View through my window

July 12, 2006

Get me

Standing in the playground, awaiting the emergence of Child Two, I ruminate secretly from behind my sunglasses that most of the women whose children attend the village school are utter fucktards. It seems that by far the most important thing in their lives is choice of designer label bag/sunglasses/shoes/jeans. Hair products are discussed in ludicrous detail. Gym memberships are bandied about competitively, with the one who gets both free fluffy towels and a complimentary personal trainer begrudgingly declared the winner. All the others will be there by the end of next week.

They clog up the village street in their Chelsea tractors, none of which have been further off road than parking with two wheels on the pavement stopping prams getting through. Vanity displayed to the max; and the funny thing, which makes me smile to myself standing in the playground, is that I don't find any of them in the least attractive. BOBFOCs*, the lot of them. Give me one of the genuine farmers' wives any day - wellies, ordinary jeans, rugby shirt, old short wheelbase landrover with mud on it and a sheepdog in the back, with equally as good a figure as the gym-junkies** but born of lugging straw bales and sheep nuts and fencing wire up a hill; wonderful natural complexion, clear skin and real tan from being outside in the sun, not from smearing expensive chemical moisturising-with-a-hint-of from some bottle from an overdesigned aspirational neon lit boutique.

And, before she fries me alive, the LOML is of course firmly in the latter camp: fit, strong, clear-skinned, bright eyed.

I consider the need for healthy outdoor exercise to be a life essential - especially as I like my food and beer and wine just a bit too much. Last evening the kids and I went for a long dog walk. I have bought a book on improving my skiing technique. I am also training for the next rugby season. Accordingly, this morning I go for a long run. There are some excellent ancient woods near the village, and I regularly run to them. Trouble is, when I get there I'm approaching my limit, so I just go along the edge a bit and then turn for home. Today, though, I get myself organised and take everything I need on the school run, and then park up in the woods on the way home. A folded up bit of A4 printed off showed all the footpaths with which I am not familiar, iPod on shuffle, new trainers specially for road and tracks (special grippy soles and gel inserts, wooo) and off I go. Wonderful. It's a bit like orienteering, which I used to do every weekend when I was a kid, and the old tricks come back gradually. I pick a route which hardly goes on tarmac roads for the whole way. Meadows and streams and narrow woodland paths and wide glades, thumb marking my place on the map so I can glance down and know where to go without having to stop, ready for the next turn, the next stile. Into the sun and back into the shade; over a plank bridge over the brook, through a paddock of ponies, down a tiny haymeadow full of wildflowers. I go up driveways saying 'Dead End' and 'No Access' because, armed with my map, I know there is a footpath across a field at the end. And I get back to the car after an hour and a quarter of almost solid running, tired but not too tired, and I have a towel and a cool bottle of water waiting. Get me, organised boy.

And I sit on the boot of the car and drink water and idly stretch my tired legs, in the dappled shade of a layby in a little lane in the woods, and I think of the years I lived in the city, of tube trains and night buses; and of the BOBFOCs running on treadmills like hamsters in a cage, examining in the floor to ceiling mirror their expensive streaky hairstyle unravelling, thinking about spending their commuting husbands' money on new shoes and wrinkle control moisturising skin gunk, and I wonder at the sense of it all. Sure, they have more money than me, but in the end, is that important? Their husbands are all forced to be at work by this time. I'm not. I can sit here in the peace and cool of the woods if I want.

I'm not claiming I've got all the answers, but there's a basic failure, I reckon, to understand that there really isn't a direct arithmetic relationship between money and happiness. There just isn't.

*Body Off Baywatch, Face Off Crimewatch
** I'm only looking a bit, for the sake of research for this blurb, dear, honest.


  • Great post Crisis.

    So, so true.

    By Blogger J.J, at 9:32 pm  

  • Bloody bloody chelsea tractors, hate the bastard things and even more hate the dimwitted women who *cough* drive them. BOBFOC's also seem to have a mobile phone permanently attached to their ears when driving and actually don't drive looking forwards at all, but in a permanent state of head twisting!!! Stupid sad sods! and why do they insist on calling their kids bizarre names, I swear a woman in the supermarket the other day was shouting Amstrad at one of her kids!

    By Blogger Jools, at 12:41 pm  

  • Sorry but what does BOBFOC's stand for??!

    Personally I like running on a treadmill rather than outside, dont ask me why I just do.

    By Blogger Moo, at 4:05 pm  

  • Ha ha, just read it again! Got it now, doh!

    By Blogger Moo, at 1:05 pm  

  • There is a girl at my kid's school called Shiraz, her mother drives a huge Shogunny thing and has the latest phone permanently welded to the side of her over-coiffed head.

    I wish I was making this up.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 3:21 pm  

  • It's not really about happiness though is it? More like seeking distraction from unhappiness. Or at any rate non-happiness.

    By Blogger mig bardsley, at 2:00 am  

  • Why do people exercise in a gym (Tiger Woods four hours a day - mind you he has a lovely bum)when they could be, as you are, doing it in the fresh air and countryside. There has to be a point to it. I climb stairs about twenty times a day - happily -because my computer is upstairs. House work, gardening ironing etc are all productive ways of keeping fit and satisfying when you realise the calories burnt.
    It isn't mindless either as in my head I am writing a post or just thinking.

    By Blogger PI, at 9:03 am  

  • Bet you live in my village. The faces sound familiar!!

    By Blogger jas, at 10:22 pm  

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