Be nice again - I promise no tears
Last updated 15:37 19/03/2011
Times are definitely tough when in the space of one week a small child tells me I've got dog breath, my grandmother tells me my hair looks awful and my mother makes me kiss the unkissable.
I have a lovely bunch of coconuts.
No, wait. Wrong word. I have a lovely bunch of friends. Friends who know the best thing to do for a wavering voice or a quivering lip is not to be nice or sympathetic but rather to say something nasty or stupid in order to drag you back off the ledge.
This circle of friends is small but this week I feel like the secret is out and now everyone I come into contact with either says, or makes me do, something unspeakable.
Firstly, my friend's four-year- old watched me brush my teeth and gargle with breath freshener. A fascinating scene I'm sure but then she said: "Mrs Lady, why does your mouth, a wee bit, stink?"
I knew I had earthquake breath but I didn't think anyone would mention it. I knew wee Brookie was onto something but how could I take her seriously with that kind of grammar?
A few days later, I walked into Grandma's house in Timaru. It's the first time I've seen that gorgeous little geriatric since the quake. I imagined our reunion might be a little more sentimental but sentimental isn't Grandma's style. "Your hair looks awful," she said.
I could have been offended but despite her failing eyeballs, Grandma is known for sharp vision and honesty in the hair department. She once told my aunt to do something about her moustache.
The funny thing is, I was pretty aware of the growing disaster that is my hair-do. I knew it needed the careful touch of a professional before the earthquake but post- quake it's out of control.
I even asked my friend Hayley (who I can count on for brutal honesty) whether she thought my hair situation needed addressing immediately. She said it could probably hold its style a few weeks.
I should have known Hayley was lying because later that day, her six-year-old daughter Bella was brushing my hair and piped up with: "Mrs Lady, my favourite part of your hair is that big black stripe down the middle."
OK, I get it. My roots need doing but between the youth and the elderly, surely Bella and Grandma could have found a more gentle way of breaking the news?
And then the final insult.
Mum made me kiss fellow Presser and Mainlander columnist Martin van Beynen.
Perhaps if she'd requested my affection be directed towards Mike Crean, I would have jumped at the opportunity but van Beynen? He'd never let me live it down.
I suppose it would be nice if my own mother were my No 1 fan but it seems she has a little mumsy crush on van Beynen.
Anyway, usually I would defy my mother and avoid performing the requested kiss but when I announced mum's demand to my other colleagues they thought this a great laugh.
Van Beynen's presence was duly requested to our temporary work space (an indelicate portacom still bearing the sign - and smell - Men's Locker Room).
I pecked van Beynen on the cheek and he returned the gesture.
Then I made him call Mum at which point he told the Kiss Requester I had become overly- amorous and had to be forcibly removed. In future, the mother will be disobeyed.
However, I will get myself to a hairdresser as soon as possible and the Listerine will continue to be gargled at regular intervals.
Could people just get back to being kind and sympathetic?
I promise not to cry.
- The Press