‘It’s all gone horribly wrong!’

My daughter had a playdate after school yesterday with her best friend; I got a call at 4.45pm from the mum, who yelled, ‘It’s all gone horribly wrong. Can you come and get her?’, while my daughter wailed in the background. I ran up the road in my wellies. Turns out the girls had had their first major bust-up over [timpani roll…] the correct title of ‘Monsters vs Aliens’. Best Friend thought it was ‘Monsters and Aliens’, while my daughter, ever the pedant (she is the child of two former sub-editors, after all), insisted it wasn’t. ‘It’s versus! VERSUS!!!!’ At which point, Best Friend had a flash-forward to secondary school in 10 years’ time and my daughter yelling in her ear, ‘You should have used a semi-colon, do you hear me? A SEMI-COLON!!’, and decided, quite understandably, that she didn’t want to be best friends any more.
In a very tenuous way, this leads me onto my ‘Unattractive Moan of the Day’. Which is my, and my husband’s, current state of unemployment*. We had a good whinge today about the decline of print journalism (yes, we know how to keep the magic in our marriage alive!) and how my ‘key skill’ – checking the spelling on books and magazines – isn’t exactly in demand. On days like these I actually believe I might never work again. Weirdly, I even found myself in tears about it today (for about 45 seconds, until I remembered the awful earthquake in Haiti. And trafficked teenage girls. And my good friend whose child has multiple health issues). I think I must have PMT, or SAD. Please send me some verbal slaps! Not too hard, though…

* Maybe we should re-brand ourselves as ‘job-free’?

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “‘It’s all gone horribly wrong!’

  1. ELS

    Rose had an irreversible falling-out over the lyrics for ‘I like to move it’ after watching Madagascar. (‘I like to’ versus ‘you got to’). Was hot on her heels to sever the friendship after the child’s mother actually googled it on her i-phone before announcing it didn’t matter anyway as her daughter had got it wrong.

    And breathe…

    Haiti puts rather a lot in perpective. But being job free sucks so you’re allowed a few sobby days in January. THEN you can get a grip.

  2. You are allowed to feel a little “Agh” sometimes, but I know how you feel Haiti really hits home how lucky we are.

  3. notwavingbutironing

    Els, these little things matter! Nothing grates like someone singing the wrong song lyrics. Or like my mother insisting on calling ‘hot dogs’ ‘hot DOGS’, with unnatural emphasis on the second word. ‘Would you like a hot DOG, dear? Maybe when you’ve finished your COCA-Cola?’ Grrr…..
    Hayley, thanks for visiting. I promise I’m not always such a self-pitying cow. Can’t even watch Haiti coverage any more. It’s too bloody awful.

  4. Have you noticed that people quite often, okay maybe once or twice, have talked about the “humble” sub editor or said “she’s just a sub”?
    I even won a debate with my husband (Panther of News, now assistant news editor but then lowly reporter) that started when he stated that subs weren’t actually proper, real journalists. It’s not good for the self esteem.
    But our day will come… soon. The internet is chock full of words – most of which are slung carelessly onto some very pretty pages. So take heart, the new dawn of the sub editor is near. We are what will make the good websites great. Or something.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Ah, I hope so! Subs are undervalued. My friend works at an Irish newspaper, and they outsourced their subbing to Spain. We will regroup in the hills, and return in triumph with cries of, ‘I think you’re confusing “discrete” with “discreet”!’ and “You don’t need a hyphen in “freshly squeezed”!’

  5. kids fall out regularly I think! Especially girls, never agree on anything and always in competition.

    Hope you feel better xx

    • notwavingbutironing

      Hi Crystal, thanks for that. I’m sure you’re right about the girl thing. My daughter’s only just entering that stage, so I’ve been blissfully ignorant up to now. I recently heard one girl in her year say to another, ‘I don’t like you, because I don’t like your bag.’ What the hell does a five-year-old say to that?

  6. Sorry you’re feeling blue. You need to keep back some of the cheer you give to others – your posts always make me laugh 😀 (And I love your S.O.S. – I picture it when I walk past the tower of Pisa that is my ironing pile!)

  7. I’m also job-free so no sympathy to spare, and Haiti is just too much – sadly, in various ways Haiti is always too much… so I’ll focus on the girl spat.

    What would you have done if the girls had fallen out at your house?

    I’ve often had kids round and they’ve all fallen out over not much of anything… you sort it out, or help them sort it out. No? Unless the visitor was screaming and demanding to leave I doubt I’d phone their Mum to come get them… actually I’d probably still tell them not to be daft and go play nice even if they were.

    Meh.

    I can’t be too much of an ogre, they tend to come back.

    • notwavingbutironing

      I think the mum panicked a bit because Best Friend is an only child, so she’s not used to breaking up fights. Also, my daughter can go to Def Con One in seconds (highly strung, like her mother) and it can look/sound rather alarming. Still, I’m with you on the laissez-faire approach. They all get thrown in my basement to play, and then I can’t hear a damn thing.

  8. I left print journalism (also a sub) when I had my first baby and found something else. I later found that everyone had been made redundant and the subbing done somewhere else.

    We all have other skills. I don’t miss it.

    • notwavingbutironing

      There seems to be a spookily high proportion of subs/former subs on Mummy Bloggers. Anyhow, well done on the career change. I really must sort myself out. Am going to the job centre on Monday – yay!

  9. How about instead of slapping you around, which I sincerely wish someone would do to me — mostly friends and (I hope and pray) future “associates” play the guilt card with me as in: If you would get your act together you could maybe make something happen(!)

    I’m not talking about a job, just a project.

    Here I go again, veering off subject. . . This is not all about me. It’s about you and how beautifully you write and how you bring us into your story and make us care about what you’re saying.

    As a journalist I know how rough it is and many, many of my friends have lost their jobs and if you read magazines and newspapers carefully you’ll see the woeful state of unedited copy.

    For me there is nothing more sacred in the world of writing than the editors who save writers from not only their grammatical errors, but also their love affairs with themselves and their prose.

    I can’t believe someone as talented as you will not find something soon. How about a children’s book about best friends?

    At least you have a fan club.

    Warmest regards,
    Tish

  10. notwavingbutironing

    Thank you SO much, Tish – what lovely things to say. I totally don’t deserve it. I feel hugely embarrassed now to have had such a public whinge. I will take inspiration from ‘A Femme D’Un Certain Age’, throw on some pearls, spritz on some Chanel No 5 and get back out there. Merci beaucoup!

  11. Just came here from somewhere or other and am enjoying your writing. Wanted to say – I live from this (checking spelling etc), in fact I’m having my regular break from a text right now to read blogs. Sell yourself as a copy editor to academic journals – they have heaps of submissions from foreign writers with even more heaps of mistakes. For example.
    Good luck.

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