Still in my pyjamas, ironing school uniform and admiring the precise angle on which last night’s left over washing-up had been stacked tight in the sink, I heard the doorbell. It was 7.30am. I suspected it would be one of my eldest’s daughter’s friends at the door, asking with a text-book politeness whether we had any porridge oats for the domestic sciences’ flapjack baking later or nail varnish remover for fear of those pink, chipped nails attracting a negative.
But it was better than that, sweethearts that my daughter’s friends are, it was a tiny woman carrying an enormous bouquet of flowers. They were mainly gerberas, happy flowers, I call them; my favourites. I really didn’t deserve any but gosh, I’d welcome them with open arms.
‘Thank you,’ I said. “You shouldn’t have!’ Granted, it wasn’t my wittiest line but I hadn’t yet had my three cups of tea. The lady didn’t even flinch, merely continued to search for something in the delivery note. “Can’t believe they’re for me,” I tried again. It was a rhetorical question really, my husband not being prone to receiving mysterious bunches of flowers and my children also yet to discover the delights.
The small lady didn’t speak, simply shook her head. ‘They’re for number ten, will you take them for her?’ she asked eventually, more than a little gruffly.
“Oh, right,” I said, “Didn’t think I’d done anything to …”
“Is that alright then?” she asked again. “I’ve got loads of deliveries this morning,” and thrust a pen and flimsy note into my hand to be signed.
I did take the flowers. Miranda at number ten was very happy to receive them. She gave me a single gerbera for my troubles which now has pride of place in an especially rinsed milk bottle on my kitchen window sill.
As I walked back over the road, I thought about the delivery person who was clearly having A Bad Day. Part of the flower giving is surely to complete the process of making the recipient feel special, rather than wondering why they bothered to get up that morning. And I decided that, whilst I’d hate to criticise when untold disasters could have befallen the lady before she left her house, there are certain jobs where Bad Days are not allowed and delivering flowers is probably one of them. Grumpy holiday rep? Not what you signed up to. Presenters? There’s only one way Chris Evans is getting out of bed at 4 every morning. I’d think I’d feel short changed if the midwife had delivered my babies into my arms and spoken about how fed up she was with the awful place the world was, these days. And then there are motivational speakers. You never see them in a bad mood, chance would be a fine thing.
Thankfully, I have a job where I can get away with being incredibly grumpy. I can be absolutely foul to myself and nobody but the study walls and the pc needs to know. In fact, I’m quite regularly terribly rude to my computer but that’s another story.
How about you? Can you get away with your smile slipping? Or do you have to wait until you get home for it to droop a little?