My... er... friend Whingy is always a great source of material for this blog. I think I'll turn her into a fictional anti-heroine and write a novel about her.
Keen readers (if there are any) will know that La Whinge takes offence at the slightest thing. At something you may have said. At something you didn't say when you were supposed to. At you not providing enough sympathy for her current woes. She reserves her most scathing fury for people she considers to be rude.
Which doesn't stop Whingy being rude herself. I'm so used to it now I have to hold back giggles in her presence when she blows her top. Receiving rudeness by email means I can both swear at her and laugh out loud and she won't know.
Take this story. My husband G has been away on a business trip. I had invited the Whingies to dinner on Saturday night, thinking he'd be back by then. They accepted (Miracle! We live 40 minutes' drive from their place and that's usually too far for them to bother to travel just to see us, and they have a standing commitment most Saturday nights with a ballroom dancing class). However, his itinerary changed and he was coming back on the Sunday. I emailed Whingy and told her it would be just me and the animals for Saturday night dinner but we'd all still love to have them over and catch up.
The reply came back with the message that they would make it another time as they could do more household and gardening chores with the spare time on Saturday afternoon and evening.
Well! Rude or what!? I had to laugh. It was such a typical response. Obviously I wasn't enough of a drawcard. After swearing a bit too and calling her a rude cow, I typed a little reply saying simply that I understood perfectly. My tongue was in my cheek quite snugly; I understood perfectly that she was a rude bitch and that my company alone clearly wasn't competition for household chores.
A couple of days ago I was chatting to D, a mutual friend who has known the Whingies a bit longer than I have, and told him about the dinner invitation and her change of mind.
"You mean she was going to come when G was there, but said no when she found out he was away? That's strange," said D. "She doesn't like G. I thought she'd be more inclined to come if he wasn't there."
I was stunned. "What do you mean she doesn't like him?"
"Well, remember last time you were all here at my place?" (That was many months ago as D lives even further from the Whingies than we do, and it's all too hard for the Whingies to drive over and see him.) "She wasn't talking to him. She'd blackballed him. He must have said something wrong to her at some time."
I hadn't noticed and said so.
"Ah, but you don't notice these things, do you?" said D a little archly. He's right. I'm no great student of human nature and behaviour. This means I make many gaffes and accidentally rub people up the wrong way.
We've seen the Whingies a few times since then though and I'm sure Whingy has spoken to G over dinner. At least I think I'm sure. For all I know he's still blackballed.
Last night I told G he'd been blackballed and he roared with laughter, almost spilling his beer. "I had no idea!"
"Nor did I!" I giggled.
I suspect the Whingies have the shits with us anyway, as we've had some lovely social occasions out our way earlier this year and haven't included them. Given that they don't want to bother driving out to our place too often, I'm sure they wouldn't want to drag themselves an extra hour to go to the things we've gone to.
One of those was a Tango night, which included dinner and rudimentary Tango lessons. G and I were actually guests at another friend's table, so I had a good excuse not to invite the Whingies to come with us.
I knew they would sneer at the Tango night as being for beginners and being amateurish, not to mention making fun of G's and my attempts to have a dance ourselves, whereas they, of course, are Experts and have been learning the Tango for about 18 months. I haven't seen them dance the Tango, but my experience of watching them do other dances is that their faces are masks of concentration, not a smile to be seen, and La Whinge constantly nags Mr Whinge about forgetting the steps. Surely dancing is supposed to be fun, and joyful?
Anyhow I told La Whinge about the Tango night after the event and explained that we had been someone else's guests, and she asked about the dancing itself.
I gave her a good description of the night, and her nose went up.
"Oh, that's Argentinian Tango," she said snobbily, dismissing the passion and fire of the original Tango and its earthy origins around the docksides and ladies of the night with a wave of her hand. "They do that weird thing where they wave their legs about. WE do Ballroom Tango."
Give me Argentinian Tango any day in that case. I'm even considering taking lessons myself and G is rather keen too. We'll probably be blackballed by the Whingies again but I suspect I won't notice.