out he was on his way to the Union Building too so he told us to follow him. 

As he charged on ahead, I turned to MM and whispered ferociously “Don’t we look like students?”, followed by “I mean, he was practically wearing a suit – a suit!” and then the awful realisation of “Oh god. I look like Somebody’s Mother.” And that “Somebody” wasn’t a charming little first-grader who still liked eskimo kisses in bed but a fourth-year engineering student who hadn’t managed to do anything but grunt at his mother for more than eight years and was about to buy an investment property with his live-in girlfriend. 

And sure enough, when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the bathroom mirrors shortly before the show started, I was overwhelmed by how middle-aged, middle-class and frumpy I looked against the hot pink paintwork. The slightly-ironic slung-over-the-shoulder handbag with large red roses looked reasonably hip back in the ‘burbs. But in this undergraduate setting? Positively Mumsy.

MM tried to be nice about it all as we took our seats in the theatre. “Perhaps they all see you as someone’s slightly older sister?”. There was some uncertainty in his tone, but since the lights were starting to dim, I could totally pretend that he was actually looking utterly sincere as he said it. Which was nice. 

Anyway, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the ensuing performance and not just because Mzzzzz E might be reading this. Part of that enjoyment, I must admit, was the thrill of looking at the cast and imaging who their counterpart from my own University Dramatic Days might have been. And spotting who was gay and who was not (not many, it turns out). And which ones were most likely to recite the entire Monty Python oeuvre by heart without provocation. And who held the most promise for making a complete and utter tit of themselves at the cast party – most certainly, in my own time, it was me (cue for a host of “close pals” to step forward with tell-all exposés). 

Of course, I also tremendously enjoyed watching Mzzzz E perform. She was magnifizzzzzent! However, I never did ascertain from her how she, some twenty years after her own university drama days, had managed to make a return to that most noble of art forms. I guess, objectively speaking, she’s much more still “One Of Them” – she wears platform heels, sequins on her cheeks and is “on the Centrelink” (her words not mine) – whereas I’ve definitely crossed over to the Other Side. MM, who is a parent but still manages to wear a natty hat, still has a foot in both camps. But I like to think that eventually one of those feet will get rheumatoid arthritis (or some such) and he’ll have to Choose His Side, as they like to say in the Transformers lexicon.

But here’s the thing that I enjoyed most about the performance: it was the sheer joy of seeing people doing something that they loved doing and something that they utterly believed in. And doing it together. As much as I love blogging, it’s very much a solo gig – there’s no high-fives back stage and drinks at the bar after I’ve published another post. At least not with other people.

Anyway, I found myself wondering what the Other Side NDM would say to the young passionate thespian NDM should they ever meet. You know, in the event of one of those The Terminator-style time travel type scenarios. Which is Entirely Likely.

Would she say “Stay the course! Follow your heart! Change the world one interpretive movement sequence at a time!”? Or would she say, echoing Les McQueen from Creme Brulee, “It’s a Shit Business!” and tell her to repent the theatre and embrace a life of stationary requisition forms and budget reconciliation and as soon as she possibly can?

Somehow, I like to think the Other Side NDM would say neither. She would just pat that young girl’s skinny little arm and reassure her that “Sometimes life has the strangest way of getting you exactly where you need to be.”

But whether that young NDM would listen to someone carrying a handbag like that is anyone’s guess.

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A lot of people say to me “There must be a way to make for you to make some money out of this global phenomenon known as ‘Not Drowning, Mothering'”. And I laugh gaily at the idea that some guy in Paris occasionally reading my blog makes it global. Because it so totally does. And as for “phenomenon”, you could argue that what has recently squirted out of my children’s bottoms is a phenomenon, so yes, “global phenomenon” this blog must surely be. 

But how to make money from it? Getting advertisers on board my site seems near impossible since Huggies won’t touch me because I drink too much and Smirnoff won’t touch me either because I drink too much and all while in charge of small children, no less. And in any case, I could end up like The Bloggess and have to advertise “coochy shaving cream” (True story. See her post entitled “It’s like a cross between being insulted and entertained. I’m insultained.“). Knowing my luck, I’d end up having to do some contractually-obliged and oh-so-casual product placement in my posts (“A lot of people say to me ‘How do you get your coochy so smooth?’…”).

So, other than using this site as a platform to auction off my vital organs, I really couldn’t think of a way of capitalising on Brand NDM. But then a passing comment by regular contributor The Lion Tamer about the nature of the Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady’s costume got me thinking… The next thing I knew, I had stepped into the heady world of custom merchandising and, after a few hours of pissing about in PhotoShop, had sketched out some initial ideas. Here they are:

The Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady Action figure!

ipcl_actionfigure

Okay, okay, so her waist is about as thick as my arm and I've got Buckley's chance of walking in those heels - but what's the point of having an alter-ego if you don't get to look Shit Hot?

The NDM Novelty T-shirt Range

“Because if it ain’t worth saying on a t-shirt, it ain’t worth saying”.

tasty2

Top Tip: Spice your look up with fresh food stains!

latepass

For the record, late passes are best eaten pre-salted with tears.

newblack

It's funny how just putting it on a t-shirt makes it true.

team3

"Team Aniston" and "Team Jolie" t-shirts are soooooo 2005.

