Sunday, 6 December 2015

Things people say.

I was sitting in the Mid Century cafe the other evening, trying not to listen to the woman at the next table. She had one of those grating Spanish voices that some women seem to have. This was overlaid with strident feminism, an international characteristic. I knew she was going to annoying as soon as I had heard her say, at least five times, "¡Yo siempre hablo en serio!" (I am always serious when I speak.) 

Her voice was always just loud enough to impinge on whatever you were doing. Often she would start off in a reasonably normal voice but grew louder and shriller as she became more excited and involved in her topic. She talked about stress at work, women's rights, abortion and goodness knows what else, sharing her views with all and sundry, whether they wanted to or not. She even touched on the Paris attacks at one point, launching into a quite decent bit of French, just to impress us all. 

I kept waiting to hear what her companion had to say, indeed what her companion sounded like. The poor woman did not have a chance to get a word in edgewise. Presumably she must have nodded from time to time or murmured some kind of agreement or encouragement as her assertive friend just went on and on. 

I had to sneak a look - I did not want to attract her attention but I was curious - and found that, as I had suspected, she was one of those quite large, fierce-looking women, the sort you get in all nationalities. I have no intention to be looks-ist here but there is a type. A strident feminist type! In the Sopranos, the TV series, Tony Soprano's sister Janice adopts it when she is in her feminist mode. 

No doubt she has a heart of gold but she really was not what I needed to have ranting at the table next to mine! Between that and the cute Christmas songs, we really had to get out of there. Which was rather a pity as MarĂ­a, who runs the place, is very nice and friendly. So it goes. 

Someone else who has clearly grown tired of Christmas songs already must work for one of Norway's biggest national newspapers which has apologised after publishing funeral details for Father Christmas. The newspaper said: “An error in Aftenposten’s internal procedures led to a fictional obituary of Santa Claus [being] published in our digital systems.” It said it would investigate how the error occurred. 

Apparently the death announcement followed a normal pattern, featuring a picture of a cross and giving the age of the deceased. In this case it gave Santa’s age as 227. It read: “Our dear Father Christmas, born 12 December 1788 … died on 3 December in Nordkapp,” which is the country’s northernmost point. The funeral was said to be scheduled for the 28th of December and would be held at the North Pole Chapel. No cause of death – an overdose of mince pies or otherwise – was given. Does any country other than the UK eat mince pies at Christmas time? 

The notice was removed from their digital obituary pages as soon as they became aware of it but the damage may have been done. Some people might already be broken hearted.

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