Sunday, April 15, 2007

Perfecting my smile

Today is the last day of the Easter holidays. Depressing in itself, but more so when you think the Summer Term will last for three months this year. It’s always long, but three months just looks like forever right now. At least I should get to catch up at work.

Not that I’m really behind, but I want to organise the office and streamline all the bits I never have time for. Do you realise I’ve been with Tim for over a year now? And I still love my job! It’s brilliant now, as I know it inside out and feel in control.

The only thing which worries me is the boss’s wife. You may recall Sally is a friend, and it’s down to her that I got the job. There’s nothing wrong as such, we’re still great mates, but I fret she must get sick of the sight of me. It’s probably just my imagination, as there’s nothing in her behaviour to suggest this, not really, probably just one of my imagined worries!

I do seem to like them.

Umm, I’m wondering if I dare explain what a horrid person I’ve become? Well, I suppose sharing secrets is what this place is for, and there’s only the BH and Cass I can talk to in RL about this issue and I think they’re getting sick of it, so I’ll bore you instead.

In September several new girls started in J’s school year. Can’t be easy for these moms arriving at a school where so many friendships have already been established.

I noticed two of them. One I went to school with myself, so she was easy to talk to. Another is from Canada, and didn’t know a soul. Even with her endlessly cheerful twangy accent, I really like her and suggested to my friends we invite her to some of out get togethers. But no, the others weren’t so sure, as she’s always so well presented it made some feel like she’s more of a grown up than the rest of us.

Then there was a third. I didn’t notice her once during the first term, but my daughters had mentioned her daughter so I knew she existed.

You could say the first meeting was catastrophic, though I’ve since tried to put it out of my mind. But it won’t go away. I walked into the playground and spotted Sally talking to someone. I wandered over to say good morning, but waited behind until they’d finished their sentences.

The new mom turned and looked at me. And what a look. Up and down, with distaste written clear.

I can’t deny I was shaken. I haven’t been looked at like that since…well I can’t actually remember. I just stood there like a lemon wondering who the hell this woman was.

I soon found out, as Eva, the new mom, was suddenly great friends with all my friends. In fact it felt like I couldn’t have a conversation without Eva being there. And she’s got plenty to add to all conversations.

Been and done everything, has Eva. Seriously, whatever you can come up with, she will have a better story to recount.

In all fairness to her, she’s never given me such a filthy look again, and it’s hardly her fault she’s got experience of everything. And I know it can’t be easy being a new mom.

But I just can’t take to her.

And if that’s all there was to it, I’d shrug and say ‘So what? You can’t like everyone!’

But a couple of weeks after she’d appeared, Sally watched her walk away then turned to me and smiled, ‘Eva irritates you, doesn’t she?’

I was mortified. True, Eva does irritate the hell out of me (and I haven’t even mentioned her awful accent) but I’m not a total bitch – and I certainly don’t want Eva to guess the way I feel about her!

Blinking away the shock of being caught, I asked if it was obvious. Sally said not, just that I was very quiet around Eva, and she knew my body language well enough to see I wasn’t comfortable.

I poured some of it out, and then apologised. At the end of the conversation I simply said I’d learn to deal with it, but I’d be grateful if Eva wasn’t invited to all our get togethers, just yet. I just needed some time to get used to her.

But it seems time was against me. Everywhere I went, Eva was there. Endlessly talking. Wouldn’t be so bad, if everyone didn’t adore her. But even when she’s not bloody there, I can’t have a conversation with any of the moms without them commenting how great Eva is.

So, staying quiet and changing the subject have become my middle names.

Then the holidays began, and I sighed with the relief of two whole weeks without Eva in my life.

Ha, fat f*cking chance!

On the first Saturday there was a party, and who should walk in just as I sat myself down? Yep, Eva. ‘Are you staying?’ she asked Sally, and after Sally nodded, Eva promised to be back as quickly as possible. Twenty minutes later we’re all sharing a table and listening to Eva’s garden and decoration tips.

All things considered, it wasn’t a bad afternoon. I spent the time smiling and convincing myself I could cope with her for a few short hours.

Then it was time to go home. I nodded at Sally and said I’d see her next week – meaning AT WORK. But no, Sally was thinking of the moms get together we’d arranged for the Wednesday, and she promptly invited Eva to join us.

Sally caught me up in the car park, and asked me if it was alright to invite Eva like that.

