It's time for us to dig deep, not to duck out - Argus Friday 8th July 2016

Posted Friday 8th July 2016   By Ericka Waller

What a state of flux we are in. Even the weather is blowing hot and cold on us. Our 'Keep calm and carry on' moto seems to have been replaced with 'give up and get out'. Nigel Farage, Roy Hodgson, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Chris Evans. They've all jumped ship, and the list keeps on growing. In the wise words of Billy Ocean 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going'. Giving up is great, if you can do it. Halfway through giving birth to my first child, I decided I'd had enough. I asked the midwife is she could do it for me. When she refused I turned to my husband. After all, it was his fault I was in the predicament in the first place. Sadly, no-one would take the wheel for me, so I just had to get on with it.

I had similar experiences with my driving tests, (yes plural). So confident was I that I’d mastered the art of driving, before having any actual driving lessons, I booked my driving test.

By the 9th fail and 10th attempt, there was no way I was giving up. I was made of sterner stuff, of true British grit, with a stoic determination to get the job finished. None of this lily-livered quitting for me!

My driving instructor retired shortly after I finally passed and still sends me postcards from his condo in the Bahamas.

It’s so easy to walk away these days, and not care about the mess left for other people to clear up.

From not voting, to not flushing, from Politics to clothes dropped on Primark's floor, people just assume someone else will take care of their business.

I collected up our plates and the napkins off the floor at Zizzi last week and our Waitress was amazed. I guess most people figure ‘It's her job, she gets paid to do it. If I cleaned my table for her, she’d be made redundant in no time.’

(These people also believe 'if everyone took a stone off the beach, there would not be any left' and that when staying a hotel, it is perfectly acceptable to vomit on the carpet, and leave nappies in the waste bin, for someone else to deal with. After all, they paid for the service right?)

Because I got on my knees to mop up a dollop of garlic butter, the Waitress assumed I’d worked in the service industry. I'd certainly tried, but I got fired after refusing to let go off the plate I was carrying until the rude man I was serving it to said 'thank you'. Whoever said manners cost nothing was obviously a liar.

I’ve always been ashamed to let other people clean up my mess for me. I even mopped up my own amniotic fluid when I was in labour.

I have a wonderful cleaner, coincidentally also called Erika, who comes to help tackle our house on a Monday. 

I clean frantically before she arrives, then spend the morning perfecting Turkish coffee (she is Hungarian), conveying how good a job she is doing through hand-actions (she speaks absolutely no English) and cleaning the larder. 

I often interrupt her halfway through a task, unable to watch for a second longer. Last week we wrestled over the hoover for five minutes.  She won. I went and made more coffee.

(My husband says there is no point having her, which fills me with panic ‘You can’t do that to Erika, she loves it here. She works so hard. She even puts up with the kids.’ I protest, to which he responds, every time, with ‘Why are you referring to yourself in the third person?’ (It will always be funny for him to pretend he does not know the cleaner’s name.)

Am I abnormal?

Bette Midler said “My idea of a superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.”, but then Joan Rivers said “Don’t cook. Don’t clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum – "My God, the floor’s immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch."

So, conflicting advice really.

And finally,

Local soft-play ‘Monkey Bizness’, cheekily increased its admission fees on Tuesday to coincide with the teacher’s strike. 

It caused great controversy, with people arguing over everything from the fairness of paying extra, to the quality of parenting, and even the name of the company. 

Facebook comments included ‘Why don't you unemployed single mum bums get jobs instead of moaning about having to pay a little extra to go out for the day.’ ‘These everyday heroes who work at these (soft play) places are more highly-trained than teachers’ and ‘What have monkeys got to do with it anyway?’

Personally, you could never pay me enough to visit a soft-play, not with my failing immune system. Russian Roulette!

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