Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A process of continuing negotiation

Life for most thinking people is a daily battle of the various principles, large or small, that for one reason or another are mutually exclusive. You need to negotiate, constantly, the place where they collide. Feminists who are continually chided (I think I mean chidden, actually -- comp hide/hidden -- but let's not get sidetracked, as I say to my father in conversation more and more these days) ... Ahem. Feminists who are continually bashed criticised for their so-called "silence" on the subjugation and worse of women in various Islamic countries, and who are in fact simply trying to resist joining a chorus of mindless, racist hatred and aggression by continuing to express their longstanding resistance to said subjugation in more general and less targeted dog-whistling ways, will be particularly familiar with this one.

But it manifests in tiny daily domestic ways as well. I like to support as many charities as I can, and I like to support the local independent fruit and veg shop in their struggle against Woolies and Coles. But I noticed the other day that said fruit and veg shop was selling little transparent containers of nasturtium flowers, displayed with similar boxes of mesclun and herbs. There would have been about half a dozen flowers in each container. And they were charging $2.99 for them, which is to say, 50c per flower. They're charging that much for flowers currently growing wild everywhere, simply because there are people stupid enough to pay it. Ah, the free market. I've got a self-seeding, self-tending nasturtium patch growing up the fence outside my study window, two metres high and three wide, with at least a hundred flowers on it as we speak and twice as many buds. I could retire.

As for the charities, here's an announcement. To all cold callers ringing up in the middle of the day because the thinking is that women at home are just sitting round doing nothing with no structure in their day: the moment you address me as "Mrs Goldsworthy", you have done your dash. No money for you.

14 comments:

Lynne said...

I'm with you Kerryn. Having a different surname from my husband I get very ticked off when the first thing I get asked is, "Mrs Carroll?" Saying "no" just leads to more endless questions. I'm thinking of responding with "No, she died". Which she did. Not the ex-wife, the mother-in-law!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hello! *waves paw*

cristy said...

I have the same issue as you and I always say 'no' and leave it at that. They generally get so confused that they hang up.

The husband also gets asked if he is Mr 'my last name', and always say 'yes', bless him.

Anonymous said...

'I've got a self-seeding, self-tending nasturtium patch growing up the fence outside my study window, two metres high and three wide, with at least a hundred flowers on it as we speak and twice as many buds.'

This sounds amazing! If I wanted to start a patch like that, I'd be one of those insane people who'd be prepared to pay $2.99 for a tiny seedling cup. The view outside my study window is really gloomy (and it's the darkest room in the house, but at least it's mine).

As for the Mrs xxx issue: I also get really annoyed when people address me as Mrs [insert my partner's surname], and even more so when occasional mail comes addressed to Mr and Mrs [my partner's surname], particularly as we have a hers & his arrangement, and the senders know it.

anon ed

Deborah said...

We put my name in the phone book, so I don't get addressed as Mrs [husband's last name], but the "Mrs" bit annoys me. Some days I just say that no such person exists and hang up, but a few of them have gotten an earful. Mostly if they ring around 6pm, when I'm going full tilt in the evening rush, getting dinner ready, supervising homework, listening to the woes of the day, trying to get the day's bed made up with fresh sheets, folding washing, you name it. On the one hand, I ought not to yell at poor kids who are just trying to earn a bit of money, on the other, if you don't yell a bit from time to time, companies and charities will start to think that people don't mind being called at home, and on the other other hand, I resent people invading my home and my time trying to sell me stuff.

I can feel a grumpy day coming on, just thinking about it.

Red Horse said...

Why oh why is the Mrs issue still such a live one? Why is it still such an administrative battle for married people to retain separate names? Or for women who do have the same name as their husband to retain the honorarium Ms? (Or is the word I'm looking for honorific?) As in Mr Kafoops and Ms Kafoops.

Like cristy, I just say No. Then I hang up.

At my wedding six years ago (I wore red, fabulous party, thanks for asking) my Dad asked "At what stage of the night would you like me to announce that you won't be taking your husband's name?" At no stage Dad! Why would we bother? And yes we skipped the bit with the drumroll where Mr and Mrs Kafoops are formally announced for the first time. (OK, names have been changed to protect the "innocent").

And, while I'm complaining, I can vouch for the fact that providing admin and address info for stepchildren in shared care arrangements is infinitely worse again.

Clearly the people who design forms seem to think that the sterotypical nuclear family is still the only one in town. But what's the answer? Do we need to complain more? For every *blinking* breech? I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

fxh said...

heh - Ms FX's name is ackcherly Ms Daggy Mullett - so I'm always getting "hello Mr Mullett" and she gets "hello Ms FX"

Helps sort the wheat from chaff, black jellybeans from others, etc etc etc

Anna Winter said...

I, too, appreciate them giving me a reason to hang up one them without feeling bad. Sometimes when I'm feeling extra grumpy, I just put the receiver on a bench rather than hang up.

Then I feel guilty because it isn't the caller's fault and they're just trying to make a living.

Stupid liberal guilt.

Ampersand Duck said...

Those phone calls lose me at the pause. Once I hear more than 2 seconds of silence, I hang up. If it's a friend, they'll ring back & speak faster. It's made my partner a regular quick draw with his speakerphone!

Zoe said...

oh me, too, Duck. They have evil machines that call, and when a hooman answers, they put a hooman on. I just pick up the phone and wait.

It's these little wins that make it all worthwile.

Anonymous said...

Having worked at such places, I have to tell you that if you hang up before you speak to someone, they'll just put your number back into the system and you'll get called again. With regard to the Mrs thing, being a cheerfully divorced person it drives me demented. I just say there's no one by that name at this address, and that they have called the wrong number. Then, when they ask if they can speak to me, I say no. And hang up. Gently.

Jodi

R.H. said...

Be rude, if you're polite you'll definitely get rung again.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the phone so much, because it's easy to hang up (politely) and move on. The intrusions I really resent are the young people who show up on the doorstep to talk to you about your phone/gas/power and whom, it seems, cannot be removed without liberal use of a crowbar.

Armagnac Daddy said...

In Northcote the same is true of Rosemary...