My Book Babies

My Book Babies
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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Small Talk

Maria: What shall I buy for dinner? We could have cottage pie, only we had mash yesterday. Oh God, I can't be bothered to cook again. Would it really be so bad if we had take-out twice in a week? Pizza means no washing up, that will give me more time to do spellings with the kids, they must be at least three days behind. Must buy washing powder, forgot yesterday.
Oh no, that's her isn't it? That woman whose name I can never remember. Is it Laura? Lara? Clara? Why does she always want to talk to me, it's always so awkward!  I never know what to say to her, and we talk far too often for me to ask her name now. Have I got time to duck into a shop? Oh no, she has seen me now.

Lana: I see Maria looking in the shop window. I really don't feel like pinning a smile on right now, but I can't have her thinking I'm rude. She is always so nice to everyone, snubbing her would be like kicking a puppy. I'm going to have to fake an interaction. Maybe I could turn round?  Oh no, she has seen me now. Now I'm going to have to say hello.
"Maria!  Hi, how are you?"

Maria: And now she has spoken to me. I should have run into the post office. She always looks so damn cheerful, with her perfect smile and perfect hair and perfectly pristine clothes. God she makes me feel inadequate. Force a smile.
"Hello lovely, how are you?" Urgh,  who calls someone lovely? She must know I have forgotten her name. How embarrassing! I wonder if she can  tell I haven't brushed my hair this morning?

Lana: Aaw she always calls everyone lovely, Maria is so friendly. She always seems so pleased to see me. How am I?  Dying inside, sick of my daily routine, desperate for something to break the monotony. Can't really say that though, can I?
  "Can't complain. Beautiful weather for the time of year, isn't it? Bit too hot for me though."

Maria: It's normal weather for June. I mean, it's summer, it is supposed to be sunny. Why are we English so obsessed with the weather anyway?
"Isn't it though? We were making the most of it in the garden this weekend, firing up the barbeque.  How's the family?"
She doesn't need to know we spent the weekend slumped on the sofa with the curtains shut, watching the football and arguing over whose turn it was to do the ironing. A few creases never hurt anyone anyway.

Lana: Why did she have to ask that? I can't exactly say I spent the weekend sobbing over dirty dishes while Chris worked late yet again. I feel like a single mum the majority of the time. Even when he is home, Chris is so burnt out from work he doesn't have the energy to play with the children.
"Not bad, not bad. Chris is up for promotion, so he has been working hard on that. How are the kids?"

Maria: Well I'm starting to think my son has ADHD  and my daughter barely spoke to us all weekend.
"Good thanks, they are looking forward to the holidays. Your son is doing his exams isn't he?"

Lana: Failing his exams more like. He has barely done any coursework, I'm sure he is going to fail everything and end up at home until he is 45.
"Yes, he only has a couple left. They grow up so fast don't they?" Having a teenager makes me feel so old. Where did my 30s go anyway?

Maria: "Definitely. Time flies! Speaking of which, I had better run. It's all go today!"
Time flies when you are having fun, that's meant to be the saying isn't it? Time flies when every bloody day is exactly the same is closer to the truth. When did my life become an endless Groundhog Day of chores and telling people off? Where did my dreams and ambitions go?

Lana: "Tell me about it! I will let you get on then. We must meet for coffee soon!"
I can get away with saying that, I know she will never take me up on it. We say it every time we bump into each other.

Maria: "Definitely! See you at the school gate."
Unless I see you first. I've exhausted my repertoire of small talk for today. And now I have to rush off to make it look like I really am in a hurry. It's too hot for rushing, and the only place I am rushing to is home, so I can shut the door on the world and slump on the sofa.

Lana: I watch Maria scurry away. She must be in a real hurry. She always seems to be on the go. I hope I can avoid her at school run time, I've completely run out of things to say to her. She must think I am so boring. I am boring I suppose. 3 hours until it's time to pick the kids up. Think I will head home, shut the door on the world and slump on the sofa.

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