“No, I don’t want to ‘pop-in’ for a quick Christmas drink.”
“No, I don’t want to ‘swing-by’ for a few festive nibbles.”
“No, I have no desire to attend your house-warming do.’ So says my brain.
My mouth, without consent, says, “Yeeeeeees, we’d absolutely love to pop-in/stay-over/watch your home-birthing DVD/sponsor your dog to walk The Great Wall of China. We’d be delighted!”
And I’ll attend whichever tedious social gathering I’m invited to with insincere gusto and a resentful mind full of, ‘Why can’t I just say no?’
I’ll forgive you for thinking I sound an unsociable curmudgeon: Who would invite you to a party, you miserable cow? But, hold your judgemental horses. I’m not unwilling to mix and make-merry per se; I’m unwilling to waste valuable time talking bollocks. I’m not interested in how much your car/house/watch is worth. I don’t want to know how much you earn. And I couldn’t care less what your job title is.
The majority of my social interactions are nothing more than a one-sided outpouring of dog-shit. An opportunity for someone new to parade their material and verbal wares before my unimpressed, half-closed eyes and ears.
Recently, we moved onto a sparkly new housing development. A development bursting with families! We love the house, but we’re less keen on being so close to other people. People who misinterpret someone moving into the house next door as an invitation for lifelong friendship. Love thy neighbour? No, leave thy neighbour alone.
It is a rare event indeed, if I can return to my house without being set-upon by a pack of noisy kids (like the street urchins of Delhi), in desperate need of attention.
We were not prepared for the masses of bored children seeking stimulation away from their familiar four walls. Not used to the incessant bloody ringing of the bloody front door-bell. The daily irritating squeaky harmonies of ‘Can Charlie and Bella come out to play?’! No, no they fucking can’t. Now piss off and play kerbie someplace else.
My children are six and seven. If they go out to play, I must accompany them; stand outside in the cold and pretend to joyfully interact with them both. Inevitably, this earnest display brings out the other parents, who, I presume, spend hours looking out their windows in their outdoor clothes, just longing for me to step onto my driveway and inadvertently give them the nod to come join me!
And before I can manage a 180 degree spin on my heels, signalling my intent to escape, I hear, “Annie. Aaaanieeeee! How would you all like to come over on Sunday for a bit of a get-together?” Bit of get-together? A fucking get-together? Like Scouts? No thanks!
“Yes, that would be lovely. I was only just thinking we should all get together. Have a few drinks and some nibbles. I’ll make a quiche!”
One of my resolutions for 2016 is to think quicker: to have a bounty of excuses ready to launch. Much like the ‘looky-looky’ man whose coat is stuffed with fake watches, I need pockets full of pre-prepared excuses to bamboozle any invitation giver.
I now spend weekends like Ethan Hawke’s family in The Purge: barricaded. We do not want to attract unnecessary attention from ‘the outside.’ The curtains are closed and the lights are off. If our house could speak it would say, ‘FUCK OFF!’ to anyone who dares to venture down the driveway. A driveway I’m tempted to start booby-trapping.
I’ve no choice but to keep the living room curtains closed during the day. Closed curtains should tell the outside that, a) I’m giving my husband a blowie on the sofa, b) we’re on holiday, c) we don’t like Halloween, or, d) we’ve died. All of which should perturb anyone from knocking. All, except the needy fuckers of Evergreen Road. For nothing can stop their determination to become further acquainted.
Can anyone recommend an effective method for living in their home peacefully? To have an afternoon nap on the sofa without pudgy little fingers tapping the front window and mouthing ‘o-u-t t-o p-l-a-y?’ How do I politely decline an invitation without saying ‘Can’t. Dad’s just died’?
Right. Time to put the bins out. It’s 3am. Wish me luck…..