Since the second diagnosis of the pesky cancer, I have noticed some people treating me differently. There was, of course, the young man who thought I was not allowed to order a sandwich and drink in a cafe without permission of my carers – Mr Mason and Mrs Safaie as seen in Carpe Diem Wotsit. When my legs and everything else give out and I’m confined to a wheelchair for trips out, the atttitude is even worse. It’s a real “Does she take sugar?” moment. Mrs Mason snr does this all the time, often asking if Mr Mason jnr (a First in Philosophy, a Masters degree with merit and working in the competitive world of SEO for the last 3 years) would like a drink, as though he is incapable of answering or deciding for himself. It’s a common enough experience which is rather new to me but very irritating when it happens in our own home…
Yesterday we have a visit from a representative of a removal company. When she arrives, I am on the phone to Mrs Safaie who can hear her shouting and screeching all the way in Northumberland. We decide to end the call as we cannot hear each other. The woman bursts in. I have no idea what her name is as she doesn’t introduce herself to me, the fairly bald woman sitting on the sofa under a blanket with feet up on a footstool. Firstly, she shrieks about Dog, making him leap about and get in the way. He is in his pyjamas which she finds hilarious and is the cue for more shrieking. Finally she makes it into the sitting room where she discovers me and calls me ” You in the corner”. My patience is already wearing thin and she has only been in the house for 2 minutes. “Are you ill?” she asks. “Yes, I’ve got cancer” I reply which sets her off on a voyage of “Am I allowed to ask that?” type exlamations together with explanations of why she wanted to know “So you don’t pick up a single box on the move”. I am not planning to. To my dismay, she takes a seat, still squealing over Dog who has decided he wants to lick her face. Now, I know where that tongue has been and there is no way it’s getting near my face but she clearly doesn’t realise this as she allows him to lick her. She is certain his pyjamas have been made out of someone’s old pyjamas. No, they have not. Why did God not make Dog fat enough so he wouldn’t need pyjamas? Dog would originally have come from the Sahara. There’s not a lot of call for pyjamas out there. She says she is going to steal Dog and could she have a cup of coffee? Is that alright? Is she allowed to ask for one? Mr Mason obliges.
She asks where we are going to move to. Mr Mason shows her the brochure. She goes into professional overdrive at this point, as though we have picked the quintessentially perfect house. She accompanies what I can only take as hyperbole with frequently opening her mouth widely as one in shock may do. Eventually, she decides she should look around the house to see how much stuff we have and how much it will take to move it. On this part she is at least thorough, opening cupboards and making comprehensive notes. When she returns to the sitting room (to sit down again, I am dismayed to see) she begins to tell us what we might term ‘no shit’ questions. Advising us to start eating what we have in the freezer – no shit! (You get the idea). We have 12 tins of dog food in the kitchen which will be eaten by Dog in 3 days or less. She advises us to stop buying dog food. And cleaning products. She has clearly got me marked down as someone who needs advice from a harpie. Perhaps if I had more hair she would be more respectful. By this point I have switched off so thoroughly I can’t wait for her to leave. It takes her 5 minutes to locate her car keys and then she exits left, shrieking.
Today we have a call from someone from the removal company asking whether she is good at her job. Hmmm. How to answer that. They also ask what other quotes we have had and who they are from as they are going to prepare our quote this evening. It seems to make her visit rather superfluous. Surely just one company could turn up and then everyone else should just base their quotes around that. The man from the other removal company couldn’t be more different in his approach. He arrives on time, comes in quietly, says hello and then walks around the house. He doesn’t open all the cupboards, nor does he have opinions around the amount of dog food or cleaning products we have. He is gone in 5 minutes without asking for a cup of coffee, insulting me or shrieking at Dog. Let’s see what the quotes bring.