The NDM Apron Range

For the Happy and Not-So-Happy Homemaker in your life… 

cupcakeapron

As the Viscomte de Blah Blah Blah said in "Dangerous Liaisons": It's beyond my control.

morebutter

Because too much is never enough

beer_apron

A Mr NDM Concept. He told me: "You can wear while cooking, and I can wear it when I'm a bit queasy after the pub"

The NDM Home Library

Like my five posts a week doesn’t give people enough to read already…

All Amazing True Stories!

All Amazing True Stories!

easyvirtue

Not quite an accurate depiction of my family since we stopped cross-dressing Tiddles shortly before he turned 2. But still...

****

So there you go. Now, if I can just put these pictures in a PowerPoint presentation and add some animated bullet points, I’ll have myself a marketing plan… And once I’ve got myself a marketing plan, I can start doing complex financial modeling (and that) and maybe even knock up a few charts in Excel. Then I can present those charts to the bank and make them give me Free Money. Free, I tells ya! Well, free for at least for 30 years, but by then it will be my children’s problem…

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Have you ever had one of those nightmares where whatever happens, there are these automatons like something straight from a sci-fi horror film, devoid of any humanity, who keep saying to you: “SORRY-IT’S-SCHOOL-POLICY.”?

Well, I seemed to find myself in one yesterday. After having to change one of those delightful last-minute poos courtesy of Tiddles McGee, I set off for the school already slightly late in the rainy-day traffic, faced the Bitch Fight Plus over parking, finally found a spot, changed The Pixie’s shoes for gumboots because she didn’t want to get her feet wet and then put everyone’s raincoats on. Then we sprinted through the rain to the classroom, arriving out of breath and decidedly soggy a grand total of five minutes after the bell.

“Are we okay?” I asked hopefully, with the kind of face that Mr Justice likes to sport when he really ruly wants me to let him go on the computer to shoot aliens. 

The teacher immediately glanced at the clock and said “Well… No. Sorry. You’ll have to get a Late Pass.”

It was her hesitation that was like a punch in the stomach. “Come on!” I found myself saying. “We’re only five minutes late! Give me a break! Have you seen what the parking is like out there?”

And then, pointing out the window with dramatic effect: “It’s raining!

“Sorry, it’s school policy. I’ve just got to follow the rules,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders as if to say “What’s a teacher who’s an absolute stickler for those rules to do?”.

“I do realise that,” I replied, my tone perhaps a little more forceful than it should have been. “But I’m going to bring it up with Brett because I’m quite frankly Not Happy with that policy. It shames my child! And it shames me!”

At which point, she actually let us off. And I might have just slunk back to my car to lick my wounds, except that another teacher appeared and helpfully threw fuel onto the fire by asking me, in an ever-so-very-slightly patronising tone, to go to the principal’s office  as it was “inappropriate” for me to be talking like this in front of the children because I might be “making them scared”.

Way to go, lady! All she had to do was recognise that I was a Woman on the Edge and maybe say “Hey, having a bad day? Come over to the office and let’s talk about it over a cup of tea and a  Milk Arrowroot?” but nooooooooo. She had to further chastise me.

Now, I’d like to be able to say that I then said “Don’t make me angry… You won’t like me when I’m angry!!” shortly before my skin turned green and all my clothes ripped off and I went running through the school tipping over rubbish bins. But no, instead I became the Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady, a lesser known Marvel Comics superhero.

At which point, the teacher threw in a “Sorry, it’s school policy” just to really get the boot in. 

I made my way, head bowed and, with the call of “Late Woman Walking! Late Woman Walking Here!” all around me, I went to the School Office. There, I found myself sobbing (still pathetically) in front of a bunch of strangers, demanding (in between sobs) to see Brett to tell him I was a victim of A Terrible Injustice in the form of a Green Slip of Paper That I Simply Didn’t Deserve. 

But rather than have the doors to Brett’s office opening to reveal him there with a lovely cup of tea patting a comfy chair for me to come sit with him and have a heart-to-heart, I was told that he was “in meetings all day”. And then given the “Sorry, it’s School Policy” line AGAIN which just made me want to shout “Is it school policy to say ‘Sorry, it’s school policy?'”. But since I was already crying, any impact that line might have had would have been completely lost so I just said “Blaththbabbllllaaaaaaa (sniff)” instead, wrote my name and telephone number down for somebody to ring me later, and left with the younger children in tow. 

A few hours later, after a phonecall from the Vice Principal where the “Sorry, it’s school policy” line was predictably dragged out again, I decided on my own Late Pass Policy from this day forth. The next time we’re running even slightly late, I’m not going to risk busting a gut to get my child to his class on time, only to be turned away at the door. Oh, no. Not I. Instead I’ll switch on ABC Kids for the kids while I pour myself a second coffee, and then, at about 9:30am, I’ll drive to the school, get a park right outside the gate, totally skip the usual morning rush for late passes at the office and be seen to immediately by less stressed staff, and deliver my child to his class with a smile and with green slip in hand. Same result but no rushing! No shaming! No problem!

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what the founders of the School Policy had in mind when they wrote it, but that’s what it’s come to. If they’re not going to cut me some slack, I’m just going to have to cut myself some. And when they ask me why my child is so late so often, I’m going to say “Sorry, It’s My Policy.” Just. Watch. Me.

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