Thursday, 26 August 2010

Correspondence Part I

Here is a breakdown of my average postal delivery in one week:

4 x letters from estate agents telling me they have just let property on my street. It is an extremely long street. This does not impress me.

6 x assorted loan offers from various financial companies.

1 x article my mum has cut out for me from the
Sunday Times on ways to either a) increase my income or b) meet men*.


Any 2 of the following: bank statement, payslip, bill.

2 x catalogues from smug middle-class, 'quality' clothes companies with adorable, rosy-cheeked children in brightly coloured wellies on the cover, companies I have never ordered from, yet who arrived in my life just as I started ticking the 33 and over age box, as suddenly and as back fat and monstrously hard skin on the soles of my feet did at around the same time.

Number of items of genuine, personal, non-financial, addressed-to-me-by-hand correspondence: appoximately 0.2 (based on receiving one item around every 5 weeks).

So you can imagine my giddy excitement when I came home to find a crisp, cream envelope that bore my name and address, written in an elegant hand, waiting for me on the communal shelf in our communal hallway.

I took it into my flat, sat on my sofa and looked at it for a little while, enjoying the promise of genuine human contact contained within. Whatever was inside would inevitably prove to be a disappointment, so I allowed myself to bathe in the potentiality before I uncovered the hollow truth. Life taught me to be pessimistic at a young age, when
Jim'll Fix It did not respond to my letter.

But I was wrong. Inside was a card written to me by a shop assistant who had sold me some perfume in Jo Malone about six weeks before. I had thought the time we spent together discussing woody florals and uplifting citrus meant nothing to her. Oh, foolish, foolish girl.

Aww. R had sat down, after a hard day of spraying perfume on white shards of card for indecisive idiots like me, to write to her valued customers, no photocopying, no Dear Sir/Madam, no automatic franking machine, but instead tender strokes of biro and stamps. Stamps! I was, whatever flippant showing off is to follow, genuinely pleased to receive her card and impressed by her superior approach to customer service (NB: she does not have a Saturday job in Bromley, as far as I am aware, and is over the age of 20).

Now I'm not entirely sure how to respond.

Should I write back?

'Dear R, how lovely to hear from you. I hope you have been well. You must be very excited about the new English Pear & Freesia fragrance rolling out across stores nationwide in September. I know I am! I've had the week off work, so I've been able to up my pitiful blog-post rate temporarily. Too bad no one told the weather I was on holiday! Looking forward to catching up with you soon and don't work too hard! Fondest regards, Miss Jones x'


On the another hand, perhaps I should surprise her by waiting outside the shop until I can see, through the window, that she has her back turned, then sneak in and put my hands over her eyes and say 'Guess who?!' (I may disguise my voice at this point. I do quite a good Loyd Grossman. Or one particular group of ex-colleagues used to love it when I did the voice of the pineapple from the old TipTop advert.) Then when she prises my hands from her eyes – her voice rising in borderline panic/irritation – and turns round, I'll give her a massive hug and ask her if she wants to pop out and get some lunch with me.

Maybe I could take her in a tuna sandwich and a latte.

This is ridiculous, of course.

She might be a vegetarian. I should make it egg mayonnaise.

* I should say that I would be very sad indeed if she stopped doing this.


legend in his own lunchtime said...

Jim never fixed it for me either, the heartless bastard. I now write letters to myself, then have to forget it so I can act surprised when they come. I'm going to be devastated of course if I get run over by a bus and the letters stop coming.

Alison Cross said...

Me neither, Legend. I wanted to sing Girls Girls Girls with Sailor.

I must have been fucking NUTS to have asked for that....but I was only young and Boys Boys Boys had not charted yet.

Wish I'd been a Scout having lunch on the roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

I think it is v sweet that she sends out cards in her own handwriting and now, duly guilt-ridden by receipt of hand-written letter and envelope, you must return and buy said new fragrance rolling out in September.

Ali x

Shrimptowers said...

Ace blog Miss Jones. Holidays clearly suit you.

Miss Jones said...

I think if any of us had actually met Jim, it would have been so emotionally scarring we would never have recovered.

Ali, yes, I will be sure to honour your request to go back and boost her commission.

Shrimptowers, thank you, yes. Yes, they do. It is a source of constant disappointment to me that I actually have to work for a living.

pattianne70 said...

I had a similar letter recently from the man who showed me around the gym. I felt extreme guilt when I wrote him back to let him down gently that I wouldn't be joining the gym and it wasn't HIM, it was ME. (I only went in because it was hot out and the gym is air conditioned and I figured a tour was a good way to stay inside longer without having to, you know, exercise or anything.)