Friday 18 July 2008

Making demands

Demanding: moi? Of course not. The problem - perceived by others as a problem, I mean - is that I find I am able to ask for and do things at 75 the 40 year old would have dreamt not of. However, the combination of age and singularity (I have noticed the ambiguity) seems to invite a level of patronising and, sometimes indifference, I was rarely shown as a younger woman and that's what really causes the so-called demandingness: I am not so prepared to put up with it, now. If I have asked for my steak rare or my lamb pink and it turns up disguised as undyed leather I send it back. I am rather Victorian in my manner, and in my manners, too, but I do send it back. (By the way, have you noticed that, often, when you are having chicken and you companion has ordered beef, only one jug of gravy turns up?)

If I am trying to sell a tiny sea-side studio and my carefully chosen Estate Agent seems not to be on my side, I keep after him. I feel him sigh when I announce myself on the phone, but I still keep after him. Now, to be fair, I haven't made his job any easier because, in the living room of this small space, I have installed a bath. Yes. Dear Reader, a bath. It's not that the room is poorly furnished in other ways. It has armchairs, even a rocking chair, and a couch all facing the sea. But you can lie in the bath and watch the sea crashing on the rocks below or, should you have left your bath until dark, you can watch television and soak at the same time, with bath salts and candles and the whole seductive scene. Decadent or what? (Not, I suspect, if you are actually 40, but at my age?....) However, this is not customary in the region where the flat finds itself and the agent saw it as a really serious disadvantage: "not to everybody's taste." I requested and then instructed him to describe the bath in a positive way to viewers: eg" You can watch the sea etc etc." Not a quiver of response; just another of those 'I've-got-a right-one-here' looks to which I am, after more than seven decades, becoming rather accustomed. I wondered if I could reasonably take his silence for assent. It wasn't. How do I know? I have a confession. I asked a local friend to pose as a prospective purchaser to find out what he would be told. "There's a bath in the living room. Not to everybody's taste". Perhaps it was short-sighted to indulge myself with this bath. When I took the place over, I asked a plumber to come and work out how it could be installed; you know, pipes and things. With his head under the sink in the kitchen bit, he asked "where are you going to put it, then?" " Here", I replied, indicating a space occupied, as I spoke, by some rather awful 'L'-shaped cupboards. Out came his head from under the sink and I got ' the look', but, also, this time, a pronouncement. "You're not from round here, then, " he said, and went back to his pipes under the sink. As it happens, I am from round there, but I didn't feel it would be right to disillusion him with regard to his powers of deduction. And in case you are worried, there is also a conventional shower room,with basin and lavatory, behind a door as it should be.

However, I see that when it comes to it, I do feel better if I can be project manager, with my hand on the wheel, since, at the time, I seem to be the only one who can count to ten . The trouble is, most situations need someone who can count to twenty, at least, and no one could accuse me of being able to do that. What I do seem to be good enough at, though, is seeing around corners and working out alternative ways of doing things, sometims obvious and sometimes, admittedly, a bit off the wall, but, surprisingly, effective.
At this point, you have my permission to add arrogant to eccentric and demanding when making your check list about me. Oh dear, is it too late to reform? Perhaps we should just call me difficult and leave it at that.


Anonymous said...

Hope the studio with the bath in thr middle is sold to someone who appreciates soaking with a view and not some DIY person who will rip it out.
Enjoying the blog - please keep it up!

Marilyn F. said...

You're my hero!
Loving and applauding your blog.
Calgary Alberta