On Saturday me and Jackie went to a class preparing us (mostly Jackie, to be fair) for childbirth.
Starting at 8 a.m., it stretched, unfortunately, roughly 40 minutes of useful stuff over seven slow-moving hours, with a break for lunch in the middle. The whole thing was both frustrating and persuasive proof that America’s best days have already happened.
Could our classmates be relied upon to process and retain relatively simple information? Seemingly no, based on our instructor’s preferred teaching method for the day: repeat everything several times, as though addressing a roomful of eight year-olds. Pausing only to ask questions so transparently simple that bothering to answer them is subtly embarrassing (answer them all and guarantee everyone else’s displeasure, or only answer some any thereby leave open the apparent possibility that you can’t figure out the rest).
Altogether now: ‘would an obnoxious doctor not listening to a word of what you’re saying make you more stressed, with a baby waiting to emerge, or less stressed?’ (This, in a country that earlier gave the world Jefferson, Edison, Emerson, Earhart, Keller…)
Then there was this one classmate in particular. Urgh. There’s always one, isn’t there?
She was real drag, alright. More-or-less from the get-go, too, when she began to complain, all huffily, about some nearby building work being done. Apparently the builders conspired to not check in with her first… before compounding this initial slight by making something that – no other way to say this – smelt a bit. (For this second infraction, she harangued them in the hallway, while the rest of us mostly overheard her in the course of Breathing Exercise #3, her hapless, presumably brow-beaten husband included.)
Even on the way to lunch she continued to annoy: noting, redundantly, that she “never uses stairs,” then cutting in front of Jackie on the way out an elevator. Pregnancy etiquette governs a little slack for such things, I know, but surely not, let’s agree, when the person you’re doing it to is also pregnant.
(As for lunch itself, well, it takes some real effort to screw up a garden salad with salmon, doesn’t it? Yet the Overlook Hospital managed exactly that, and with some distinction. Another $5.50 to add to the $150 class registration fees already spent.)
Back in class again, and a ‘mere’ three hours left – a period of time earmarked by our instructor for two VHS-tape films (in fact: the day’s high-water mark of usefulness) and “general questions.”
I’ll spare you those details. Only, guess who droned on the most; guess whose questions applied the least amount to the group as a whole; and guess who barked “can you speak up” at one point when another voice had the temerity to be quiet – a “please” absolutely nowhere to be heard. Oh, and someone else asked, “how much alcohol can you drink before it affects the quality of breast milk?”
Perhaps I’ve been unfair, though, not giving Miss Irritating Classmate her due. Far be it from to me, indeed, to say she’s failing to keep her little one warm: plenty of extra insulation will go on taking care of that. And equally, she has a face that would never distract any sighted baby from the more important matter of feeding time below. Two sides to every story, huh?
…It’s just that last Saturday, you’ll remember, was probably the greatest single day in British Olympic history, and, to boot, a pretty extraordinary one for KP in the cricket. Not the best of times to discover (ok, rediscover) that many things in life promise much but deliver little. Or to wait and wait and wait for an infuriating, self-centered gas-bag to shut her fucking cake-hole.
We finally got back home just in time to watch Jessica Ennis in the 800 metres. Her two immortal laps of glory.
I suppose, after all, that she must be self-centered too. Enough, at least, to become the best in the world at what she does. It’s mighty tough to mind, though, don’t you think, when the sum result is magnificent and glorifies a grateful nation? When the person, this time around, seems super nice, is crazy talented and, in every possible sense of the word, unbelievably fit.
Also, of course, and I really can’t stress this enough, Jessica Ennis has a really nice bum.