Not Like The Others

25 May 2011
According to what passes for popular culture these days, pregnant women are supposed to be beatific. Tranquil. Smiling enigmatically with glowing hair and skin and the cutest ever baby bump. Why the hell don't I feel like that? No, it's not a case of feeling dowdy - I have purple hair and dark green fingernails right now (and considering I haven't had a slice of ham or a sip of alcohol for over six months I'm perfectly content with my decision to dye my hair, thank you); it's that I'm, well, so damn angry.

Just today, I've had a full and frank exchange of views with both the phone and pay TV companies (five tech visits in six weeks and we still don't have service); made several threatening references to the UN, and ended with the words "screw Flanders" over and over again. In the past few months we've moved, opened new bank accounts and had a computer crash, and this has meant lots and lots of dealing with call centres to get things sorted. Call centres...I'm sure just reading that phrase has set your blood to boil. I don't blame, and try not to take my aggression out on, the poor $21 an hour saps who take your calls. It's the management consultants who've set the tone for the modern call centre script whom I despise. First of all, according to the received call centre wisdom, they ask if they can call you by name - which in my case is invariably pronounced wrong. Why do they need to repeat my name back to me? It doesn't give me ownership of the call, it's just condescending and unnecessary. Then there's repeating back to you everything you say - I'm paying by the second for this, you know - whilst you, the caller, have to repeat your story every single time you call up trying to rectify their mistakes. Worst of all though, is their insistence on, no matter what, finishing the call with "anything else I can help you with today" - not what you want to hear when you've just said "well, this has been no help at all. Goodbye". Even if I wasn't trying to preserve a tiny shred of dignity by hanging up on them, it's like asking "fries with that" - do they think that during the course of the conversation I have suffered some brain injury that has rendered me incapable of remembering issues I called about subsequent to that with which we have already dealt?

And I can't have a cigarette and I can't have a vodka and I do worry about the effects of all this anger on my unborn child. DH doesn't understand. Nothing bothers him. If someone told him he was a complete idiot, DH would respond with "you may have a point there". If DH was a superhero, he'd be Reasonable Man; his superpower would be to make all parties see things from both sides of view. So I don't get a lot of sympathy. I want to be one of these pregnant women glowing with the joy of expectant motherhood and the joy of bringing life into the world, but I can't. Because I fear that world will infuriate my child as much as it infuriates their mother.


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