Watch out, I’m in one of my moods today. Why? Because the electricity went on the fritz yesterday, my house alarm rang for 7 hours until power was restored and poor Lyra was wandering around the house with noise-reducing earmuffs strapped on her head all afternoon. I ate my weight in toffee, had a terrible night’s sleep and woke up at three—yes, THREE—o’clock this morning, tossing and turning and thinking of nothing more interesting than…actually I don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep.
I wandered downstairs at 7, trying to perk up and convince myself that my day would be full of happiness and light. Having my first cup of morning coffee definitely helped. I cranked up my iPad, took a look at my inbox and discovered an invitation from a company that has been ignoring all my “unsubscribe” requests for the past 8 months. I thought that once again I’d write them a polite but firm letter, asking them to go away and leave me alone, but suddenly, my fingers were flying across the board and I let ’em have it across the bow. And a few other nautically awkward places as well. An excerpt:
To: Company that keeps bombarding me with unwanted emails
Subject: Sure, I’ll come!
No I won’t actually. I have been living in London since April this year and have in that time received many invitations from you. Each time I get one, I do the right thing and try to tell you to stop sending them to me but whoever is taking care of your social media/PR must be incredibly lax, dimwitted or drunk: no notice is ever taken of my gentle reminders to you.
So, yes, thank you, I’d love to come to your event-party-wingding. I’ll zip into HK from Europe just because you say I should. See you there, you’ll know who I am should you want to speak with me; I’ll be the one in the polka dot tutu, pasties and feather-boa hat. Whee-ha! Can’t wait!
Hugs and kisses, your best future client ever,
I pressed Send and immediately felt wracked with guilt. How mean of me to attack them for what’s really a very small offense on their part. But honestly, don’t say “if you don’t wish to receive our invitations in future, please press…” if you don’t really mean it.
Within 13 minutes, I had a reply from them. I’ve never received such a gorgeous and well-written apology before, which just made me feel…no, I can’t lie. It actually made me feel better. So thank you, anonymous- businesspeople-whom-I’ve-never-met-before-but-insisted-upon-putting-me-on-your-mailing-list, thank you for finally paying attention and dumping me, as per my earlier requests.
Coffee inhaled, breakfast dishes thrown in the sink, it was time to take Lyra to the vet. This has actually turned out to be the high point of my day. This being Lyra’s very first visit, we were going to walk, but it started raining, she started meowing, so I flagged a taxi and we drove the 3 blocks instead.
I love our new vet. She is wonderful, supportive, professional, loves Lyra (or so she says), and gave me the good news that Lyra is in perfect health. Best of all, because it was Lyra’s first ever visit to this particular office, we didn’t have to pay. I was stunned, standing there with my credit card in my hand, waiting to hear how many gazillions this was going to cost, when I got the good news. There’s an evil voice in my head reassuring me though, “Wait till next time, they’ll charge ya double”.
Back home, all is going along swimmingly, until I received my first ever…gag…Christmas letter of the year. Sure, it could be worse, but I’m not sure how. This letter has all the right elements, sure to drive me insane and make me want to write back preposterous claims about my own family’s past year. Plus, it’s November. I don’t want Christmas letters in November!
Do you know what Humble bragging is? It’s a writing technique where it’s obvious the adult writing wants to brag wholeheartedly but knows it’s bad manners. Instead, he Humble Brags. Prime example, taken from Urban Dictionary:
Uggggh just ate about fifteen piece of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modelling contract LOL :p
That’s what I had to read, for two whole pages. Yuck, yuck yuckity yuck. I’d rip up the paper instantly, except it’s an email and any destruction would include bashing in my computer screen. Can’t do that. I’d have to clean it up and I’m just not in the mood today.
Worse thing of all? The fact that this letter was written on a computer and sent out to millions of their closest and dearest friends, all of whom are sure to be fascinated by little Jimmy’s ear infection this past February and cute Cynthia’s Pony Club show where she came in 3rd (but only because the other two girls were slightly older and were able to compete in a class below their proper age group). Do I really care, oh parent of 2 children I’ve never met? No, probably not. I’m glad the infection cleared up and man, am I annoyed on Cynthia’s behalf, but in 5 minutes I’ll have forgotten it all.
I really do not like these annual letters. If I know you, then I know you and you don’t need to tell me about things that happened 10 months ago. If I don’t, then please don’t waste your time telling me fascinating anecdotes about your family.
Maybe I should write back with a letter of my own. I can begin it thusly:
Dear Person and Person’s Offspring and Pets,
Well, it’s that time of year again, to bring out the holly and the ivy, the Christmas cheer and the eggnog, and boy, do we have a lot to tell you this time! Sit down, relax and pay attention, we will have a quiz at the end and if you get it wrong, a puppy will die falling off a Christmas Tree. You don’t want that on your conscience, so read carefully.
We have had a brilliant year, in fact I doubt anyone’s had better than us. Yes, Lars won that little prize we were all expecting him to get, and had to make a quick trip to Norway to pick it (and the accompanying cheque) up earlier in the year. Who knew Underwater Basket Weaving could bring so many diverse peoples together? Well, Lars obviously did.
Our children, Trixiebelle, Fufu, and Miranda all had stellar years themselves. They were sad not to win the Baby Booker Prize for the 4th time in a row (imagine how excited we would have been!) but instead managed to get an Oscar each in LA earlier this year. They know not to brag about their awards, but they’re so cute, they’re using them as door stops (that’s 6 doors taken care of this winter, thanks to the Academy!) and T-belle, haha, you’ll never believe this, has given hers to her teacher! What a great bunch of children we have.
I haven’t been quite on my game this year, starting out with Herpes Simplex 2, followed by moths eating my entire pashmina collection (silly moths, it’s called a walk-in closet, not a fly-in!) but things picked up when I was invited to help a certain elderly Royal (shhhhh, I can’t say her name but it rhymes with Billizabeth) act a little scene with a…shall we say…Bonded man at the Olympics opening ceremonies. Her little corgis were hell on wheels, but with my extensive knowledge in Welsh dog treats, they were soon eating out of my hand.
We have decided this year not to give or receive gifts, choosing instead to accept the invitation so kindly sent our way from the UN, to broker peace in war-torn countries around this great planet of ours. You will of course understand that we won’t be sending you anything this year, but will name a goat after you when we arrive in XXXXXXXX.
Sorry, I’m actually not allowed to tell you where we’ll be. Just watch for us on TV, I’m sure you won’t miss Miranda’s hair, even at that distance!
Tally-ho, We wish you a merry Christmas, Person and Person’s Offspring and Pets,
Or do you think that might be too rude?