Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'GOOD', Thanks

I thoroughly enjoy people watching. When my better half is invading ladies clothing stores, I like nothing better than to sit at a café table and absorb the diverse assortment of passing pedestrians. I am allowed to do this because as with most hunter gatherers a walk around ladies shoe shops and clothing stores sends me into a zombie like trance. As I shuffle from shop to shop the only sound I make is a sort of grunt of sympathy to the other walking dead. Not a pretty sight, hence the ever fascinating people watching.
This rewarding pastime is further enhanced by the gathering of conversation snippets, a kind of pedestrian eves dropping. I especially like the various forms of greeting. The traditional Australian and New Zealand, ‘Gooday, howya going’. followed by the stock Kiwi reply, ‘Good thanks’.
I have noticed that this word ‘good,’ seems to cover every contingency. ‘How are you?’…‘Good’. ‘How’s your wife?’…‘Good’. ‘How’s business?’ …‘Good’. The dictionary describes the meaning of the word as, commendable; proper; suitable; honest; just and adequate. ‘How’s your wife?’ ‘Adequate, thank you’. Doesn’t quite fit the bill, does it. I did a bit of research, suddenly this much used ‘good’ word made a lot of sense. The Greek word for ‘good’ is kalos which translates to mean, ‘in a good place’.
People watching in a Doctor’s waiting room can be a lot of fun. I went in for a warrant of fitness the other day and was quite intrigued by the human drama of it all.
For a start, have you noticed that, on arrival, most folk try to avoid eye contact. One usually has to report to the receptionist, she invariably asks in very hushed tones, ‘Who are you seeing?’, you whisper the name of your physician. No one is listening, all have eyes glued to a 1964 Time magazine or the very fine 1955 National Geographic full colour feature of the half naked Yubabuba tribal women washing their loin cloths by the banks of the Lesser Dunnapiddle.
Just as a refreshing sense of invisibility envelopes you, the said receptionist bellows at six decibels, ‘WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?’
‘Well it’s me… you know…er..’
You are now the centre of attraction, you could not have been more conspicuous had you leapt onto the counter and sung a chorus of ‘Knees Up Mother Brown‘.
On my recent visit I found a seat next to a gentleman who was wearing one of those neck brace things. A very pregnant (triplets at least) lady was on my right. Unable to unearth a magazine that was priced post decimal currency, I glanced up and to my horror, sitting just past the large one with child, was someone who’s name I should have known. Our eyes met across that crowded womb and the traditional, doctors waiting room, conversation began.
‘Oh… fancy seeing you here, how are you?’
‘Good thanks !!’ Mercifully the acquaintance had also misplaced my name. There it was, that ‘good’ word. He was definitely not ‘in a good place‘. What would happen, I wondered, if they put up another one of those information posters that adorn the walls of Doctors’ surgeries. You know the sort, ’Do not smack your children’ and ‘You may now smack your children’ and soon to be changed to, ‘Permission required from your children before smacking’. This new poster would read, ‘Patients must tell the truth.’ Imagine how exciting and entertaining the waiting room experience would become. The question, ‘How are you?’ would be followed by a wonderful organ recital. ’Oh it’s me kidney’.. ’My Liver’s playing up’.. ‘Bad lungs’.. ‘The old ticker won’t tock’. My organs are just fine, I muttered to myself as I entered my doctor’s rooms. His greeting was short and to the point. ‘I need to check yer prostate’.
‘I’d rather stand, if you don’t mind’.
‘Not prostrate', replies the Doctor, '…oh...never mind’, he seemed annoyed but questioned me again.
‘How’s your Flo?’. Silly old fool, he has forgotten my wife’s name is Mo not Flo.
‘Good thanks’.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Last Male Bastion

What has happened to chivalry? Bring it back, I say. Let gentlemen be gentlemen once more. Remember when it was the height of rudeness for gentlemen to remain seated, when a lady entered the room. Was it not considered chivalrous, when walking along the pavement, to make sure ones lady companion walked on the inside, the gentleman nearest the road. The reason being to save her from being splashed by a muddy puddle.
The problem is, most of today’s ladies hate being treated differently to men. Offer your seat to a woman on an overcrowded bus, she thinks that you have either gone balmy or there‘s a bomb scare. Are men, in restaurants, politely pulling the chair out for their female companion, and not sitting down until she is comfortably seated? I doubt it. Sadly we men are losing our knight in shining armour, image. We are no longer called upon to fix a tap washer, change a light bulb, empty the ash bucket. Males are fast becoming redundant.
I wonder if there are any sensitive, defenseless ladies left, who when confronted with a mouse, still stand on a chair and scream? Not on your Nellie. Today’s genteel member of the fairer sex is more likely to grab hold of her personalized (pink) AK47 and blast the living daylights out of the harmless rodent.
It is not going to happen. The world has moved on. Sir Walter is never again going to lay his cloak over the puddle for his queen. Maybe we can enjoy a little compromise here. Perhaps the ladies will allow us to open the car door for them, of course, they will be in the drivers seat but so what, it’s the thought that counts. No, I must think again, we have passed the point of no return. What next…. they will probably take over the blokes shed. Bad enough that some of them watch rugby, now they have their own teams. They drink beer straight out of the bottle. Heaven help us, there are now women boxers !!The world as we know it is doomed, doomed I say. Women are wearing pin striped business suits and successfully, doing the business. Actresses are now actors. There are women prime ministers, women vicars, women truck drivers, plumbers, mechanics, judges, surgeons, garbologists and 747 pilots. But wait, thankfully there are still some male bastions. Have you ever seen a woman, male nurse? No !! What about a woman King !! Ah ha!! (that’s no good, King Tut. became a mummy)
Have no fear, my male friends, there is a place where we can meet, a secret male domain and I am not talking about the rugby changing rooms. Hidden behind, what was once a ‘gentlemen’s only,’ outfitters (but now, inevitably, also boasts a female department) where once the male of the species could have their inside leg measurement taken without fear of being disturbed. Where a man could unobtrusively, purchase a pair of jockeys or long johns without being told by the wife that he should also purchase socks. Hidden behind this establishment at the Eastern end of the Strand (look for the red and white pole.) is a small room where gentlemen can sit, read the newspaper and happily leave every page in a hell of a mess, without fear of retribution. It is here that for a small fee, good honest Kiwi blokes can catch up with rugby scores, political intrigue, local gossip, plus hear and share the latest jokes.
I am not a raving misogynist, believe me, I love the ladies, one in particular, who is actually reading this, over my left shoulder. I do not want to split hairs, I wish to state the bald facts. Ladies, you are free to emulate any male occupation, go unopposed into every part of every New Zealand town. All we ask is that you avoid these secret rooms. Whenever you see a red and white pole, be reminded, certain parts of town are private. You have stripped us of most male strongholds, allow us to keep our private parts.