Not that old chestnut

I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops this week because there’s construction work going on daily in our building. New people moving in and deciding that the best way to make the place feel like home is to rip up and replace the existing hardwood floors. This requires the use of a jackhammer from 9am to 5.30pm and a lot of Mexicans. In the brief lulls, there’s still the soothing sounds of next door’s screaming baby and the 24 floor apartment block going up outside our window. I really shouldn’t complain, I’ve brought it on myself. If you dislike most people, hate noise and inane small talk then you probably shouldn’t choose apartment living.

I generally prefer the blandness and matching furniture of Seattle’s Best to work in but occasionally venture into independent coffee houses. Some are perfectly fine and I sit happily among those poor overstressed students working on their essays. Then there’s the other ones, recognisable by the oderous just-back-from-a protest-in-a-field appearance of the staff and patrons and the big F OFF STARBUCKS sign on the backwall. I generally avoid these because of the disdainful sneer that crawls over my face when I get within range.

I met my sketch group at one yesterday afternoon – we’re sketch as in writing amusing scenes, not the ‘fancy a caricature mate?’ type. Next to us was a group of women playing Scrabble, though it was more likely a ouija board. We’re in the middle of discussing one of our brilliant sketch ideas, probably mine, when one of the woman calls over to us, ‘excuse me but do any of you ladies have a Maxi pad?’ Then, without prompting, she adds ‘my 10 year old is about to start her period’.

Good god, where do you begin?

First of all, I hate being addressed collectively as ‘ladies’. Did Marilyn French teach us nothing?

Secondly, the poor 10 year old girl is about 10 feet away, in plain sight and perfectly capable of hearing her ‘guardian’ shout this out to strangers. (For guardian, read lesbian)

I think that if she knew this oh so glorious event in a young woman’s life was about to start, maybe she should have packed her some ‘Maxi pads’ along with the game of Scrabble and the joints.

As she didn’t bring them, an alternative option would have been to get off her arse and go home or to the store. I doubt that she was doing that brilliantly on the triple word score front, or conjuring up the dead.

After I got over my initial horror, I said to the woman, ‘you know that’s disgusting. Periods are disgusting and should never ever be mentioned or even acknowledged.’ Wise wisdom passed down wordlessly from my own mother. It’s almost a shame that I won’t be having any children of my own.

On the good side I did go to sketch class with 2 new sketches. On the not so good side they were a bit shit. Actually not that bad, given that one was about a mistaken suicide attempt and the other was about childhood abuse. Hilarious. I really like writing sketch comedy and now I’ve given up stand-up for good, it’s again becoming my New Brilliant Thing. I like seeing the different styles of my classmates and other sketch groups in town but often feel at odds with them. Maybe it’s the old British versus American humour thing because I rarely find much funny in SNL sketches, at least not when compared to The Fast Show, Mitchell & Webb, Catherine Tate and others that you can’t get here. I probably end up being a bit too realistic and lacking in surreallyness. I know I can get too clever clever in my refusal to go for the easy laugh and cop out ending. I still have to find my own personal style, just as I never managed to in stand-up.

Seattle’s is playing some awful jazz ‘music to drown yourself to’ soundtrack. Back to the drilling.