Thursday, 10 July 2008

A fête worse than death?

A week of torrential rain, gently building up towards Saturday and Amelie's first ever school fête. Nini kept a steady eye on the weather all week, tutting occasionally and wishing aloud for sunshine on Saturday, probably because a school fête is not the best place to take your caustic, misanthropic husband on the best of days, and even less so when it's pissing down...
"It will be fun" she said.
"It won't", I replied, in a leaden voice of doom. (I do a nice line in 'leaden voice of doom' - my wife has remarked before that I have an amazing capacity to suck every last ounce of joy or happiness out of a social occasion for her by simply complaining bitterly about it beforehand. She is sadly correct, though I have chosen to omit it from the 'Skills' section of my CV.)
"The kids will love it" she bravely continued,
"No. Not if it's raining"
"There will be a lot of nice people there"
"I don't like nice people..."
That last statement is unfortunately true, and it's something I have only realised quite recently: I really don't like truly nice people - possibly because I have very little in common with them. I struggle to know what to say and have to constantly fight the urge to come out with something shocking and horrendous just to see their faces recoil in horror. Yes, I do realise that this is in fact a desperately unpleasant character flaw, but over the years I have developed a number of techniques that successfully mask this: false smiles, feigned interest and a library of small talk that I can access on autopilot. Maintaining all that is quite a lot of effort, but fortunately I am now married to a woman who is kind, enthusiastic and approachable enough for two people combined. This is lucky, as it means that when we meet other people I don't even have to pretend to try, and yet together we somehow give the overall impression of a fairly normal couple. I much prefer people with some kind of edge: folks with a tragic emotional blockage, or a deeply inappropriate sense of humour, or an inability to recognise social boundaries - these are my people, and I'm much more comfortable around them.
This does, of course, mean that if you are reading this and consider yourself on friendly terms with me, it's probably because on some unconscious level I have seen an echo of one of my many, many character flaws in you, or you are in some way clearly damaged. I hope that makes you feel both special and appreciated (but I'm guessing not)....
Anyway, I digress - the school fête. I have to admit it went pretty well, because of three wonderful unexpected factors:
a) The sun came out. In fact, in defiance of all my glum predictions, the weather was glorious.
b) Neve 'dancejacked' the display area at one point: while a polite crowd of parents watched their children run through a High School Musical dance routine, she brazenly wandered onto centre stage and started 'dancing' for herself. As Nini wasn't around to stop her and it amused me enormously she got to run through a full interpretive dance performance (lots of stamping, some spinning, occasional toppling over), which I enjoyed almost as much as the disapproving 'tuts' of other parents who felt she shouldn't be there stealing the limelight...
c) The man who was in charge of the music had neglected to bring any CD's with him. I presume he had to resort to using whatever was in the CD changer in his car, as that can be the only explanation for the deeply inappropriate soundtrack for the occasion: in essence he played Chris Rea's 'Road to Hell' on loop throughout the entire afternoon. I understand that attendance was down on last year...
Perhaps I'm not the misanthropist I thought I was after all: it seems that all it takes is some sunshine, the sight of my daughter dancing, and the haunting sound of a nineties AOR musician screeching 'You must be evil' (track 3) coming from a Tombola stand to cheer me right up...

On the other hand, Amelie bought a pink plastic pony. We will return to that later...

2 comments:

Pat said...

OK so now I'm wondering: what's my character flaw/damage? It's like a new party game.

PDC said...

Ha Pat, like you have to ask. I think you know very well. You and your special habits...