What the hell was I supposed to say? The deal was done, and so I smiled (again, and it was starting to hurt by this time!) and said, ‘Of course it’s fine! The more the merrier.’

Thank god Easter arrived and my children duly vomited their way through it.

Come Tuesday I went into work and was able say with complete honesty, that my kids were sick and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make Wednesday.

But I hadn’t actually decided not to go at that point. After all, there were two other moms going to be there and I was looking forward to catching up with them.

The nail in the coffin came when Sally announced that because of the fine weather we should change the venue to the beach.

I don’t do the beach. I walk on it, but I don’t have the patience to lie on it for hours at a time. It’s no secret, in fact it’s a bit of a joke with my friends.

I felt slapped (I still do). But smiled and said I’d hope to be there, knowing I wouldn’t be.

I called my friend Anna that night to let her know the change of venue, and also to let her know I wouldn’t be going – because P was still ill.

She kindly offered to take my girls for me, as they’d be disappointed not to go.

I gratefully agreed, even knowing it would mean listening to her round up of the afternoon with plenty about Eva. But it was worse than that, as Eva had saved the day when S had had an accident.

Wonderful, now I have to thank Eva when we go back to school.

And when I showed up at work on Friday, Sally also made a big point of telling me how wonderful Eva is.

Why does everyone keep doing this?! It’s like they all know I need convincing. But I haven’t bitched about the woman to anyone at school beyond that first conversation with Sally, and I’ve studiously avoided saying anything negative about Eva again. And yet, it feels like she’s constantly in my face.

Irony is, I know it’s not even Eva feeding my dislike anymore!

Anyway, now you can all see what a bitch I am at heart. This woman’s done nothing to me, and yet I can’t stand her. I suppose I should just be grateful this is the first time I’ve ever disliked someone without understanding why.

It’s not a good feeling.

And there’s only twenty-four hours to go, before I’ve got three months of her. Wish me luck.


Blogger rdl said...

Nothing to feel guilty about, you just plain don't like her, can't like everybody. just to bad she's always in yr. face.
but what does: "Irony is, I know it's not even Eva feeding my dislike anymore." mean?
you can always come visit me. :D

Sunday, April 15, 2007 4:57:00 pm  
Blogger Jona said...

Hi rdl, what I mean is, even when she’s not around she’s managing to irritate me because everyone else is nattering about her.

But I've felt like a cow ever since I posted - which I'm taking as a good thing, as it shall force me to make more of an effort tomorrow morning!

And thank you, when I win the lottery I shall be visiting!

Sunday, April 15, 2007 8:02:00 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

Someone told me yesterday that there are flights from Norwich airport to the Channel Islands. I may have to make a visit - I expect you to point out Eva to me, so that I can dislike her too.

Monday, April 16, 2007 6:56:00 am  
Blogger Jona said...

Dave - surely you're too good a person to dislike someone for no reason...? But I would love the company :o)

Monday, April 16, 2007 7:05:00 am  
Blogger Dave said...

No reason? She annoys you, that's good enough reason for me.

I wonder if I could find a reason to spend my sabbatical in Jersey?

Monday, April 16, 2007 7:16:00 am  
Blogger I, like the view said...

hi jona

I hope you don't think I'm butting in. . .

I live in a small and tight knit community where mums/social lives are thrown together and new people arrive (and often go again two or four years later)

I have experienced what you describe and reading your post has brought it all back and made me feel quite prickly - you describe it so well, and the associated "guilt" (not the right word, not a good word - why are we expected to like everybody and everyone our friends like?) that affects how we feel about ourselves, as well as the initial/growing feelings about the other person and how that impacts on our social group

what a brilliant piece of writing!

Monday, April 16, 2007 8:35:00 am  
Blogger Jona said...

Dave, you have reasons aplenty! Great weather, beautiful beaches, and friends :o) But I will warn you ~ nothing here is cheap :o( Mail me if you're seriously considering it.

ILtV - I don't think there's any such thing as butting in in blogdom ;o) Either way, you're very welcome too. And it's a relief to know I'm not alone :o)

Monday, April 16, 2007 12:10:00 pm  
Blogger I, like the view said...

you are so not alone on this topic jona!

one of the beauties of the blogplace, I find, is the lack - or ease of avoidance - of what you refer to

(see, I can write that in full confidence since you told me I wasn't interfering!!)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007 6:21:00 pm  

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