Friday, November 17, 2006

Tooth and claw

There are some people who just irritate me. I can't help it, they just do.

One such is a mother at my youngest's school; the mother of a classmate, in fact. She's an artist. I don't know how good as I've never seen her work, so I also don't know what sort of art she does. However, she does like to make a point of looking as much as what you think an artist would look like as possible, so she goes around dressed as a rag bag.

I don't know whether it's because she is impoverished and has to go 'dumpster diving' or rootling around in dustbins to gather together two scraps with which to adorn her feeble frame. She lives in a rather swish village, so I think not, even if she is not terribly well off. Still, she looks a mess, in layers of clashing colours and unmatching materials. She dresses her daughter the same too. One of those 'mini me' mothers, like Fergie with her two long-suffering daughters.

Clothes sense in itself is not, however, enough to stir my ire. Attention-seeking is, and she does it with such self-satisfiedness that makes me just want to slap her. Take her clothes. She is obviously dying for people to think that she must be a really good artist because the way her clothes are such a mess must indicate that she is always thinking higher thoughts than mere mundane vestimentary issues. I imagine she thinks her clothes are perhaps an extension of her own artistic oeuvre too, although that would be a mistake. To me, she looks like one of those nutcase arty farty liberal grungy vegetarian Guardian-reading self-satisfied 'I live such a pure and rat-race free life in my art for art's sake even if I don't make a ton of money, but then I'm a poor artist who will not compromise her art for mere stinking commerce and anyway the father of my child keeps a roof over our heads so that's okay' types.

Then again, she's very 'in' with the school. We parents were told at the beginning of the year some rules relating to the running of the school. One such was to bring your child on time and say a swift, sweet good-bye then leave immediately to let the child get into the ambiance of school without parental meddling. So what does this woman do? She brings her child into the class then sits reading to her which is precisely the kind of behaviour the teachers told us not to do because it draws out the 'abandonment' of the child unnecessarily. Why does she do it? Because she's an attention-seeking 'I'm so in with the teachers I can do whatever I like, just watch me while I read a jolly book to my one and only precious little daughter' type.

She's also the type, in parents' meetings, to go on and on, unable to shut the f*** up about issues as dramatic as whether an outing will be organised this year or not. The rest of us (mostly - there are others like her too) were dying to get home and have some dinner and a glass of some jaunty little red from Norma's at 2.49Eur/bottle, while she wittered on and on. Some people really don't know how to stop, do they? They think they are conceding something if they let people move on to the next point. Losing ground, being rejected, showing themselves up. I think they should just deal with their issues quietly, at home, and let the rest of us go through meetings quickly, and go home; one hour max.

Maybe it's because she's as plain as a pudding, just like her daughter; with pudding haircuts to match. She'd better be a damned fine artist...


  1. Your posting made me laugh, Sarah and brought back memories of my son at primary school in France. A great school but threatened with closure for lack of pupils - two thirds of the parents were 'baba cool' - peace, love, vegetarians, family-sized joints and clapped out old VW camper vans and obviously no running water in their teepees!

    The rest of us were the 'ordinary' parents who bent over backwards to keep the school open, baked cakes for fund-raising events, sat through awful evenings of 'loto' and did as much as possible to help that little school.

    The 'babs' of course did nothing but complain and as you said, kept the PTA meetings going until 10pm, grousing and griping and complaining and eventually the schoolmaster decided that PTA meetings would last exactly 2 hours and not a second more and no-one could talk for more than five minutes (which is more than enough).

    When we held fund-raising events, they of course contributed nothing but managed to eat their way quickly through the best quiches and grab the best bottle of wine before the innings had even started!

    My son still sees all his chums from that school when we go back to France - babs and non-babs - unfortunately the children of the peace and love gang have become as marginal, mean and unwashed as their parents.

  2. You mean they've become teachers, Louise ?

  3. Not yet Colin - they are only 16!

  4. She may be very nice really... hehe

  5. Howled with laughter remembering the school meetings for mine...much more of the "col Claudine/collier de Pearls/jupe plissée longue brigade - but just the same way of going on and on and on so as to get the most attention possible for their IMPORTANCE in the local society. The best laugh I had (remember it's some time ago for me) when I suggested giving the children a lecture about outraged mother said "well abstinence is the only perfect protection from such a thing).....she obviously lived in Mars or Jupiter, with teenaged hefty healthy boys, like must be joking!

    Of course some artists look like BCBG ladies.....don't one you know - may be blonde & snazzy sometimes, but definitely looking like I fell of my horse with my joddies & boots and smart jackets!!!!Perhaps my art is therfore top notch too....mais l'habit ne fait pas le moine!!!



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