I met a horrible girl on Sunday.
One of the first things people usually ask each other when they meet is "so, what do you do?". This is a question that has tormented me since the day I was no longer a student, or more specifically the day I came to terms with the fact that "um, drink?" was not a satisfactory answer. I always say that I am a singer, which usually incites a little interest on the behalf of the other person.
I deal with this interest differently depending on my mood, depending on whether I want to continue to talk to the person, and of course, depending on whether I need to do something very urgently, like catch a plane, save an orphan or top up my gin.
So I met this girl. Her name wasn't really Petronella but for the purposes of my vitriol it is now.
On Sunday night I went out to celebrate the Bank Holiday weekend with a group of friends. One friend turned up fairly late with his new girlfriend in tow.
She didn't know anybody, and we were all quite loud and in high spirits, so I thought I would go over and have a chat with her, try to make her feel welcome and part of the group.
She seemed reservedly friendly, but I assumed she was shy. Until she asked me what I did.
"I'm a singer" I said. "I do a bit of other stuff, as well, I'm doing some temping at the moment to save for a holiday, but mainly I sing."
She laughed, a quick, barking laugh, then cast her eyes down and took a sip of her drink.
"Um. What?" I asked, unused to such a strange reaction.
She laughed again. "No, it's just, well, I love people like you" she said.
"I'm a recruitment consultant, see. I work with a lot of actors and people like that. Out of work ones. They have these dreams and they think they'll get somewhere, but we all know they'll just temp for the rest of their lives and never get anywhere!"
I stared at her, completely and utterly lost for words.
Petronella, however, was not. She looked at my speechless face and laughed again.
"You all think you'll make it, but you won't! I don't care, people like you keep people like me in work!"
I continued to stare.
She was laughing at me. I could not believe that this girl, someone I had gone out of my way to be nice to, had been such a deliberate bitch.
I wanted to say something nasty back to her. I so wanted to do that, and to change her mind as well. It was just that I was in too good a mood, and anyway I knew that anything I said in my defence would have fallen on deaf ears. Her foolish mind was made up. She had decided she was a better person than me for earning money the way she does, and that was it. She was inherently narrow-minded, and I didn't need to justify my life to her. I consoled myself with the fact that I was not, and would never be like her.
(Also she had a bad haircut and a weight problem.)
Luckily for me, I had just that morning had coffee and chats with a very inspirational person and was feeling resilient. Also my friend Kirsten, who works in theatre and does very well thank you, gave Petronella a good talking to, while I took the more mature route and shamelessly flirted with her boyfriend.
I have, by now, accepted that there will be people in my life who disapprove of my choices, and who cannot understand why I would sacrifice living a normal life like my normal friends to pursue something that seems to them so risky. There are people who just won't get that I'm not just avoiding growing up and getting a "proper job", but that I am really trying to make something of myself. Actually there have been times when I have felt my heart would break through lack of support from that one person I craved it from, but that, I suppose, is all part of it.
This girl meant absolutely nothing to me, and as a result nor do her comments. I just find it difficult to believe that there are people in the world who derive such pleasure from seeing dreams cast by the wayside.
I hereby cast a pox on Petronella and her kind. May her life be lived out in offices with dodgy air-con and lights that accentuate every badly-dyed inch of that tacky and horrible haircut.