I met a female politician a while ago. One of the things she said made a big impression on me and I am going to tell you about it. Lucky old you. Delegations regularly come to see this politician and there is usually a photo opportunity. Invariably the men stand up straight, pleased as punch with themselves and make no bones about their inclusion in the photograph. The women don’t want to be in the photograph, they want to be at the back, they protest that they look terrible. What exactly do we deem so unappealing about ourselves? Why do we feel that we are so much less worth being photographed than our male counterparts, who, let’s face it, are not necessarily the best looking people on the planet either? What kind of message are we sending to our children about who is important and who is not? In future, I will be smiling in the front row.
Archives for February 2010
I took the Princess to see the doctor the other day. The doctor was a lovely woman maybe ten years younger than me. “Hello” she said to us holding out her hand “I’m Deirdre.” Not Dr X? Not even a surname, for God’s sake? I am an island of formality adrift in an informal world.
I will be 41 next month, I think you can tell.
Belated thoughts on Ash Wednesday
I had one meal and two collations and I was starving all day. I would not have made a good medieval christian. Though I was quite looking forward to hearing them say “Dust you are and to dust you shall return” when they daubed my forehead with ashes. I was to be disappointed though, they went for the very post-Vatican II “Repent and believe in the Lord” which really doesn’t have the same ring to it at all.
I felt a bit self-conscious trotting about my business with my ashes. The catholic church in Ireland has taken a serious hammering of late and it seems to me that there were far fewer people about sporting ashes. That evening Barack Obama was on the news and there was Joe Biden standing beside him with his ashes on. I got very excited, I said to my loving husband “Look, look, he has ashes, I was beginning to think that I was the only person in Ireland with ashes.” He coughed and said “Well, technically, he isn’t in Ireland, of course…”
Always Winter and Never Christmas
OK, North Americans, look away now. I am sick of this winter. It has run and run and it has been freezing for months. The Alaskans in the children’s school laugh at us and I saw Alaskan father yesterday wearing no coat which means he must be very hardy (he also speaks very good Irish – these Alaskans full of surprises – it’s not just Sarah Palin, you know). My mother says that it is the coldest winter she remembers since 1947 when her February birthday party was blighted by snow. A friend of mine whose mother is from Belfast says that the winter of ’47 was so cold that the snow didn’t melt until May. Bah.
Fear and Loathing
You may have noticed that it has gone quiet round here. Maybe not. Aaanywaaay, I have not been near the computer at home in over a week and hence blogging has not been possible. I am in dispute with the tax people and I am debating with them by email. I sent off my last salvo a week ago and was too scared to check whether it had worked or not. I checked. It has not. Well, it is unclear whether it has worked or not. The person dealing with our case thinks someone else may have replied to me. I am to forward her various information which I have previously sent her and she will double check. I have done so but I can’t help feeling that if someone else had replied, we would have GOT THE REPLY. On the plus side, she has said that she will put a stop on the bill until matters are resolved so I now feel able to get back online as my gmail is no longer threatening me.
By absolute standards, the sum in question is relatively small and I imagine that the official dealing with us is very bitter at how much of her time it is taking to resolve a matter which will bring in a tiny pittance. However, small and all as the amount may be to the tax people, it is big to us. My sister suggested that we could cancel our summer holidays and this would cover a third of the amount. This is unappealing. Let us hope instead that all will be well. I might start trying to save as well, just to be on the safe side.
Signs, omens, portents
I nearly fell out of the bed reading the Irish Times last weekend. It said to me “Wednesday night at 9pm and the choice was between a Horizon documentary on BBC 1 about ageing and Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies . The latter is a new run of the series where a team of photogenic doctors – including the wonderfully unshockable Irish doctor Pixie McKenna…”. Sorry, Pixie McKenna who was years behind me in school? Pixie McKenna whose father was in college with my mother? Pixie McKenna whose older brother Johnny was an object of interest to every girl in the senior school? Pixie McKenna who, for God’s sake, can only be 14 now? It would appear so. There are only so many Pixie McKennas to go around.
My friend R, who is taking some time out from his day job to do a Ph.D rang me. He has been doing some consultancy work in Kosovo. “Off to Kosovo again?” I asked cheerily. “Yes,” he said, “I get back on Tuesday week. And then on the Wednesday I am going to Sudan for two and a half months.” Shocked noise. “Election monitoring” he said. “There’s an election in the Sudan?” I said feebly. “There’s always an election somewhere,” he replied “anyhow, I’m off to the pub, see you in mid-May.”
Suddenly my life seems very dull.