Sunday, 4 November 2007

"Put Upon"

There comes a stage in most women’s lives when we find ourselves at the centre of such extreme responsibility and dependability that we feel Put Upon. From where we are standing the earth would simply refuse to turn on its axis if we weren’t there to give it that much needed push. No one, it seems can do anything without our help. From finding the only pair of jeans someone can possibly ever wear to rescuing the pot of yoghurt from the back of the fridge someone absolutely must have for breakfast. Everyone wants you at the same time for a million reasons and before you know it you begin to use the Put Upon language you vaguely remember your own mother using once upon a time.
“I don’t know why I bother!” is the phrase for those times when you have tidied the kitchen and returned minutes later to find it in disarray.
“Do I have to do everything?” is for those times when there’s no milk, My Sky crashes and you’re the only one who knows how to fix it and no one seems able to identify parsley in the garden when you need it for dinner.
“What did your last slave die of?” is mainly for those times when you really don’t want to get up off the couch during Coro St.
In reality we all know that we are never really indispensable. We create the Put Upon rod for our own back by failing to teach other people in the family how to fix things, turn things on and identify plant life. And if we’re honest most weeks of caring and nurturing pass unnoticed but occasionally this particular week is Put Upon week and our family wonders out loud if it’s a full moon again so soon.
During one of my Put Upon weeks I’ve glared at a glass of water resenting its apparent neediness. I’ve sworn at a novel feeling it was deliberately taking too damn long to finish being read. I’ve resented my books being put on my bookshelf, somehow segregated from the other main bookshelf. I’ve “I don’t know why I bother”-ed over the fact no one said “yum dinner Mum” within two seconds of it being placed in front of them. And rather than simply swear out loud at Leighton Smith’s callers I’ve actually thrown a tea towel at the radio.
But the secret is to get over it. Hot baths, glasses of wine, time alone in the garden and an early night are usually sufficient to shift a Put Upon. Because if we don’t shift it then we risk becoming a Permanently Put Upon. This is the woman whose life has become such a chore that she ages prematurely, never walks but stomps and whose every utterance is preceded by a sigh.
So occasionally, a slight dose of the Permanently Put Upon requires drastic action. One simply has to disappear for a few weeks under the guise of writing a novel to get some Put Upon free time, leaving the husband and children, dog and cats to fend for themselves. I ate whole grains and strawberries, didn’t answer the phone and typed furiously on the laptop with my view of the sea. And then I was Put Upon by one of my rowdier characters who decided she absolutely had to be Russian. No amount of persuasion would have her be a Parisian or a Hamiltonian, both places I can write about confidently. So I had to find a library and books about Russia before I decided to let her cool off in her St Petersburg Summer Palace while I popped home for a night of peace and quiet.
“We might have to take the dog to the vet,” said my husband when he picked me up from the ferry with his trademark irritating calmness that always kicks in when everything is collapsing. “She hasn’t eaten for two days and my computer crashed this morning so you’ll have to find the receipt because I’m sure it’s under warranty and Pearl’s finger is swollen.”
Within half an hour of walking back into my house the dog was eating, the computer had leapt back into life and I have no idea if the finger was any better but Pearl was smiling.
“You’re a miracle,” I expected my husband to announce like a TV husband on the commercials.
But he wasn’t about to admit that things work better with me around.
“I just feel so put upon,” he announced. And stomped off to the gym.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I couldn't find your email address, so am contacting you via comments - hope this is okay!

We have just started an exciting project: setting up a new Kiwi blog directory, called Kiwiology.

The aim of Kiwiology is to collect and promote New Zealand blogs, blogs by Kiwis, about Kiwis and about New Zealand.

Why? Because Kiwis are awesome!

We are really excited to have your blog as part of Kiwiology, and if you visit the site you will find your blog already listed.

Hopefully though, you might have 2 minutes to check:
1. That you like your listing and it reflects the content of your blog in a way that you are happy with,
2. That your blog URL and feed URLs are current,
3. That we have listed your blog in an appropriate category.

We'd love to get the low down on what you think about Kiwiology and look forward to your suggestions.

Drop us a line if you'd like to make changes to the way your blog is listed!

Corinne Davies

Kiwiology - the New Zealand Blogosphere