I can just imagine the conversation going on at the office after Gary put the phone down.
“Poor bloke,” says Gary, “married to a bloody dragon like her…”
“Yeah,” says his pal, “No wonder he’s never at home…”
My husband is the “poor bloke” and I am the “bloody dragon” and, yes, office hours since his promotion, are erratic. Please be assured that he is not a poor bloke and I am not a bloody dragon – often.
You see, I don’t normally answer either the phone or the door during the morning or afternoon because I am usually at work. Being declared not fit for work right now due to a viral infection I can answer the day time phone calls and watch afternoon TV.
The call started off not as a call at all but a cold calling doorstep visit. He was selling something, that with a little tweaking, we were looking for. I didn’t particularly relish a walk around to Evan Barron Road to see the finished article and took him at his word that that his company did something interesting to roofs. It’s a coating of some sort, I think, that first cleans tiles and then protects them from mould and moss and seagull droppings. Before they can do any coating, they repair the roof and replace broken tiles and the felt underneath. There is more than a possibility of a broken tile or two.
The man on the door seemed to think that my husband needed to be present for any negotiations. Big mistake! My voice fell a few decibels – nothing to do with the sore throat, but everything to do with the onset of anger. I asked him to explain why my husband was needed. I know that in someone’s view of an ideal home, the husband is the breadwinner, sleeps in the entrance to the cave and slaps the mammoth on the table for the woman to cook – but I would like to think that we have moved on from there.
“Oh, so I am speaking to the boss?” said the man at the door with a nervous twitter.
We swiftly moved on to the next phase of sale – a follow-up visit from someone who could measure the roof and explain in more detail what was involved and show me a colour sample(?) and talk money. We agreed that 7 o’clock was a good time.
So the man on the door went on his way. Five minutes later, or less, there was a phone-call from the office to confirm the time and tell me who I was to expect. Yet again, the presence of the husband was enquired about. Could I not give them a time when the husband would be home? She asked. I could not, said I. I went on to assure them that I was quite a clever woman. That I had an “ology” and that they were not dealing with an idiot. She hummed for a while, obviously dragged out of her comfort zone.
Three hours later, another phone call, from the man I am to expect, coming at 7 o’clock, confirming that I will be there…and my husband?
This all stinks of pink window frames.
Let me enlighten you. This goes back years. It was double glazing that time and coincided with a decision made by us to get double glazing. The wind wasn’t whistling though the house, but we had a small money pot and a house to improve, and bills to reduce. It was ideal – they had the windows to sell and we had the money to buy.
Then the husband thing came into it. They wanted to bring their samples and their sales talk and we were to bring out the check book. The husband was travelling and it was left in my more than capable hands to negotiate the deal.
The sales person didn’t think I was capable. I assured him that that I was quite a clever woman. That I had an “ology” and that he was not dealing with an idiot.
“Oh,” said he, “So I suppose your husband would be quite happy for you to opt for pink window frames?”
Well…there you have it. This man I presume was still slapping the mammoths down on the kitchen table and sleeping in the entrance to the cave.
Going back to the most recent conversation, the man seemed to have doubts that I could adequately explain to my husband the process they were going to go through to make my roof mould proof, moss proof and seagull droppings proof. I actually think I might be able to do that. Communicating simple truths and even quite complicated ones is what I do in my job. I didn’t like to ask if they thought, in my absence, that my husband would be able to explain the process to me.
I just wish these people would stop with the stereotypes. Do I need to burn my bra or chain myself to railings to get the message across?
Men are just so…prehistoric!